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Free EFL/ESL Lesson Plan: Teach English Numbers Using Games


At a TEFL conference several years ago, I read several studies showing teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) to students of any age is even more effective if done through games. Since then, I’ve incorporated games into most of my classes and seen a big difference in my students’ attention in class and retention of the material. This free EFL/ESL lesson plan uses games to teach children basic English numbers and, every time I’ve used it, has been extremely successful.

Lesson Plan Expected Learning Outcome – EFL/ESL students will be able to remember basic English numbers – from 1 to 100.

Materials and Resources – Whiteboard markers, whiteboard, (blackboard and chalk), English numbers handout

Teaching Procedures

Step One:

Spend the first couple of minutes of class asking your students to tell you any English numbers they know. You’ll find most of them will know number from 1-10 but, after that, most either don’t know them or can’t remember them. Any numbers they can remember, write them on the whiteboard (5 minutes)

Step Two: Tape onto the wall of the classroom near the front blackboard or whiteboard large pieces of card that have every number from 1 to 100 on them with the English spelling of the words by the side of the numbers. Go through every number, having the students repeat the words after you. Then spend five minutes choosing individual students, pointing to numbers on the charts and having the student say the number in English. (10 minutes)

Step Three (Games): – Now, let the games begin.

Game One – Split your class into teams. Either two teams with small classes, or three or four or more with larger classes and tell them they are going to play an English numbers game. Line each team up so each student is standing behind the previous student facing the whiteboard. Explain that, when the game begins, you will draw a number with your finger on the back of the last student. You will do this on the back of the list student in every team.

Then, when you shout “Go”, the last student has to draw the number on the back of the student in front, who draws the number on the back of the student in front and on and on until it reaches the first student in line. The first student must then run to the board and write in words the English number. The first team to finish and get the number correct wins a point. The first student then moves to the back and it all starts over again.

After a certain time limit, the winning team is the one with the most points. I usually stick to numbers between 1-10 for this game for very young students and use the higher numbers for older students or those who’s English skills are a little higher (15 minutes).

Game Two – Get your students seated again. The second game is an individual basic English numbers game so there’s no need to keep them in their teams.

Start off the game by explaining every number that has a 3 in it (3, 13, 23, 30, 31,32, 33 etc) has the sound “beep” and every number with a 5 in it (5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 50,51, 52 etc) has the sound “bong”. Numbers with both numbers in them (35 and 53) have both sounds, so 35 would be “beep bong” and 53 would be “bong beep”.

Starting with yourself, you say the number “1”. Point to the first student and he/she says “2”, the next student must say “beep” as the number is ‘3″, the next student says “4” and the next “bong”. Keep going around the class with each student having to say a number in English or a “beep” or a “bong”. If they get the number wrong or miss the “beep” or the “bong”, the student is out of the game. The winning student is the last one left (or winning group of students, if time runs out).

The kids love this game as it’s fast-paced and a bit silly and they get confused with the numbers very fast. It’s a wonderful way to get the English words to stick in their brains though. (10-15 minutes)

Step Four: The final step is to give each of your students a handout with the English numbers from 1 to 100 written in figures and words. Assign them the homework to learn all of the numbers, telling them there will be more games to play in the following class but they’ll need to know the numbers to be able to play (I then play games like “Bingo” and numbers memory games in future classes).


1. Students understanding of the basic English numbers vocabulary in the song lyrics, 2. Ability to be able to participate in the games, 3. Ability to remember the numbers after just a short time.