Talking Games for Children

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.

Getting young students to talk in class isn't as difficult as it seems if they are enjoying themselves. Using the games in this lesson can help your young learners gain confidence about being vocal in front of others.

Talking Games for Children

Being able to speak in front of others is an invaluable skill that students will use throughout their academic careers, as well as their lives. Because of this, it's important to encourage young learners to practice speaking at the appropriate times. One way to accomplish this is through the use of games. The following games have been designed for use with both entire classrooms and in small groups.

Make a Play

In this game, students work in teams to write and perform a short play. First, put students into teams of 4-5 and tell them they will have 20 minutes to write a three-minute short play. The first time you use this game it can be helpful to provide the teams with a general topic. For example:

  • A field trip to the zoo
  • A field trip to a museum
  • The first day of summer camp
  • The last day of school
  • A friend's birthday party

While it's natural that some of the more outgoing students will want to take the spotlight, every student should be strongly encouraged to speak during the play. Those not inclined to act could introduce the title of the play and the performers, or serve as narrators.

After all of the teams have performed, distribute a ballot for best actor, best actress, best script, and best ensemble performance, and host an awards ceremony. You can even hand out prizes and encourage the award winners to give acceptance speeches.

If you feel this activity is too advanced, try having the students put on a short play based on a book you have read in class. This can be an effective way to ease them into this game.

Find Someone

This game will get your students talking to each other, and can be especially helpful when trying to coax shy students out of their shells.

First, write the following list on the blackboard:

  1. Find someone who has a dog.
  2. Find someone who has more than four pets.
  3. Find someone who was born in another state or country.
  4. Find someone who doesn't like pizza.
  5. Find someone who knows how to cook.
  6. Find someone who loves math.
  7. Find someone who is good at sports.
  8. Find someone who loves to go camping.
  9. Find someone who doesn't like candy.
  10. Find someone who has an older and a younger sibling.

Make sure students write down the name of the person they found who matches each statement. Give students plenty of time to mingle and ask questions. At the end of the game, tell students to return to their seats and go through each statement with the entire class. The goal of this game is to begin conversations similar to the following example.

Who found someone who loves math?

I did.

Who is it?

Jane.

Okay, Jane. Can you tell the class why you love math?

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