Are you looking for a no-prep activity that doesn’t require special materials?
Try one of these language exercises that need nothing more than some scrap paper.
Try These 7 No-prep Games That Only Need Some Scrap Paper
As any elementary school student can tell you, hangman is the game to play when you have a few minutes to fill. And the benefits for ESL students are greater than just filling the time. Students who play hangman will learn or reinforce vocabulary, learn common letter patterns, and review the English alphabet. All you need is a scrap of paper, a pencil, and an idea, and your students will be ready to go. It also makes a great review activity for a vocabulary unit before the test or the final exam for your class.
If you have a bunch of extra worksheets lying around, flip them over for this simple activity which will challenge your students’ listening skills. Pair students up and have them sit back to back, each with a piece of paper in front of them. One person will give the instructions on what shapes and lines to draw and where to draw them as they create a picture on their own piece of paper. The person cannot say what he or she is drawing. For example, she might say to draw a big square with a triangle on top. She should not say to draw a house. The other person must follow the directions his partner gives and draw his own picture. After a given amount of time or when students have finished their drawings, have them face each other and compare their pictures. How close did the listener get to the speaker’s picture? Then change it up and have students grab another piece of paper and switch roles.
This simple game needs nothing other than a few simple scraps of paper. Each person gets two. On the first scrap, he writes a question that begins with why. On the second paper, he writes the answer to his question beginning with because. For example, one student’s papers might read as follows: Why did the chicken cross the road? Because there was food on the other side. Once all students have finished, collect all the why papers in one pile and all the because papers in another pile and shuffle each pile separately. Then read the slips to the class, first pulling a random why slip and then following it with a random because slip. You will find some funny combinations occur, and you should all get a good laugh out of the exercise not to mention get practice with question formation.
Have a Ball
Have you written off ball tossing games in your classroom because of the potential for destruction? Well, here is your solution. Take a scrap of paper and ball it up, and your class will be ready to play a “ball game” without destroying your classroom. One of the simplest ball games starts with a wadded up piece of paper and students standing in a circle. The person holding the “ball” asks a question and then tosses the ball to another person in the circle. That person has to answer the question the first person asked. She then gets to ask a question and toss the ball to another classmate, who then answers her question. Continue until everyone in the circle has had a chance to ask and answer at least one question.
If you think that scrap paper that is written on both sides is useless, think again. Any sheet of paper no matter how covered in writing, paint, or crayon will work for this paper airplane contest. Start by having each person in your class make a paper airplane. You can either leave students to their own designs or have some how-to resources available in class on paper airplane plans. When all the planes are complete, set up an elimination bracket on your board to determine who has made the farthest flying plane. Before each match, have your class make observations about the planes that will be flying and predictions about which plane will go further. Then have students stand together and let their planes fly. Continue matching students together until one plane has conquered them all. This activity can be done in your classroom, but it’s also a fun way to get outside when the weather begins to get nice in the spring.
Board Game Reviews
You will need a piece of scrap paper which is blank on one side for students to make their own board games. Put your class into groups of around three, and have each group draw a game board on their blank piece of paper. Students can determine what shape the path will take and how many spaces it will contain (you might want to set a minimum number of spaces for each game board). Then have students write review questions in each space. Once each space has a review question written in it, have groups switch their game boards with another group. To play, a person rolls a die (keep these on hand in your classroom or have students use a free dice ap) and moves that many places. They must then answer the question that is on the space. If they answer correctly, they stay there. If they answer incorrectly, they must return to their previous space. The first person to the end of the game wins.
If you want to do an exercise from a grammar or other book but want to give your students some motivation to do well, try this marriage of tic-tac-toe and a book exercise. Working with a partner, students will answer questions from an exercise in their text. If the first student answers the question right (uses the correct grammar structure, vocabulary, etc.) he gets to place an X on the tic-tac-toe board they have drawn on their piece of scrap paper. The second student then gets a chance to answer a question, and if she is right she gets to place an O on the board. If a student answers a question incorrectly, he or she does not get to place an X or O on the board. Students should keep playing until they run out of questions in the exercise and then see who won more tic-tac-toe games.
Do you have favorite activities that require no-prep and need nothing more than a scrap of paper?
Please share them in the comments section below.