Past tense can be a difficult concept for students to learn in English. Tenses in general can pose problems for students whose language may not use as many as English. One way to combat this, apart from excellent teaching of course!, is to seek out some online past tense games. If they are free then even better!
We are teachers who use these past tense games in the classroom all the time. They are not made by us although we do have some on the site that we have made for phonics and other reading skills You can check these out in the link here and below.
Online past tense games offer both students and teachers alternative methods to teach this difficult concept. These games are made to be easily accessible, fun and most importantly effective in motivating and allowing students to practice English past tense using online games in a fun and engaging way.
The more tools in a teachers arsenal the more effective learning can take place. English tenses are difficult to learn. Having a variety of methods to engage students will make students learn and teachers teach more effectively.
We have a selection of hard resources on past tense to download and print here as well. these are linked at the bottom of this page in the other resources section.
If you are looking for Worksheets or activities for adjectives or anything English related we have hundreds for free and in the shop n the site. Just follow the links for details.
We also have articles and guides on the best games for other English Topics and Phonics subjects as well. These include:
- Best FREE Online CVC Games
- Best FREE Online Digraph Games
- Best FREE Online Short Vowels Games
- Best FREE Online Long Vowels Games
- Best FREE Online Rhyming Games
- Best FREE Online Sentence Games
- Best FREE Online Syllable Games
- Best FREE Online Prepositions Games
- Best Free Online Adjective Games
- Best Free Online Action Verb Games
Now lets take a look at some of the Best Online Past Tense Games.
Online Past Tense Games.
There are two aspects to the simple past tense. The regular and the irregular, we will highlight which these games address so you can choose one that covers the aspect you are teaching your students.
To get to the games you just have to press the link of the picture.
All of these have been tested by teachers and are working. None are Flash (or if they are are, they are still working!)
- Games to Learn English: Past tense game. – This is our favorite.
- Journey to the Past Tense – ABCya
- Monkey Past tense – ESL Games Plus
- Past Tense – MES English
- Dino Photoshoot – Education.com
- Dino Skateboard – education.com
- Paint the Past Tense – British Council
- Missing Past Tense – British Council
This is our favorite online past tense game to play with our students. It has just the right levels of difficultly, language and fun. It has a scoring system that will encourage students to try to do their best, and allows them to appear on a global score board as an individual or a class.
It is a three part game the first being a simple match the present to the past tense form of a verb. However this is in the style of those candy crush type games. So if you can get more than one to line up then more will pop.
This leads on to a two part game that asks students to match a picture with a present tense verb, and then once completed they have to then choose the correct past tense form of that verb to complete a sentence.
This is followed by a jumbled sentence game. Where students have to put the sentence in the correct order to progress. The game then reverts to the candy crush game and it continues in a loop.
It has loads of replay value and my students even asked me to give them the link to be able to play at home. You cant get a better reaction than that!
Why do we love it?
- It has both irregular and regular forms of past tense in it
- It keeps going till too many mistakes are made
- its has a scoring system that allows students to go for a high score on a all-time, monthly and daily leader board!
- It allows students to practice so much in just one game.
ABCYA really do make impressive looking games. This online past tense game one is actually simpler than it looks but is packages well and will appeal to Grade and middle school students. The description and story setting is actually quick difficult English so teachers may need to adapt that to set the scene.
This scene is as follows: The student has to collect past tense words to go back and collect things form the past! They can then put these in a museum to look at later. ( I have put the picture in the image above)
How ever the three rounds of this past tense game are straightforward and easy to follow.
- The first round asked students to spot past tense verbs and put them into the time whap
- The second asks them to find the missing past tense words to complete the sentence
- The third asks them to spell the past tense of the verb the shown.
The game can be played through twice if you wanted to collect all the ancient artifacts.
With the descriptions being a little wordy we think this online past tense game is is better suited to native speaking students unless you explain in simpler terms.
- Simple and easy to use
- Suitable to use as a whole class activity
- Replayable and could use as end of lesson activity to clam class down.
- Lots of other games on this site
This sentence construction and past tense game from ESL Games Plus focusses on the irregular form of the past tense. It asks students to chose from four words to complete the sentence.
Some of these sentences require more than one word, and this confuses (my) students so take a little time to explain that to them.
