8 fun warm-up activities for online English lessons - Preply (2023)

The beginning of your online English as a Second Language (ESL) class is the best time to set the tone. Research shows thateffective warm-up activitiesHelp students perform better during the lesson and support students' engagement and motivation to learn. They can also provide an opportunity for studentsbe creative and solve problems from the beginning of the lesson.

While there are many great warm-up ideas that work well in the physical classroom, not all of them translate well to online classes.

So what are some5 minute warm up activities for your online class?

In this guide, you'll find a variety of fun, low-prep warm-up activities for kids, teens, and adults alike.

5 minute online warm up games for kids

Younger students may find the transition to English more difficult than older students. That is why it is very important to start your online lessons with fun.

So here are some lowdown preparations.Warm-up ideas for childrenThis will help you:

guess the sound

This is a fun online warm upfor young learners with limited vocabulary.Students must guess what makes noise. With a little adjustment, it can work equally well in individual and group classes.

In group lessons, the first child to guess the answer correctly earns a point. In one-on-one lessons, the child has to guess as many sounds as possible in one minute.

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How to prepare:

Using YouTube, Spotify, or another streaming media service, queue up a series of sounds that your students should be familiar with and know the English names for (eg, car horn, cow, plane, etc.).

As a tip, search for "____ sound effect" and you'll find what you're looking for very quickly.

How to play:

  • Tell the students that they will hear a noise. Plays the audio tracks individually. Ask your students to raise their hand if they think they know what it is about. Play the track again if everyone isn't sure.
  • Choose the student who raised his hand first and ask him to guess the sound in English. If they are correct, they earn a point. If they are wrong, choose the next fastest student.
  • At the end the points are added up and the student with the most points wins.

An optional activity

After each sound, show a picture of what the sound is doing. Very young children may want to represent the animal or object in the picture. It's a bit silly and helps burn off some energy at the beginning of the lesson.

8 fun warm-up activities for online English lessons - Preply (1)

kim's game

Every English teacher knows that young students love it.memory games. Beyond the fun, memory games can bring real benefits to children. For example, these games show theImportance of focus and attention to detail.and help practiceShort-term memory retrieval.But some games translate better to online instruction than others.

Kim's game is a good example of an online ESL heater. Played by Scouts and Guides, it is a fun memory game.

How to prepare

  • Just select a selection of items to use in the game. Ideally, students should know the names of objects in English.
  • These objects can be toys, shapes, or household items. Really, you are only limited by what you have available.

game guide

  • Place the objects on a table in front of you, in full view of the camera and your students.
  • Give your students a moment to look at the options and ask questions (for example, if they don't know the name of one of the objects).
  • Turn off your camera and remove one or two of the objects.
  • Turn your camera back on. Can your students identify which objects you removed?
  • Students receive points for each correct answer.

Kim's game works just as well in groups as one on one. She can also use it to review vocabulary groups like foods or shapes and introduce new topics.

find the difference

This fun twist on Kim's game only takes 5 minutes and requires no preparation. It requires her students to focus and use their powers of observation.

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  • Start your online lessons by saying hello and asking about your student's day.
  • During the chat, ask your students to pay close attention to their screen. You must pay attention to what you are carrying and what is behind you.
  • Turn your cameras off for thirty seconds. Change something about yourself or your attitude during this time. You could change your sweater, close the curtains, move a plant, put on a necklace, or whatever!
  • Turn the camera back on and challenge your students to find the difference!
  • If the students enjoy the game, they can take turns doing it.

If you found this article helpful, you might also want to learn more about it.Teach English to children online.

refocus with a song

Music has a powerful effect on children's brains.Studies have foundthat nursery rhymes and songs promote language development in infants and toddlers.

When it comes to children learning a second language, songs can expose them to new words. The songs also demonstrate good pronunciation and intonation, which helps students to remember vocabulary.

You can useSongs as warm-up exercises.or to disrupt classes and get a class back on track. Here are some popular options for young learner classes:

Pro tip:If you can, take the time to create small accessories or use toys to follow the letter. For example, if you have little plastic farm animals, Old MacDonald can really come to life!

Fun ESL warm-up activities for adults and teens

Good warm up activities are really important to get students in the zone. These ESL warm-up activities for adults and teens take five minutes (or less!) and are sure to be a hit with your students.

guess who or what

This quick heater is suitable for both teenagers and adults.B1 level in Englishor higher. It can be easily adapted for group classes or individual classes. The goal is to guess who did what activity during the week.

group lessons

  • Use the private chat feature to have each student in the class send you a sentence explaining something interesting they did during the week.
  • Then paste the responses one by one into the chat box (without the names of the students who sent them),so that all students can read them.
  • Now the students have to play detective and guess who did what.
  • You can only ask questions that require a yes/no answer.
  • Correct guesses earn one point, wrong answers lose one point!
  • The winner is the student with the most points.

Individual classes or groups of two

  • In one-on-one or two-person classes, have students write three sentences each; one thing they did and two things they didn't do. You as a teacher must also participate.
  • Take turns trying to guess the correct answers.
  • As stated above, they are only allowed to ask questions that require a yes or no answer.
  • Correct guesses earn one point, wrong answers lose one point!

a quick test

Game-based warm-ups are a great way to engage students and keep them alert, energized, and ready to learn. In fact, the use of games in the classroom canImprove student learning by up to 23%, mar UNICEF.

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A Quickfire quiz is a great way to review vocabulary or language concepts from the last lesson, or even find out how much your student knows about the next topic.

There are many ways to create a Quickfire quiz to start your lessons, and Kahoot and Quizlet are two of the most popular:

8 fun warm-up activities for online English lessons - Preply (2)

Embark on a voyage of discovery

GeoGuessris a fun free online game for students to explore the world. Use the Street View function of Google Maps and locate the viewer anywhere in the world. The goal is to look around and find out where you are. The closer your guess is to the correct spot, the more points you'll earn.

It's a fun way to introduce many different linguistic concepts and topics, e.g. B directions,Modal verbsof speculation and descriptive language of cities and towns.

In addition, it will improve your students' critical thinking and problem solving skills, tools that will surely help them in their learning of English!

Although no preparation is required, please note that this game requires the player to pre-register.

game guide

  • Students have to work fast to solve the problem and click where they are on the map.
  • The closer they get, the more points they get.

word leader

This brain teaser is a stimulating way to start class and requires very little preparation.

(Video) Preply lesson using zoom

game guide

  • Give your student two words: the start word and the target word. Both must have the same number of letters. (for example, alive and pastel).
  • They then have to change the word letter by letter until they reach the target word.
  • The capture? Every time they change a letter, it still has to be a valid English word. Here's an example:


You'll improve your students' problem solving skills and get them into the learning zone!

See more online teaching tips in our articlehow to prepare and teach online classes.

8 fun warm-up activities for online English lessons - Preply (3)

last words

If youteach online, it can be hard to read the room and gauge your student's energy or guess the nature of the day they were having. But a good warm-up activity can provide a reset button for both of you.

With the help of these different warm-up activities for ESL classes, your class will be off to a good start, whether your student is seven or seventy.

Once your student is "in the zone," relaxed, alert, and focused, they are much more ready to learn and progress faster.

If you are interestedteach english onlineFor young learners, teens, or adults, check out our selection of online English tutoring jobs on Preply.

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