53 Fun tongue twisters to use in your English classes

By Allan Sweeney

By Allan Sweeney

By Allan Sweeney

Get ready to twist your students' tongues and boost their English pronunciation skills with these entertaining and educational linguistic puzzles!

53 Tongue twisters for the ESL classroom.

Tongue twisters are fun phrases that are designed to be difficult to articulate, often featuring alliteration, rhyme, or a combination of challenging sounds.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of using tongue twisters in the ESL classroom, provide you with a variety of examples suited for children, and offer tips on how to incorporate them effectively into your lesson plans.

How to use tongue twisters in your ESL classroom

Warm-up activities

Start your class with a tongue twister to get your students' minds focused and ready for the lesson. This light-hearted activity can energise the classroom and get students to speak from the get-go.

Speaking activities

Tongue twisters are a great way to spin up a low-resource speaking activity related to whatever theme you are teaching. Check out the detailed instructions in our blog article, ESL activities that will get kids speaking.

Listening practice

As students recite tongue twisters, have their peers listen carefully and evaluate their classmates' pronunciation. This not only helps to reinforce accurate pronunciation but also develops students' listening skills. Additionally, encourage students to provide constructive feedback to each other.

Group activities and games

Divide your class into small groups and assign each group a tongue twister to practise. After some time, have each student perform their tongue twister in front of their classmates. You can even turn this into a friendly competition by seeing which students can recite their tongue twisters the fastest.

53 tongue twisters for kids learning English

We have organised the tongue twisters into sections to make it quicker to find what you are looking for.


  1. Short and simple tongue twisters
  2. Challenging tongue twisters
  3. Phonetic focus tongue twisters
  4. Funny tongue twisters

1. Short and simple tongue twisters


  1. She sells seashells by the seashore.
  2. How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
  3. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
  4. Twelve twins twirled twelve twigs.
  5. A happy hippo hopped and hiccupped.
  6. I saw Susie sitting in a shoeshine shop.
  7. Eleven benevolent elephants.
  8. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
  9. Six slippery snails slid slowly seaward.
  10. How can a clam cram in a clean cream can?
  11. Four fine fresh fish for you.
  12. Which witch wished which wicked wish?
  13. A snake sneaks to seek a snack.
  14. Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.
  15. A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot.
  16. Two tiny tigers take two taxis to town.
  17. An ape hates grape cakes.
  18. Five fat frogs flying on fast flipping flies.
  19. Nine nimble noblemen nibbling nuts.
  20. Six sleek swans swam swiftly southwards.
  21. A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose.
  22. Four furious friends fought for the phone.

2. More challenging tongue twisters


  1. I like New York, unique New York, I like unique New York.
  2. Fred fed Ted bread and Ted fed Fred bread.
  3. Seven slippery seals silently slid down the slippery seaweed.
  4. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
  5. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?
  6. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
  7. Three thin thinkers thinking thick thoughtful thoughts.
  8. Three grey geese in the green grass grazing. Gray were the geese and green was the grass.
  9. Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said, "This butter's bitter. If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter."
  10. Whether the weather is warm, whether the weather is hot, we have to put up with the weather, whether we like it or not.
  11. Many mumbling mice are making midnight music in the moonlight, mighty nice.
  12. I can think of six thin things, but I can think of six thick things too.

3. Phonetic focus tongue twisters


  1. Scissors sizzle, thistles sizzle.
  2. Red lorry, yellow lorry.(x5)
  3. Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?
  4. A tricky frisky snake with sixty super scaly stripes.
  5. Six thick thistle sticks.
  6. Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.
  7. The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
  8. If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose?
  9. Eleven owls licked eleven, little, liquorice lollipops.
  10. Silly Sally swiftly shooed seven silly sheep. The seven silly sheep Silly Sally shooed shilly-shallied south.
  11. The bottom of the butter bucket is the buttered bucket bottom.

4. Funny tongue twisters


  1. One smart fellow, he felt smart, two smart fellows, they felt smart, three smart fellows, they all felt smart.
  2. I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.
  3. Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
  4. A flea and a fly flew up in a flue. Said the flea, "Let us fly!" Said the fly, "Let us flee!" So they flew through a flaw in the flue.
  5. Birdie birdie in the sky laid a turdie in my eye. If cows could fly I'd have a cow pie in my eye.
  6. If two witches were watching two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
  7. Mr. See owned a saw, and Mr. Soar owned a seesaw. Now See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw before Soar saw See.
  8. One-One was a racehorse; Two-Two was one, too. When One-One won one race, Two-Two won one, too.

Wrap up

Introducing tongue twisters to your younger students can create more fun and engaging lessons that address their specific needs and interests.

Remember to start with the simpler tongue twisters and gradually progress to more complex ones. Always encourage repetition and practice to build familiarity with challenging sounds and phrases.

We hope you've found this collection of tongue twisters useful for your ESL lessons, and we'd love to hear about your own favourites! Share them with us in the comments section below.

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Allan Sweeney

Allan is the Co-Founder & Lead Developer on the TEFL Handbook project. He spends his time building software and creating resources that support English teaching. You can learn more about his goals for the project here.


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