Chinese whisper marathon

Chinese whisper marathon

This game will have your learners up and moving whilst practising requests such as 'may I have' or 'can I have'. It could also be modified to fit many other types of language block you wish to teach. Set a timer or make it a team game to add to the excitement


Number of learners:  3-8

Time:  10 minutes

Student type: aged 6-9, aged 9-12, aged 12-15

Type: active game, vocabulary game

Materials: Chairs, box of realia, envelopes

Language: sentence structure, works well with requests e.g. can I have, I want a

Why play this game?

  • Ensures student to student interaction
  • Keeps the young learners moving and creates excitement in racing the clock

How to play

  • Preparation- Arrange one chair per student in a line facing the same way. Place some items of realia in a box and place it by the last chair. In each envelope (one per student) write a number and an item (e.g. 5 pencils)
  • Set up the game and ask the students your target question (e.g. may I have 3 balls) and elicit a TPR of the young learners passing you the items.
  • Ask a different question but instead whisper it into the ear of a student and motion for them to do the same to another learner. Continue until all the learners have heard and passed the question, with the last student passing you the objects.
  • Sit the students in a line from the front of the class to the back with your pre written envelopes based at the first seat and the box of realia at the last seat.
  • Run through the drill once more but this time, the student sitting on the last chair should run to the front with the requested items, place them in an empty box by the first chair and then occupy this seat.
  • All the other students should move back one seat to fill his or her vacated chair.
  • Put the envelopes at the front and give the first student time to open it up. Make sure they understand what question to ask and begin the game.
  • All the envelopes must be opened and the correct items need to be placed into the empty box at the front. Set a time limit dependant on the number and level of students.
  • You can expand this game by introducing penalties if you overhear the students whispering or make two sets of chairs and make it a team affair

Download the plan


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