ESL Listening Game All Change

ESL listening game All Change

All change is a great ESL listening game for small groups to learn vocabulary or grammar.

This game is designed for:

1.  introducing new vocabulary, sentences, or questions

2. vocabulary and grammar revision

3. planting a grammatical structure in your pupils’ minds

4. reading and spelling when you use word flashcards instead of pictures 

Category: ESL listening game with speaking and reading variants

Group size: Small groups of 6 to 20

Level: Beginner to intermediate

Materials: Picture or word flashcards

Age: 4 to 12

Pace: Excitable

How to play

Players stand in a circle with one player in the middle. Each player in the ring has a picture or word flashcard. Players memorize the flashcard and then hold it so that the person in the middle can see the word/image. Next, call out two of the picture card items. The two players holding these cards have to change places without the person in the middle taking one of their spots in the circle. The person in the middle will eventually succeed. So then, a new person will be in the center. At any time, call out, ‘All change!’ which means that everyone has to change places. Use this if someone is stuck in the middle.

Language ideas

Name the items on picture flashcards, give plurals or make sentences. For example, if everyone has a food or drink picture, say, ‘I like bananas and milk.’ Then, the students with the milk and bananas change places with each other. Other sentence ideas for different topics are: 

Next weekend, I’ll windsurf and play tennis.
On my farm, there are pigs and sheep.
My mum’s a doctor, and my dad’s a dentist.
On Monday, I am going to the bank and the supermarket.

Listening and reading

Play the game as described above, but use short phrases written on cards. For example, write ‘Hello, how are you?’ on one card and ‘I’m fine, thanks’ on another. Alternatively, put ‘Where do you live?’ on one card and ‘I live in India’ on another, and so on. Everyone has one card, but use more to make the game trickier. Use this idea with sentences that are cut in half too.

After a few rounds, the children swap cards with each other. Bear in mind not to play for more than 10 minutes to keep the game fresh and fun.

Variation for speaking

To convert this into a speaking game, let players take turns to call out pictures or say short phrases. Have the better students do this soon to keep them challenged.

To make the game harder, have the person in the middle make up their own sentence with two picture words in it. However, be careful that students are up to this, or the game could drag.

ESL Listening games that work!

Hear from Fº Javier Marín Millán, using my games books in  Spain:

“Brilliant!!! It is amazing how many games you can use in just one lesson. I can’t believe I am actually excited about starting with the new unit. And, to be honest, I am thrilled with these ideas. I haven’t stopped receiving compliments on my teaching in the last week.

Now I see how a class can be fun, and students can still learn a lot. Thank you so much for the inspiration. And thank you for the wonderful ideas for my lesson plans.”


Get the full games book in instant download or paperback from Amazon. As well as ESL listening games, the book has many speaking, reading, and writing activities.

Have a great time with this game, and do let me know how you get on, in the comments, and what else you would like to receive in these free materials.

All the best, Shelley Ann Vernon

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