Tell me if this sounds familiar.
My friend just couldn’t get anywhere with English class. He’s a French speaker from Canada and was studying English as a second language in school. It seemed no matter how many times he reviewed his notes and did his homework, he wasn’t able to improve.
Eventually, he stopped spending so much time studying English and just started playing online English games instead.
Many English learners have had this experience. Maybe you have, too.
The good news is that playing ESL games turned out to be the best choice my friend could’ve made for his language skills.
As he played, he’d spend hours using English to talk to his teammates and opponents in the game. And you know what? He started learning how to hold English conversations with people!
After a short while, he was using English confidently and more naturally.
This is because one of the best ways for you to learn English is to turn your hobbies into language-learning experiences. It makes English practice fun, exciting and valuable to you. It helps you to memorize vocabulary wordsand practice speaking and writing in English in a way that’s both fun and educational.
In this post, we’ll get you started with ten excellent, interactive online games to practice English.
We’ll start with some that were developed especially for language learners. Then we’ll show you how to practice English just like my friend did, with multiplayer English games that native speakers play.
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)
Game On! The 10 Best Online Games to Practice English
Educational Online Games to Practice English
Educational English games can be hit or miss (either great or terrible). In other words, they’re either really fun to play, or they’re extremely boring.
That’s why we’ve picked out the best ESL games for you. The games below were created specifically to help English language learners improve their skills. Not only does this give you focused language practice, but it also ensures you’re practicing at the right level for your skills.
The Grammar of Doom from GameZone
The Grammar of Doom is an adventure-style game where you explore secrets hidden within an old, magical temple. To get an idea of the game, imagine if Indiana Jones taught your English class.
There are a total of 10 rooms in the temple, and each room has its own series of puzzles that you have to solve using English. In order to move to the next room and eventually beat the game, you have to use your grammar and vocabulary skills to create English sentences and solve these puzzles.
If you like action-packed ESL games that have you working against the clock, Wordshake is right for you.
This game gives you 16 random letters of the alphabet and three minutes. During that time, you have to come up with as many English words as you can using the letters you have, and every time you make a new word, you get a point.
The letters don’t have to touch each other or be in a particular pattern like they do in crossword puzzles, and you’re able to select letters in any order.
Since there aren’t any complicated rules with Wordshake, it’s a good vocabulary-building game for beginners and advanced students alike.
FluentU transforms authentic, entertaining English videos into fun online games to practice English. You’ll get to watch movie trailers, music videos, inspiring talks and more, with interactive elements to keep your language skills sharp.
The videos are organized by genre and learning level, so you can easily find one that works for you. As you watch, you can click the subtitles for an instant definition and native pronunciation of any word. Once you’re finished and you feel like you’ve understood the video, FluentU turns it into a game.
You’ll get flashcards and exercises with fun visuals for each video that test you on what you’ve just watched. You’ll get points for each question you answer correctly and you’ll earn coins for every day in a row that you practice on FluentU.
To personalize the experience, FluentU will also suggest new videos based on what you’ve already watched. It’s a great way to practice English while hearing how native speakers really use the language—without even feeling like you’re studying!
Beat the Keeper
Beat the Keeper is a quiz-style online game to practice English where you have 90 seconds to answer as many sports-related questions as you can. The theme of this game is soccer, and every time you answer a question, your character takes a shot at the goal. If you answer the question correctly, you make the goal. If you’re wrong, the goalkeeper blocks your shot.
Great for building sports vocabulary, Beat the Keeper is a fun and unique approach to learning English. And since it has an easy, medium and difficult setting, it’s also suitable for language learners of all levels.
ESL Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles are great for people who like a challenge, and for English language learners, they’re a good way to test your reading comprehension and vocabulary skills.
However, the crossword puzzles that you find in the Sunday newspaper are often too hard for English learners to complete. (Many of them are even too difficult for native English speakers who aren’t good at trivia, or general knowledge questions.)
Fortunately, with ESL Crossword Puzzles, you can challenge yourself with word problems that were created especially for English language learners.
The website is comprehensive and has a variety of crossword puzzles and difficulties to choose from, making it great for students of all skill levels. Just choose your level from the menu at the top of the ESL Crossword Puzzles homepage linked above.
What’s especially helpful is that you’re also able to choose from various themes, including:
- Common words in English (easy)
- Medical vocabulary (intermediate)
- English words from other languages (advanced)
Freerice is another quiz-style game that helps you improve your vocabulary skills. Instead of answering word problems, you’re given a vocabulary word and then have to find its closest synonym out of four different words.
The game starts out easy, but with 60 levels in total, it gets much harder as you go along.
What really makes Freerice different than other online games to practice English is that the company will donate 10 grains of rice to hungry families for every question that you answer right. So the more you play, the more you’re helping those in need.
Authentic English Games for Language Practice
Along with the educational English games we just covered, you can also use authentic games that native English speakers play.
And since many of these games have multiplayer options with text and voice chat, having English conversations with your friends is easier than ever.
We’ll start off with a popular language-focused board game, then three exciting video games that English speakers love.
Scrabble might not be a game designed specifically for learning English, but it’s a great way to test your vocabulary knowledge with friends. Originally designed as a board game, you can now play Scrabble online with friends or against the computer.
The rules to Scrabble are simple. You grab seven letter squares and use them to make words. All tiles touching one another have to make a real English word, and you have to build words off of other words that’ve already been laid down. Every square has a letter and number written on it that represents the points that you get for using that letter.
As you play online, you can chat with the other players. Just type messages in the chat space to the right of the Scrabble board.
And remember, Scrabble can get very challenging towards the end, even for native English speakers. So don’t become frustrated if you struggle to make a word and have to pass on a turn. It happens to all of us!