Phonics Catch

In the Phonics Catch ESL game, students have to say words beginning with a certain phoneme whenever they catch the ball.

Students for Phonics Catch ESL Game:4+Time for Phonics Catch ESL Game:5-10 mins
Resources for Phonics Catch ESL Game:

Students and teacher stand in a circle.

  1. Choose a particular phoneme to start, e.g. ch – /t∫/. All the students have to chant that phoneme as you throw the ball to a student.
  2. The student who catches the ball has to say a word beginning with that phoneme, e.g. chair (while the others continue chanting).
  3. The student who caught the ball then throws the ball to another student, and the process repeats.
  4. Repeat a set number of times or until a student can’t think of a word, then change the starting phoneme.
  5. If the students are old enough, they could complete a challenge or forfeit if they can’t think of a word. Try our ESL Challenge Generator for pre-made challenges.
Target Language

The Phonics Catch ESL game is a simple exercise designed primarily for young children learning phonics. In this case the use of a forfeit may not be appropriate, and you could get the rest of class to help instead. You may also want to give some students some possible words before each round.

It could also be used though as a warmer or pronunciation practise for beginner students of any age. Try using phonemes that are more difficult or not common in other languages.

For a similar game to practise numbers with young kids, try Catch and Count.

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