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ESL Icebreaker Games “The Name Game”

“The Name Game” is a playful and interactive activity designed to break the ice and build camaraderie in language learning classrooms.

This game not only aids in memorizing names but also enhances vocabulary, particularly in the use of adjectives.

It creates a light-hearted atmosphere that helps students become more comfortable with each other, making it easier for them to engage and remember details about their classmates.

esl icebreaker game name game

ESL Icebreaker Game – Name Game

We have loads of icebreaker games here on the site for all ages, you can check out the full list for kindergarten on the link directly below but we also have icebreakers for adults, primary and high school here which you can check out as well.

How to Play

Each participant in the game introduces themselves using their name along with an adjective that starts with the same letter as their name, such as “Cheerful Charlotte” or “Brave Bob.”

The next person in the circle repeats the previous names and adjectives before adding their own. The chain continues, making it progressively more challenging and fun as more names are added.

Educational Benefits

  1. Memory Enhancement: The repetitive nature of the game helps in reinforcing memory, aiding students in remembering names and adjectives.
  2. Expands Vocabulary: The use of adjectives encourages students to explore new words, thereby expanding their vocabulary in the target language.
  3. Boosts Confidence: As students participate, they become more comfortable speaking in the group, which helps in building their confidence in using the language.
  4. Promotes Creativity: The challenge of finding an adjective that matches their name pushes students to think creatively and playfully engage with the language.
  5. Fosters a Supportive Environment: The game creates a friendly and supportive classroom atmosphere, essential for effective language learning.

Resources Needed

“The Name Game” requires minimal resources, making it an easy and accessible activity for any classroom setting. The primary resources are:

  • A comfortable space for students to sit in a circle, ensuring everyone can see and hear each other.
  • Optional: A whiteboard or flip chart to write down the names and adjectives, aiding visual learners and helping keep track of the game.

Differentiation for Varied Learner Levels

This game can be easily adapted to different language proficiency levels:

  • Beginner Level: Encourage the use of simple and common adjectives. Beginners may also be given a list of adjectives to choose from to reduce pressure.
  • Intermediate Level: Challenge students to come up with more unique adjectives and encourage them to explain why they chose a particular adjective.
  • Advanced Level: For advanced learners, introduce additional challenges like creating a short story or sentence using the adjective and name, or using less common and more complex adjectives.


“The Name Game” is an excellent example of how language learning can be made fun and engaging. It not only serves as an effective icebreaker but also as a valuable tool for vocabulary expansion and confidence-building.

This game is a testament to the fact that learning a language can be a creative, enjoyable, and socially enriching experience.

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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