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For ESL and Kindergarten Classrooms

12 Free Classroom Games for 2-3 Year Olds

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1. Singing

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How to play


If you make simple musical instruments, such as rattles (think: Mexican Bird Rattle/Yakult containers with dried peas etc) then bang them in time to a beat to recite the ABC it will be easier for children to remember, and they’re so proud when they know the whole song!

They love banging the instruments too and making noise to go along with their singing. If you didn’t want to make rattles, then you could make wrist or ankle ties with elastic and little jingly bells so they could dance around and hear themselves dancing while they were singing.

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2. Hide and Seek

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How to play
Use any Flash Cards that are being used in the lesson, introduce, then hide them around the room. The kids will have fun looking for them. Then once the cards are found and read out, swap and give one of the kids a chance to hide the cards (help them along if they get stuck – they’ll probably hide them in the same place they found them!)

3. Feathers and Balloons

How to play

Have a feather race – have a start and finish line, and encourage your kids to ‘blow’ their feathers across the finishing line. Or to see how long they can keep their feather up in the air for. ** this will work well with balloons too – which may be easier to obtain – and they can take their balloon home afterwards.

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4. Bubbles

How to play

Use Bubbles in a game – go outside and let the kids blow their own, or stay inside and blow some for them. See if they can count how many they can touch. or younger students you may need to hold the blower for them. Students should be old enough to know not to drink the solution.

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5. Pretending To Be Adults

How to play

Play games that are similar to activities adults do in everyday life – go shopping, dress up in old ties and dresses, have a hospital with stethoscopes, bandages, etc, or even drive around a cardboard car.

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6. Making Things

How to play

You could make macaroni bracelets or necklaces, paper hats, glue pictures (draw an animal, current topic or even the child’s name on a piece of A3 paper with glue then sprinkle litter or sand etc over the glue and leave to dry), drawings of their families and/or pets, puppet socks with glue-on eyes and nose etc.

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7. Watching Something Change

How to play

A long-term craft idea could be to grow watercress men – have sponges cut up into interesting shapes like stars and squares and hearts and have them sitting on plastic meat trays with the kids names on them. Wet the sponges – not wringing wet but moist – and sprinkle grass seed or watercress seed on the sponges – in a couple of weeks the seeds will start to sprout! If you grow watercress, the kids can eat it too, and that’s fun. You can also do this in a cup instead of a sponge, and the kids can decorate the cup as a funny face, and the watercress/grass can be hair.

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8. Balancing

How to play

Lay a strip of mask tape on the floor and have a game to see who can get to the end of the strip without falling off. Lots of big actions on the teacher’s part are appreciated by the kids here – its fun to see teachers make mistakes and being silly, because the Japanese teachers don’t usually do this!

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9. Pretending To Be Their Favourite Animal

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How to play

Have the children jumping like a frog, growling like a lion, walking like a puppy, hopping like a rabbit…
Let the student’s choose animals once they have the hang of it.

10. Throwing, Catching And Kicking

How to play

A large, soft ball is preferable, as they will drop it and are not good at catching yet. They like throwing balls at targets too, like knocking a soft toy off a bench, hitting a card etc.

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11. Stories

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How to play
Books with pictures that they can see or even act out are great, and as long as its not for too long (don’t expect over 5 minutes) they’ll enjoy a break from their busy activities to sit down and listen.

12. Play Doh

How to play

Different colours of (#ad) Play Doh, a rolling pin and cookie cutters make for lots of fun.
It will get messy! Ideally spread a large plastic sheet across the floor before hand.

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