Monday, November 21, 2011


Level: Beginners to intermediate
Materials: Picture or word flash cards
Age: 4 to 12
Pace: Wake up to Excitable
This game is designed to be used for several purposes:

1.  when you have just introduced some new vocabulary and
you want to reinforce it aurally before having your pupils
start to use it

2. for revision

3. when you want to plant a grammatical structure in your
pupils' minds

4. to expose children to reading and spelling when you use
word flash cards instead of pictures


Seat the players round in a circle, on chairs, or on the
floor (on cushions if you have them), with one player
standing in the middle.  Each player has a picture of an
item, or a word flash card, except for the player in the
middle.  Call out two of the picture card items or words.
The two players holding these cards have to change places
without the person in the middle grabbing one of their

If the person in the middle manages to sit on the chair, or
the spot in the circle then the one left standing goes in
the middle.  The new person in the middle hands their flash
card to the child taking their place in the circle.

If someone is stuck in the middle for two turns say "All
Change!".  When the players hear this they must all change
places, which gives the person in the middle a very good
chance of joining the circle.

Once everyone has had one go ask your class to pass their
picture to the right, and take the one handed to them from
the left.  You can give them another go with the new

And it's that simple!

2. Organising the group

With anything from six to fifteen children you can have
only one circle.  With sixteen to thirty children you would
need two groups.  Each group should have the same picture
or word flash cards so that the two groups move
simultaneously when you call out the words or sentences. If
you have different age groups or abilities this is an
opportunity to put all the older ones together, or all the
brighter/more advanced ones together.

One thing to bear in mind is that you need an odd number of
children per group - for example seven pairs in the circle
and one child in the middle.

If you have an even number then you can play too - starting
in the middle.  Alternatively you can pull out one of your
best students to call out the words or sentences.

It is very important, especially with larger groups, that
you keep the pace moving calling out the next change
immediately the players have swapped over.  Do not give
the children time to start chatting to each other.  Keep them
on their toes.

3. Language ideas to use with this game

The simplest version of the game is to call out two words,
for example, if everyone has a food or drink picture card
you could say: "bananas and pie".  The child with the
picture of some bananas, and the child with the picture of
some pie change places.  (If they can without the one in
the middle taking one of their spots first).

You can also incorporate the two words into a sentence
such as: "I like bananas and pie". You can use more
sophisticated sentences to match the ability of your class
and to introduce phrases you would like them to learn.

Here are some examples to give you the idea:

"I would like some bananas and some pie please". "I like
bananas but I don't like pie". "Do you like bananas?...No,
I like pie". "Can I have some bananas and pie?" "Where can
I buy bananas and pie?" "Do you have any bananas and pie?"
"I really love bananas but I can't stand pie". "I feel
sick when I eat bananas and pie".

There is/there are:

"In my kitchen there are bananas and apples". "In my
kitchen there is a pie and a banana".

You can see from the above examples how you can adapt the
game to your purposes.

You can be revising food vocabulary while introducing a
new phrase to them such as "You should eat bananas, but you
shouldn't eat pie".

Alternatively, you could be revising a phrase while
introducing new vocabulary.

For example let's say you recently taught them the days of
the week, and now you are going to introduce food vocabulary.
You can say:

"On Mondays I eat bananas and pie". "On Wednesdays I eat
potatoes and sausages". "On Saturdays I drink coke and
milk". "On Thursdays I drink water and I eat bacon".

And so on.

If you have an advanced class there is no reason why they
cannot enjoy this game from time to time, and you can use
it in the same way described above, simply use the
grammatical structures you are teaching them at the time,
however complex. For example:

"I only wish I could have some bananas and pie".

"You ought to eat bananas and pie". "How can you think of
eating bananas and pie".

If you like this game, remember that there are 161 great
games in my book English Language Games for Children.
There are games for listening like this one, and also many
games for speaking practice, as well as fun reading and
writing games.

Just go to to find out more.

4. More language variants

Other vocabulary ideas for this game are: sports, Next
weekend I'm going to windsurf and play tennis, or animals,
On my farm there are pigs and sheep, or professions, My
mum's a doctor and my dad's a dentist, or places in town,
On Monday I'm going to the bank and the supermarket, or
fairy tale vocabulary, The princess married the Martian.

If you have a few star students who pick things up quickly
you can give them the task of calling out the sentences.

5. Materials for you to try this game

You can use any pictures or word flash cards you may
already have to play All Change.  In addition I have
prepared a set of picture and words cards for you using
You can download these materials free at:

6. Reading and Spelling

Please see sections 1-5 for how to play,  for ideas on
using the game, and for where to get your materials.
Once your students have learned the vocabulary by heart,
you can practice reading and spelling by playing All
Change with word flashcards instead of pictures. This allows the
children to read the words and become familiar subconsciously with the spelling.

written by  : Shelley Vernon in - my

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