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3. Incorporate online games

6 Fun Games for Your On-line Classroom

Written by Russ Gadzhiev, PhD

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct.”  –  Carl Jung


“Play is not a break from learning. It is endless, delightful, deep, engaging, practical learning. It’s the doorway into the child’s heart!” – Vince Gowmon


“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.” – Friedrich Froebel


Many people believe that online learning is about sitting in front of your monitor and listening to a boring class. Fortunately, this is certainly not the case. Online classes can be extremely interesting and, more importantly, extremely fun. And as a teacher, it is up to you what kind of things you want to do in your classroom. One of the best strategies to employ when it comes to making classes fun is introducing games.

Some teachers who deliver online classes may find it difficult to find suitable and fun games for their classes. Indeed, those games that they are used to relying on in their traditional classes may not always work in online settings, so that is why it is important to be aware of what kinds of games are available on the Internet. 

In this short article, we are going to talk about online classroom games and other fun activities that you can play with your students over the Internet. These games will not only make your lessons fun and exciting, but they will also educate your students and help you build a strong rapport with them. 

Fortunately, there is no shortage of online games and activities on the Internet, and you will certainly find something that suits the needs of your students. 


Quiz Games

These kinds of games are suitable for any online classroom. If you are instructing a few students, each student must have a pen and a sheet of paper to write their answers on. You will be glad to know that there are multiple types of quizzes that you can employ in your online classroom. But one of them I would recommend in particular – the “Top 5” quiz. 

Students are given a question and then they need to choose one correct answer from five answers. For example, they are shown a picture of an animal, or they are asked to “name an animal that starts with the letter M.” And below they are given five answers. When students already know their answer, they write it down on their piece of paper with big letters and then show their answers using the webcam. If you are using online platforms such as zoom it is even better. You can ask students to write their answers directly in the chat! Many students are super excited about typing their answers and they can even find a way of giving answers even more fun. 

So once everyone has shown their answers, the teacher can finally reveal the answers. If a student shows their answers and they are identical to the “top five” answers, then such a student gets points. Alternatively, if a student has one answer which is not in the top five, then they get no points. As my experience has shown, students are very fond of this game, and they love sharing their answers. 

There are also other types of quizzes that you may find more suitable. They include general quizzes, grammar quizzes and quizzes devoted to the knowledge of vocabulary. All of them can be adjusted to the needs of your learners and the topic of your class. 


Scavenger Hunt

This activity is particularly good if for some reason something has gone awry in your class, and you are not sure how to fill in the remaining classroom time. This activity is amazing especially if you are playing with kids. And what is especially great about this game is that it requires no preparation whatsoever. What you need to do is the following: first, think about an object that your students are highly likely to have in their rooms. Then, ask them to find this object in their room and bring it to you! Then students run off in search of these objects and once they have found this object they come back and show it to the class. 

If you are not sure what kind of thing or object you may ask your students to bring you can give them a task as simple as this – “find something red in your room!” Or “find something square in your room!” You will see that very often some things that students will bring will surprise many people and show completely unexpected things. Many students will find this activity exciting and extremely funny. 


Simon Says 

This is the classic classroom game that can be played in your online classroom. So, what you need to do is the following. Ask your students to get up from their chairs and stand back a little from their cameras. Then you need to say: “Simon says” and then you say, “an action.” For example, “Simon says touch your ears.” Or “Simon says touch your shoulder.”  Students should repeat the action only if the teacher said, “Simon said….” If the teacher has not said “Simon says” then students should not do the action. Those students who do the action, without their teaching saying “Simon says” first, are out. 


Guess Who? 

This game is extremely useful when you are trying to break the ice or warm up your class. All you need to do is the following: choose one student and tell that student to close their eyes or not to look at their webcam. Next, you need to choose one student and get them to say something. For example, “I am a funny clown. I am so funny everyone is laughing here.” Then, the students who have shut their eyes or looked away from their computers must guess which student has said that. This activity is amazing because students are easily engaged in the class. 


Describe and Draw

This activity will require some preparation. But do not worry – you and your students do not need a lot to do this activity. All they need is a pencil and a piece of paper to draw on. First, you need to think about what your students can draw. You can have this object around you – the most important thing is that you must not see it. Then, once your students are ready you need to start describing this object to your students. Students should carefully listen and draw the object the way they imagine it to be. 

When you are finished describing the object and your students are done with the drawing, you need to ask your students to show their drawings to you to other students. After that, you need to show the students the object that you had in mind and identify those students whose drawing resembles the object most. You can then ask another student to choose an object and then describe it to others. The children find it especially fun to look at one another’s pictures. 


True or False Game

This last classroom game is good both for online and face-to-face classrooms. It is also good as an icebreaker, and it helps you get to know your students. First, you need to produce a question that you would like to ask your students. The question can be something as simple as “Where did you go yesterday? Or what did you do last July?” Then you need to give your students further instructions – they can either say something true (that happened to them) or something false. Give them some time to think and produce their answers. Five minutes should be enough. Then, when your students are ready, each student must tell their story. Once each story is told, you need to ask students” “What do you think, is this or that story true or false?” Students will also need to explain why they think this or that story is true or false. 


In this article, I have discussed the most entertaining and exciting online games that any teacher can use in their classroom with minimal preparation and maximum enjoyment for students and themselves. Remember, games are an important and fun way to learn so do not underestimate their educational value! 





Russ Gadzhiev obtained his PhD in history and politics from University of Melbourne. He also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Moscow State University of International Relations, a top-ranking diplomatic school. Russ is a strong education professional with a history of working in the higher education sector of Australia and effectively communicates with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. He is enthusiastic about teaching and mentoring, writing, curriculum development, research, information management and public speaking. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish and Portuguese

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Chris is from Devon, in the south of England. He has been teaching English as a foreign language for over six years and has taught in China, the UK, Hungary and Spain. He has a background in Music and studied Composition at the RSAMD in Glasgow, Trinity Laban in London and at the University of York. After finishing his master’s at York, he travelled to China to teach and fell in love with it. He has been teaching ever since.

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