| | | | |

ESL Icebreaker Game for Primary School: Charades with a Twist

Charades with a Twist is an exciting and interactive icebreaker game, perfect for primary school ESL (English as a Second Language) students.

By incorporating elements of classic charades and adapting it to a classroom setting, this game becomes a fantastic way for young learners to practice language skills while having fun.

ESL Icebreakers charades with a twist

ESL Icebreaker – Charades With a Twist

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

(Of course you can adapt all of them for your classrooms and students as needed)

How to Play

  • Game Setup: Prepare cards with words or phrases from categories such as animals, occupations, or simple actions. Ensure these are suitable for the students’ age and language level.
  • Basic Rules: A student picks a card and acts out the word or phrase without speaking. Their classmates guess what it is. The actor cannot use any verbal cues.
  • Game Variations: To make the game more challenging and educational, include specific vocabulary or phrases from recent lessons. For a simpler version, use pictures instead of words on the cards.

Educational Benefits

  • Enhances Vocabulary and Comprehension: Students learn new words and phrases as they guess and act out different concepts.
  • Promotes Non-Verbal Communication Skills: Acting out words helps develop students’ ability to express and interpret non-verbal cues.
  • Fosters Creativity and Imagination: Thinking of ways to mime words or phrases enhances creative thinking.
  • Encourages Active Participation: The game gets every student involved, either by acting or guessing, ensuring an engaging classroom activity.

Resources Needed

  • Word or Phrase Cards: Prepared in advance, tailored to the students’ language proficiency.
  • Space: A classroom or open area where students can move around and act out the charades comfortably.

Playtime Guidelines

  • Duration: Around 15-20 minutes, allowing enough time for several students to take turns acting.
  • Pace: Keep the game moving at a brisk pace to maintain energy and interest. Limit guessing time to keep the game dynamic.
  • Group Size: Suitable for any class size. Larger classes can be divided into smaller groups for more participation.

Adapting to Different Learning Levels

  • For Beginners: Use simple and familiar words or phrases, and allow students to work in pairs for acting.
  • For Intermediate Students: Introduce more complex words and encourage solo performances.
  • For Advanced Students: Include idiomatic expressions or phrases that involve more abstract concepts.


Charades with a Twist is an ideal game for primary school ESL students, blending the excitement of acting with the challenge of language learning.

This game not only reinforces vocabulary and expressive skills but also brings a lot of laughter and enjoyment to the classroom.

It’s a perfect way to encourage shy students to participate and help the class bond over shared fun experiences.

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.

Similar Posts

Always welcome thoughts and comments, new blogs can be lonely!!