ESL Game: Monkey in the Middle

ESL Game: Monkey in the Middle

Monkey in the Middle is a fun group activity for young learners which helps students to practice and review vocabulary of different categories. In this activity, students have to say words from a given category while trying the pass the ball without the students in the middle getting the ball.

Activity time:
10 minutes
Materials required: A small ball
Skills practiced: Vocabulary (relating to different categories)
Level: All level


1. Prepare a list of categories of vocabulary you want the students to review and practice.
2. Ask the students to form a large circle
3. Select a student who will be the monkey in the game, ask the monkey (the selected student) to stand in the middle of the circle
4. Give the other students a category from the list you have. Example: Food
5. The students then toss the ball among themselves making sure that the monkey does not get it.
6. The student tossing the ball must say a word that belongs to the selected category.
7. If the monkey catches the ball, the student who tossed the ball becomes the new monkey.
8. If any student cannot say a word that belongs to the category, they become the new monkey.
9. Ensure you change the category whenever there is a new monkey.
10. Enjoy and have fun.

Note: The list of vocabulary depends on the level your students.

More Vocabulary Games
Discover more ESL vocabulary games.

Vocabulary Fortunes – This online ESL Game is a great way to practice vocabulary with teens and adults. This activity is a great way to end class.

Vocabulary Circle – A simple warmer for all ages and level.

Quick Fire Vocabulary – This vocabulary revision game is a great way to revise vocabulary with all levels and ages.

ESL Game: Derp, Derp – This activity is a simple vocabulary revision activity.

Find more games and activities weekly on our YouTube Channel

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