Lesson plan for preschool children learning English

a fox
24 Oct Shelley Vernon 2 Comments

Here is a lesson plan that I prepared to teach preschool children their first English words. The topics are greetings, animals and the phrase I'm Hungry.



Nouns: Lion, fox, cat, bird, snake, spider, ant.

Phrases: I’m hungry. How are you? I'm fine thanks.



A rope, three identical plastic cups, cut-outs of the animals (two copies of each animal), 2 wooden spoons, a biscuit lid, drinking straws, 2 pairs of rolled up socks, eyepads or a mask to blindfold the children


THE LESSON PLAN with games from this book of ESL games for preschool


1. SHOW ME (listening game to introduce the animal vocabulary)

Lay out lion, fox and cat. Name the cards and ask the pupil to touch the card you name. Jump from one to the other, slowly at first, accelerating as the children become proficient. Try and catch them out and make them touch the wrong card. Try this, lion, fox, lion, fox, lion, fox, cat. The chances are some children will touch the lion instead of the cat. It's more fun if there is some challenge.

preschool vocabulary game jumping on flashcard pictures

2. JUMP THE LINE (listening)

Make a line with a rope or some tape and place pictures either side of that line, to the left and to the right. Now call out the items.  Pupils must jump to the right or to the left depending on the location of the picture in relation to the line


3. FIND ME (listening)

Spread out the lion, the fox and the cat flashcards around the room whilst pupils keep their eyes closed. Ask pupils to open their eyes and show you an item. ‘Find me the lion’. Count out loud to five.  Pupils keep the flashcards that they find. Swap over. They have to hide the items and the teacher has to find them while, if they know how to count already, the students count to five. Count up the flashcards at the end but don't make it a competition. If one pupil has more than the other, there is no need to draw attention to it or have a winner.


4. VOCABULARY AIM AND THROW (listening and speaking)

Give each player a pair of rolled up socks. Lay out some vocabulary pictures, well spread out on the floor. Mark a starting line. Pupils take it in turns to aim at the pictures. 



Spend a few minutes concentrating on saying the words. The teacher says the word, shows the picture, and the pupils copy.


6. MIMING GAMES (speaking game)

Now mime an animal and encourage pupils to tell you which animal it is. Then one pupil mimes an animal while the others guess what it is. 



Call out the animal names. When the teacher says "I’m hungry!" the children quickly need to find shelter somewhere before the teacher catches and “eats” them. The shelter could be touching a tree, a wall or going to a corner of the room. Never catch a child, get close, but let them get away!  Now let students have a turn to call out the words, but only if they are doing well and can manage this step. Otherwise, leave it for a future lesson.


8. DIVING FOR TREASURE (listening game)

Lay out all the pictures. The child dives and fetches the treasure which the teacher names. Each time the child has to come back with the right picture. Tell them that a big ship has sunk and they are going to save the animals from drowning. Expand the distance to make it more fun. They have to fetch the pictures whilst holding their breath. They must dive down to the bottom of the sea and pick up the animal they find there. Before starting to dive they take a big breath in and hold their breath until they come up with the animal. All they are doing really is picking up a picture from the floor, except that you have turned it into an imaginary rescue operation. No animals drown, resuscitate if you need to! Use stuffed animal toys if you have them instead of flashcards.



Hide an object. Pupils search for it.  The teacher guides pupils saying "getting warmer" as pupils come closer to the hiding place. Or "Getting colder" when pupils move further away. Since pupils don't know this vocabulary, warmer and colder, use gestures to help them understand.

All games are from ESL games for preschool

10. FISHING (speaking)

This is a lovely quiet game since children cannot make any noise while they are sucking a straw. Each pupil has a drinking straw. Place the straw on a picture and suck - you lift the paper up like this. Use small paper flashcards, that are light, and easy to suck.  Pupils may not be able to do this at first. Show them how to place the straw flat on the paper.  Don't despair they soon figure out how to do it. If a child fails consistently, leave it for now and try again another day. Pupils choose an animal picture they want to suck up with the straw. Designate a finish line about two meters away. Pupils transport their animal over the finish line using only the straw, they are not allowed to touch the paper.



Students are blindfolded, on their hands and knees, holding a spoon. They advance around the room banging the spoon on the floor. The teacher has placed a biscuit tin lid somewhere on the floor. The pupils must move around and try to hit this tin lid with their spoon. As soon as they do, take off the blindfold, the pupil turns over the tin lid and names the flashcard underneath. He or she then gets a biscuit as a reward!

esl flashcard game with blindfolds and a tin

12. THREE CUPS (speaking)


You need three identical plastic cups and small pictures. Roll up the pictures into a tube so that they fit inside a cup. Turn the cups upside down and switch them quickly around. The object is to guess which picture is under each cup. You can hide three pictures at a time. Change the pictures.




Lay out the pictures on the floor and tell to which animal they have to walk to. It can be slippery so be careful. 



Tell a short story. The story that goes with this lesson plan is called I'm Hungry. It's available with my first series of stories for preschool children.

This is a complete teaching kit:

- 10 stories

- all the flashcards you need

- lesson plans with games, taking you step by step through all the vocabulary and phrases in the story

And these optional extras:

- workbook (optional extra)

- songs that match the vocabulary of the stories 

- masks of the story characters to cut out, decorate and wear

- basic movie versions of the stories with audio by native speakers


Get the complete teaching kit here, add on the preschool games book at a discount on the order page




Thank you Shelley for sharing games with me. I’ll definitely use them in my lessons!
Lovely ideas!!! Again! Tjanks for sharing, dearest!

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