Kim’s Game is a classic memory game that can be used to review “there is” and “there is/are/was/were” while introducing useful vocabulary for common household objects.
You will need a tray, a tea towel, and about 15 different, common household objects (some in multiples). For example: a battery, a light bulb, some coins, two teaspoons, a lighter, a tea bag, a fork, an eraser, some rubber bands, a coaster, etc. Ensure that the collection of objects fits together on the tray and can be hidden under the tea towel.
Begin by introducing the verb “remember” and the noun “memory.” Ask the class if they think they have good memories, how many phone numbers they can remember, and so on. Tell them you’re going to test their memory with a fun game.
Bring out the tray with the objects covered by the tea towel. Have students gather around the tray, and explain that they will have 30 seconds to try and remember as many items as they can. After that, they must return to their desks and write down as many objects as they can remember. If they don’t know the English word for an object, they can write it in their native language or draw a picture.
Remove the tea towel for 30 seconds, then send students back to their desks and give them two minutes to write their lists.
Determine who has the best memory by seeing which students have remembered the most objects. It’s unlikely that any will remember all 15.
Tell the students there are 15 objects, and ask them to work with a neighbour to see if they can remember all the objects and how many they know the English word for.
Lastly, go around the class asking each student to name one object from the tray using “there is” or “there are.” Write the English word for each object on the board. Remove the objects from the tray as you go, putting everything back in your bag.
To use this activity as an introduction to the past simple tense, later in the class, ask students how many objects they can still remember. Elicit the past tense forms of “is” and “are,” and encourage students to reply using “there was” and “there were.”
Try the game again at the beginning of the next lesson to see if they can still remember all the objects and associated vocabulary.