Playing online computer games is a popular pastime for many language learners, so employing such games as a technique for studying English is a really good idea. A large number of websites now offer free and fun English language learning games, from crossword puzzles and word jumbles to adventure games that can help facilitate conversation.
1. TEFL Games
TEFL Games is a website providing resources for ELT teachers and learners. Their ‘Free ESL Games and Quiz Corner’ is a huge resource full of free online games and quizzes, as well as printable materials.
There are matching card games that teachers or learners can print to practice vocabulary, as well as interactive quizzes and games that can be played online, all at a variety of levels, ranging from beginner to advanced.
2. Interesting Things for ESL Students
Interesting Things for ESL Students is a large collection of English exercises and quizzes, word games, puzzles, and more fun games for learners. The website offers hundreds of online crossword puzzles, with many that include the words on the Voice of America’s (VOA) Special English Word List.
The puzzles come in a variety of sizes. Other games on the website include Crazy Sentence Singer, Slider Puzzle, and Joggle. The site also has audio-assisted activities to teach learners jokes, limericks, tongue twisters, and poems.
3. Merriam-Webster Online Word Games
The website for the Merriam-Webster dictionary offers hundreds of word games for all levels of English language learners. In addition to the Universal Crossword, LA Times Crossword, and Jumble Crosswords, the website has an online version of Scrabble. Word versions of Solitaire and Sudoku are also available.
Other word games include Word Vault, which gets learners to combine letters to make words on a bank vault to simulate opening the vault in less than a minute, to Play4, which is a timed game that asks learners to type four letter words based on.
4. ESL Game Boards
Lanternfish contains many different types of printable resources for teachers and learners. One useful resource is the printable game boards. There are over a dozen different board games spanning a wide range of different vocabulary and grammar topics. The free game boards are Microsoft Word documents, and can be opened or saved and then printed.
The games include themes such as adjectives, embedded questions, rhymes and opposites, adverbs, and present and past tenses. There is also a blank game board template for users who want to create their own game.
5. Word Vine
Learners can choose from basic, easy, medium, and hard levels in Word Vine. This game focuses on compound words and as such makes a difficult concept fun. Depending on the skill level you choose, an empty vine and several leaves with words are provided.
Drag and drop the leaves onto the vine so that one word is the root word, and the others are all connected. For example, with the words ‘house,’ ‘tree,’ ‘apple,’ and ‘trunk,’ the word ‘tree’ goes to the center of the vine, and the other words go to the stems sprouting off of it because they all form compound word with ‘tree.’
6. Activities for ESL Students
This site contains a collection of activities for learners to practice vocabulary and grammar skills. It includes grammar quizzes, vocabulary quizzes, and crossword puzzles, all at various skill levels.
Another great thing about this website is its long list of bilingual vocabulary quizzes. These quizzes assist students of multiple languages, including Chinese, French, German, Swahili, and Spanish, in learning English.