I received a question today about the difference between a game and an exercise. It seems to me that an exercise is just a drill, there is no game element. An exercise does not purport to be fun, whereas a game does.
Add an element of fun to an exercise and you have a game!
The element of fun might be to go against the clock or to compete with other participants, individually or in teams, but a game does not have to be competitive. For instance, take the game Hot Potato. In this game there is no competition. Students pass objects around the classroom, repeating a phrase or word each time they pass something. When the teacher says, “stop”, all those students with an object perform a silly forfeit, such as a dance, pretending to be a chicken, hopping on the spot ten times, or whatever.
Fun learning is more effective than dull learning, because students are more involved and motivated. Most of my games for children are disguised drills or exercises, but since they come in an attractive game package, children enjoy them and participate. As a consequence, pupils learn English more easily.
Fun resources to turn exercises into games
Resources to turn exercises into games
Games and Activities for Teens and AdultsProduct on sale
ESL Online Games$23.96
ESL Games book for primary & middle school childrenProduct on sale