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

This speaking activity gets students using plurals with the correct form of the verb to be. Ask students about the quantities of things 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.

Plural writing practice

This ESL writing activity will give students an excellent opportunity to practice the target language. Students will write six sentences about the classroom using there’s or there are (Three of each). Encourage them to ask you about any words they don’t know and practice the correct pronunciation.

Guess the object

In this fun guessing ESL - EFL activity, you'll describe objects in the class (quantity, location, physical description) while the students try to guess what they are:

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.

The students' turn

For this activity, 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

Modify the snowball darts game to revise spelling plurals. 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 that can be thrown at the target. On 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. This can be played as an individual or team game. You can 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

Additional ESL resources

Here is a collection of recommended ESL materials from around the web to help boost your lesson planning options:

The Billionaire Noun Plurals Game on eslgamesworld is a classic take on the popular game show and works well with multiple language levels. We highly recommend trying this out if you have a suitably equipped classroom.

islcollective have a fantastic selection of free ESL worksheets that can be used to teach plural nouns at a range of different ability levels. Select the one that best suits your ESL class level.

Why not add video? We recommend this video from Nessy. It gives a good overview of the language covered in this lesson.

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 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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