ESL Describing Objects Activities & Games

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Object description is an essential aspect of communication in any language. To help ESL students practice description, this lesson provides some engaging activities and games for your classroom.

Adjectives and Their Order

If your students are ready to start practicing object description, it's a good idea to first double-check the number of adjectives they know. You can easily do this by simply naming a category of adjectives, such as color, and ask your students to give you a few related adjectives.

Also, if the level of your class allows, you can ask or remind your students about adjective order so that they use this knowledge when it is time to describe objects.

Now, let's take a look at some fun activities your ESL students can enjoy.

Using Visuals

Since we perceive the characteristics of objects mainly through sight, it's a good idea to engage students in object description using visuals that are readily available.

PowerPoint Images

You can quickly display several slides showing different objects by using the images that are available within PowerPoint itself. Present your students with one image at a time and the students can make either oral or written descriptions of what they see.

Magazine Images

If your school library offers magazines, you can use those. Alternatively, you can get friends or family to pass on magazines they no longer want to you. For this activity, students work in pairs and find objects throughout the pages of a magazine and choose ten to fifteen objects to describe. Next, they present to the class the objects they found.

Objects at School

A great way to get your students out of the classroom is to have them take a walk through the school building. As they walk, they write down the description for objects that catch their attention.

Using Senses

These activities get students using their senses in order to describe an object.

What's in the Bag?

For this activity, you would ideally use a bag made of fabric, but a colored plastic bag will do. Put a bunch of objects inside the bag. Have each student touch an object in the bag without taking it out. As the students feel an object, they describe it to the class. Your students could refer to shape, material, etc.

Through touch, the students are very likely to know what the object is. As they describe the object, other students can guess what the object is from the description. Once someone guesses correctly, the student can take the object out of the bag. The students can now describe the color and other characteristics of the object they see.

Guess the Object

For this activity, students would ideally work in pairs. If possible, give each pair of students a blindfold to take turns covering their eyes. The student who isn't blindfolded puts an object they own (a pencil, a sharpener, etc.) in the blindfolded student's hand. This student describes what they feel and tells what the object is.

Using Quick Thinking

These activities get students to describe objects while playing games that require quick thinking with a time deadline.

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