The ”aim” is to help the monkey dig for bananas and coconuts ion the island and the whole game will last about 10 to 15 mins in a classroom environment less if your students play it individually on iPads or tablets.
It is a useful game to see the past tense in action, although some of the sentences are a little difficult for lower level students and you may have to scaffold them a little. Especially as the timer for each question is pretty short and this makes is challenging to use in a full classroom with different students answering the questions.
MES Past Tense Online Games are super simple for both the students and the teachers. This gives them a lot of scope in classrooms for 5 minute fillers at the beginning and end of lessons. There is not quite enough glitz in todays hi Tech world to hold attention for a lesson, but this in not their intent.
Their grammar sections have different tasks for each topic in the past tense section you have the following activities:
Treasure Hunt: Students have to look at the picture and then listen for the correct Past tense description. If they get it right first time they get more points
English Carnival: Students have to try to look at the obscured picture and say if the description is correct. This online past tense game uses questions forms.
Slap: This is HARD! You have to recognize the sentence before the computer does and drag the green hand on to it. The computer is super fast so this one is more for fun that useful!
They also have guides to the Past tense vocabulary on the same page along with a selection of other games as well. We tend to use the treasure hunt because it is one of the few listening exercises online.
Note: Education.com is a paid site ( and quite good in all honesty) however they do let teachers and students play their games a few times each month. SO if you want to use this in your class i suggest playing it on your home computer to see if it suits then playing in the classroom.
If you play too many times it will block and ask you to subscribe. Fair enough its their business model, but some teachers just cant afford this.
There are actually two simple past tense online games on there that are pretty good. Both have a dinosaur theme so will automatically be attractive to students. We will cover both here starting with Dinosaur Photo Shoot.
This game asks students to find the past tense form of a present tense verb and try to feed a dinosaur in a cave. If they are right they can take a photo of the dinosaur.
It is quite a short game but is sure to be popular in classrooms. You can play this online past tense game by clicking on the links above and below.
Dino Skateboard is another game from education.com. The aim is similar to the online past tense game above but this time it is a past tense race against other dinosaurs on skateboards (why not I guess)
The game play is slow enough so it should be ok for younger learners to win and all they have to do is spot the correct for of a past tense verb.
Most of these are irregular verbs so a little but of tuition before would be useful.
This is a nice simple and easy to use online past tense game from the British Council. It is also the only game that explicitly asks students to spot the difference between the regular and irregular form of the past tense.
Students have to color the different verb forms in either red or green and then press finish. The color choices are actually below all the text ( took me a while to find that out!)
It is a quick game, presuming the students are aware of the rules surrounding irregular and regular past tense so would be good as a revision or end of lesson exercise.
Just click the links to to launch it.
Another online past tense game from the British Council. This one is another put in the missing word exercise, and uses both regular and irregular forms of the past tense.
It is fairly straightforward, but one thing that threw us a little was that instead of dragging the word into place you have to click it, then click the gap. I guess we have all gotten to used to touch screens in recent years.
It is, like the game above, quite a short activity so it wont last for a full lesson on past tense and could be used for practice instead.
Other Past Tense Resources
We have a selection of resources below to help you supplement all those games above. These are free on the site s well and you can download for personal or school use. They can be used to teach and consolidate in lessons along with the past tense online games above.
As we mentioned above past tense is often the first time students experience tenses in English. It is important to build up confidence and ability at this early stage so that they will approach the more complex tenses in English with that same confidence later.
We have highlighted 8 of the best online past tense games that we use in our classrooms in the hope that they will both help you and save you time. They are useful, and they cover a wide spectrum of lengths and styles to help you cater for learner diversity and abilities in your classrooms and homes.
The worksheets above are useful both as teaching aids in class, and as consolidation activities if you need. We also are in the process of creating pages like this for present, perfect and future tenses as well. We already have activities and worksheets on the site for those.
Hopefully the eight or so past tense online games we have introduced above will help you in your classrooms or teaching environments. We also have other top lists of other English Topics and Phonics above if you need them. Just click here to go back to the top of the page and find them.
The more diverse and alternative approaches you can take with education, especially in todays technological world, the more chances you have for both maintaining students interest and for making sure the information sticks!
Online games are certainly one way to help achieve that aim