Musical Chairs

Adapted from the classic party game, try the Musical Chairs ESL game for a fun warmer or review game.

Students for Musical Chairs ESL Game:6+Time for Musical Chairs ESL Game:10-20 mins
Resources for Musical Chairs ESL Game:
Chairs; Music; Internet or Prepared Challenges

You will need a set of suitable challenges (i.e. questions, description tasks) according to your level and target language. If you have an Internet connection (and ideally a projector), use our Challenge Generator.

If not, prepare the challenges on slips of paper and put them in a box/hat. Post-it notes stuck on a whiteboard or table (text on the back) also work well.

In class, clear a space and arrange some chairs (one less than the number of students present) in a loop, facing outwards.

  1. Students circle around the chairs while you play some music.
  2. At a random time, stop the music; the students have to sit down as quickly as possible.
  3. The student left standing up has to complete one of the challenges as a forfeit.

As the game progresses, try taking away more chairs and having more students complete a forfeit.

If your students get bored of this game, try Musical Markers as a similar alternative.

Target Language

You can use the Musical Chairs ESL game as a warmer or to review almost any topic you’ve been studying, simply by setting appropriate challenges. As such, you can adapt it for any level, beginner, intermediate or advanced.

If you take away more than one chair, you can also use it to select students for roleplay tasks. Try our Roleplay Generator as a way to generate random roleplays.

Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.