Vocabulary Tennis is a fun easy game to warm up and review vocabulary in addition to understanding the English level of students. This ESL warmer is similar to A-Z ESL Warmer but more challenging and fun. Also, the game suites all ages and levels and requires no preparation.
Explain the instruction then divide the class into two teams (let’s say team A and B). Write a few categories (food, transportation, travel and etc) on the board and let them choose one. Team A “serves” by saying a word in that category. Team B then returns the serve by saying a different word from the same category as well. The game continues until a team cannot think of another word to say.
For more challenge set a timer for 5 seconds as if the “ball” cannot float too long in the air. If there is enough time playing the game with another category as well.
It would be fun to bring a balloon to the class and have students stand on opposite sides and play the game which makes it more difficult and challenging for advanced students. The rules are simple; say a word and hit the balloon or else the balloon drops and the team loses.
ESL warm ups that includes teaming up are the best for large classes. Of course teachers can play with small classes as well without dividing the class into teams. Let them play individually against each other
As we mentioned earlier Vocabulary Tennis doesn’t require a certain age. However, for very young learners bring the balloon to class since the balloon makes it really interesting and ESL kids understand the rules better.