EFL - ESL activities and games for teaching plurals to beginners

A collection of ESL activities, games and resources for teaching plural nouns to beginners. This lesson plan includes a lead-in activity and several ideas for practical classroom activities and games designed for low-resource classrooms.

Lead-in activity

The board work below covers the different regular plural forms along with a few examples of some common nouns with irregular plural forms. It's colour-coded to highlight possible opportunities to elicit responses from the class and confirm student understanding. If you need to bring this board into the classroom for reference, the TEFL Handbook app gives you offline access everything on this site, plus a lot more.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity for teaching plurals | Beginner

ESL activities for teaching plurals

Classroom quantities

Students use the target language for the lesson to answer questions about specific items within the classroom. 

Ask the students about the number of specific objects in the classroom. How many chairs, students, teachers etc. Encourage them to answer in sentences and guide them on the correct usage of there's/are: 

Teacher: How many chairs are there in this classroom? 
Student: There are 16 chairs. 

The answer to your questions should be a mix of singular and plural.

Plural writing practice

For this writing activity, the students will use the target grammar to create sentences about the classroom. 

Before they begin, encourage your students to ask you about any vocabulary in the classroom that they don't know. Practise the correct pronunciation of these words as a group. 

When ready, have your pupils write six sentences about the classroom using there's/are (Three of each).

What am I thinking?

The students have to guess which item the teacher is thinking about. 

You will describe objects in the room (quantity, location, physical description) while the students try to guess what they are. Use the dialogue below as a guide: 

Teacher: There are three of these in the classroom. 
Student: Windows! 
Teacher: No. They are next to the door. 
Student: Books. 
Teacher: No. They are small and brown. 
Student: Boxes. 

Repeat for as many times as you feel necessary, but you might want to save some items for the next activity.

My turn

Now the students will take turns giving clues about items that they are thinking about. 

We take the basic idea of the previous exercise, but with the students taking turns to play the role of the teacher. While the students are interacting, you should monitor and correct mistakes. You can even turn this into a fun team or individual game.

ESL games for teaching plurals

Snowball darts: Plurals

Students have to convert nouns to their plural form to earn a throw of the snowball and a chance to win points for their team. 

Draw a circular target on the whiteboard with several concentric layers of different score values. Crush a blank piece of paper into a snowball shape. For each turn, give the student a noun that they must spell in its plural form. If they get it correct, they can throw a snowball at the board. Keep the scores on the board. You can play as an individual or team game. Use the list below to get you started. 

1. fish 
2. lunch 
3. bus 
4. dress 
5. box 
6. beach 
7. person 
8. glass 
9. woman 
10. fox 
11. woman 
12. man 
13. person

More ESL lesson plans for beginners

Our suggested next lesson is on giving instructions. Be sure to check out our full list of ESL lesson plans for beginners (A1 Upper), as well as our complete selection of EFL - ESL lesson plans. If you use an iOS or Android device, have a look at the TEFL Handbook app. An ESL lesson planner for English teachers. It has a lot more content and gives you faster access to our ESL resources, making it easier to use in class.

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