ESL Games for Learning Body Parts

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

This lesson provides games that can be used to teach vocabulary (specifically parts of the body) to English as a second language, or ESL, students. The games can be adjusted to fit individual student needs, classroom size, and academic level.

ESL Games for Learning Body Parts

Before using any of the following games in the classroom, it's important to make sure that students have a solid understanding of the names of body parts and how to pronounce them correctly. The following vocabulary list is organized by body area and ranges from basic to advanced. You should choose from the list according to the level of your students.

Body Parts Word List


hair, head, forehead, ears, eyes, eyelashes, eyebrows, eyelids, nose, cheeks, mouth, lips, tongue, chin, neck


back, shoulders, spine, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, knuckles, fingers (index, middle, ring, pinky, and thumb), fingernails, chest, stomach, side, navel, waist


legs, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, feet, toes (toenails)

Name That Part!

There are two variations of this game. The first works well with younger students and the second is designed to engage more mature learners. This game encourages teamwork, listening, vocabulary and writing.

Variation 1

The first way involves using your own body or displaying a poster or large image of a clothed human body. You can also draw a body on the board if you feel confident in your artistic abilities. Put the students into small teams and tell them to write down their answers on a piece of paper. Having them write their answers instead of shouting them out can keep the game from getting out of hand and will prevent teams from disagreeing about who spoke first.

Begin the game by pointing to a body part and telling the students to write down the name of that body part on their paper. Repeat this process using as many body parts as necessary, but keep in mind that if you use more than 15 the students may lose interest. After you have completed the quiz, collect the papers and grade them quickly. The team with the most correct answers is the winner. If there is a tie, you can use correct spelling as a tiebreaker.

Variation 2

This variation generally works well with older students who may feel that pointing at body parts is a bit too immature. As in the first variation, divide the class into small teams and assign one person to write down the answers. Then, instead of pointing to body parts on a picture, you'll can ask the following questions. Choose questions that will be challenging, but not too confusing.

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