Games from around the world

This is a small collection of five games you can use to promote turn taking and collaboration in the classroom.

Claudia Connolly

Before starting the games, you need to brainstorm language which the children will need in order to instruct each other and manage the game. Some possibilities are:

  • My turn
  • Your turn
  • Let's go
  • You / I won
  • You're out
  • Play again…

Tickum - tackum
This game is from Iran and is for two players.

  • The children stand about three metres apart from each other.
  • They then take turns to shout 'tickum' and 'tackum', one shouting 'tickum' and the other replying 'tackum'.
  • As they respond to each other they place their feet, heel to toe and advance forward towards their opponent.
  • The child who is the last to fill the gap with their foot is the winner.
  • The chant can be changed with days of the week, months of the year, sequence of numbers, etc.

Ram, ram, rip
This is a game from Indonesia and Malaysia. It can be played by up to four or five children. It is a finger catching game!

  • One child holds out their hand, palm up and the others place their first finger to rest on the palm.
  • She then chants the rhyme. On 'rip' she closes her hand attempting to catch the fingers.
  • Those who are caught are out of the game. The last remaining player is the winner.

Ram, ram
Ram, ram
Ram, ram

The words of the rhyme can be changed to prepositions:
In, on
Under, behind
In, on

Match my feet
This game is from Zaire. It can be played in small or large groups of children and is fun for working on rhyme and movement.

  • All the children stand in a circle.
  • The first child claps a rhyme which all the others copy.
  • The child then dances to the rhyme and chooses a child to copy her.
  • If that chosen child can then repeat the dance to the rhyme, they become the 'star'.
  • The game continues in this way with a new dance movement each time.
  • The chant can be changed with new chants made up by the children.

Match my feet
Copy what I do
Just like me

North, south, east and west
Four children are given a card each to hold (with four different sounds that you want them to practise) and they go to stand in north, east, south and west labelled corners of the classroom.

  • The rest of the children are given a flashcard with a word which has been pre- taught. Children go to the corner containing the sound of their word.
  • Check the groups.

Noisy letters
Give all the children a card with a sound that you want them to practise, and ask the children to read and then hide it behind their backs.

  • All the children stand and continuously make the sound of the phoneme represented by the letters on the card.
  • They then walk around the classroom and group together with other children who are saying the same phoneme.
  • The children then turn over their cards and check together that they have the same written sound.
Language Level

Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

See our publications, research and insight