Memory games

Memory games are useful in the EFL classrooms – they use different skills to make sure kids really retain the vocabulary you’re teaching. They are reading the words, they are remembering words from a picture, they are saying the words, and they are listening to their teammates speak. These games also help to make large classes more student-centred and manageable – the kids are in small groups without constant supervision, but I find they get so engaged in the game, they forget to misbehave…

Here are the instructions, if you don’t already know how to play the game:

  1. Draw/make/print out one set of cards for each group of 3 – 6 students. Stick the cards onto coloured paper (a different colour for each set, to make it easier to store), laminate, and cut out.
  2. Give each group one set of cards. The students shuffle the cards and arrange them on the desk face down. Student A turns over two cards, and says the words out loud. If they match, she gets to keep them. If they don’t, she turns them back over in the same position, and it’s Student B’s turn. At the end of each round, students tally up their cards, and record the winner (or not, if you have a non-competitive class.) Make sure that students are saying the words aloud. This is also a good opportunity to practise general English like “It’s your/my turn” and “Well done!”
  3. I usually give students about 15 minutes to play; this is generally about 5 rounds. At the end, I ask each group which student won the most rounds, and award them a sticker.

Here are some sets that I use:

Memory game for colours vocabulary

Colours – stars

Memory game: colours

Memory game: colours

Memory game

Memory game: animals

Memory game - numbers

Matching numerals to written numbers


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