EFL - ESL activities and games for 'there is' and 'there are'

A collection of ESL activities and games to teach the correct usage of there is and there are to beginners (A1). You can use this as a stand-alone lesson plan, or to supplement an existing one on a similar or related grammar topic.

Lead-in activity

The board work below shows one way that we could introduce the target language for this lesson. Start off by explaining the difference between the singular and plural constructions. If possible, clarify in L1. After that, draw the three images on the bottom half of the board and have your students make a 'there is/are' + noun + preposition sentence that describes each image.

If you use an Android device, don't forget that you can get offline access to these materials, along with a much more extensive selection of ESL lesson plans, through the TEFL Handbook app.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity for there is and there are | Beginner

ESL classroom activities

The correct response

Give your students a preposition of place and encourage them to respond with a sentence using there’s /are + noun + preposition. Use the example below as a guide:

Teacher: They are on the shelf.
Student: There are books on the shelf.

This old place

In this ESL writing activity, the students are going to help you to write a description of the classroom on the board. Elicit most of the vocabulary and language by pointing to the different objects:

There are fifteen students in the class.
There’s one teacher. There are three shelves on the wall.
There are lots of books on the shelves.
There’s a box of books next to the door.

My room

As a follow-on activity from the previous exercise, the students will now switch gears and write a similar description of their bedroom.

ESL games for there is/are

As always, we only include ideas that require the bare minimum of resources (whiteboard, markers, dice(dice app).

ESL Pictionary

We can modify Pictionary to have fun with this topic. Divide the class into two teams. On each turn, give the student in play a there is/are style sentence. That student must then represent it on the board using only images. Their teammates get a point when they guess it correctly. Depending on what you want to revise, you could include prepositions or possessive adjectives. Below are some ideas to get you started:

1. There are (two) children behind a tree.
2. There's a cat under the chair.
3. There's a dog driving a car.
4. There are bananas on the table.
5. There's a fireman on the beach.
6. There's a basketball on his head.

With weaker groups, you should guide the students toward the sentence you want them to say by asking appropriate questions.

More ESL lesson plans for beginners

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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