Recycling Vocabulary : The Handkerchief Game

This activity is a fun way of recycling vocabulary with younger learners. You can use it to practise numbers, the alphabet, or any lexical field (colours, clothes, animals, toys, school objects, months, food, actions etc ) you like. It needs space, so you may want to move into the gym or the playground rather than use the classroom.

The children are divided into two equal teams. Each child has a flashcard showing a number, letter of the alphabet, animal or whatever it is you want to practise. The children stand in two parallel lines facing each other and about ten metres apart. Each child has the same flashcard as the child opposite (if you number them on the back it's easier to get the order right). The teacher stands in the middle of the two rows and holds up a handkerchief or small scarf. At random s/he calls one of the words on the cards in the foreign language (A horse! Thirteen! She's running! or whatever). The two children with the same card have to race to the centre and try and grab hold of the handkerchief. Whoever gets it scores a point for their team. With a large class, use four teams and have them stand around four sides of a square. Or if you have unequal numbers, let one student hold the handkerchief and call out the words (you can cue these by showing the child a flashcard).