What You Can Do with a Blindfold: 10 Fun ESL Games
Bored of always using the same old games with your ESL students? Chances are, they are just as bored as you. Sometimes, the introduction of one element, just one item, will completely take your class by surprise and instantly leave them guessing what’s to come next.
Enter a simple blindfold – the kind they give away in airlines or a simple scarf. Your class will be giddy with anticipation about the game that is to come next!
10 Blindfold Activities For Your ESL Classroom
It’s very simple to play, but oh, so much fun for students, plus a fantastic way to review any type of vocabulary. Place several items inside a bag, like classroom objects. Divide the class into two teams and students take turns wearing the blindfold. They must take an item from the bag and feel it to say what it is. There are plenty of ways to make this game more challenging, like using items that have a similar texture, like a bag of clothes.
Re-arrange the furniture in the classroom so it resembles an obstacle course or maze. Divide students into pairs and give each pair a blindfold. Students have to guide their partners, without touching them, through the maze by giving directions. You may choose to add more obstacles like an overturned trash bin, or a “puddle” made out of cardboard. Once students have successfully passed through the maze, they switch roles with their partners.
Strike a Pose
Students are divided into groups of threes. One student wears a blindfold, another strikes a pose, and the third student must guide the one wearing the blindfold till he or she is imitating the pose.
How Tall Are You?
Give several students blindfolds and tell them to stand one next to the other. Next, tell them they must arrange themselves according to height. Students must collaborate and ask each other, “How tall are you?” till they achieve the desired arrangement. You may also ask them to arrange themselves in alphabetical order, or any type of order, in fact, like age.
Follow the Pattern
This one is similar to the previous, but in this case one student is blindfolded and must arrange objects according to a pattern set forth by the teacher. For example, objects from smaller to bigger, longer to shorter, in alphabetical order, etc…
Students stand in a circle with one blindfolded student in the center. The teacher spins the student wearing the blindfold. Each student they face asks them a question, and they must guess who it is. Tell students they must use a particular tense, like the simple past, and encourage them to mask their voices, so it’s not so easy to guess. Students who guess correctly are given points or stickers.
As suggested in our article, 5 Fun Games that Teach the Weather, students take turns wearing a blindfold and mark a location in a world map with either a marker or push pin. They must then tell the class what the weather’s like there. And there are so many variations to this game! Ask students what language they speak there, or have them choose two places and practice comparatives and superlatives. For example, the student first lands in France and then in the US. The student must make comparisons between the two countries.
Make a Face
To practice the parts of the face (or body) use a cardboard circle for the face and make eyes, ears, nose, mouth and hair, with either magnets or tape on the back. Make two sets if you wish to divide your students into two teams and compete. The blindfolded students must take the parts and assemble them into a face with guidance from their classmates.
Hit the Target
Draw a large bull’s-eye in the center of the board. Divide students into two teams. One student from each team is blindfolded. Spin both of the students a bit to disorient them. Each team has to guide its blindfolded student to the bull’s-eye and the one who makes it there first wins. Rearrange the classroom furniture to make it more challenging.
Bear in mind that some students, like teens, may be self-conscious about wearing a blindfold, but they’ll soon learn it definitely puts a new spin on a lesson that would otherwise be just like any other.
It also helps develop listening skills as students are blindfolded, and they can’t rely on their sight. Use blindfolds in class, and use them often. Your students won’t be blinded to the learning opportunities.
Do you know and use any other blindfold activities? Please share them in the comments below!
Claudia has been an ESL teacher for 20 years and has taught a wide variety of students from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, complete beginners to advanced students. This vast teaching experience has helped her write over 100 articles for BusyTeacher.org. When she is not teaching, she is also a freelance travel writer contributing reviews for V!VA Travel Guides' upcoming Uruguay edition, as well as travel articles and blog posts for a variety of online publications. She is currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina with her spunky 7-year old daughter and crabby 10-year old cat, Ulysses. Google +.