A selection of ESL games using numbers, times and dates aimed at adult learners.
You can find online numbers, times and dates exercises and activities at our online-focused site LearnHip.com.
Phone Number Collection
To practise the numbers one to ten, have students invent a 10 digit long telephone number and then mingle and collect numbers from their fellow students.
Number bingo is a fun game to help beginner English learners recognise numbers. For some reason my adult learners always really enjoy this game, I think it helps to relieve the pressure of being a beginner and makes them realise that learning English can be fun too.
Give each student a bingo card. If there aren’t enough for every student, you can use multiple copies of each card.
Explain that you are going to read out a number between 1 and 30 and that students should check whether the number is on their card. If it is, they should circle it. Explain that you will continue calling out numbers randomly until a student has crossed off all the numbers on their card. The student must then either jump up, stand up, or put their hand up and shout Bingo!
So far, so easy, and your students are probably feeling fairly confident about the exercise, so introduce the concepts of plus and minus. Explain what plus and minus mean by doing a few simple sums on the board.
Now start the game by reading randomly chosen sums from the bingo master card. Make sure to make a mark next to each sum, so you don’t repeat yourself. Repeat each sum to give the students plenty of time to do the calculation and check their card.
Go through the master card until the first student shouts bingo! Stop the game and check the winning student’s card, rather than end the game, continue to read out the sums out until every student has finished or there are no numbers left.
Repeat the game once or twice, with one of the students (maybe the previous winner?) playing the role of the bingo caller.
This number quiz gives students a chance to use numbers other than their age and the date which is all that is usually required of them. The answers to these questions range from very small to very large numbers.
Divide the class into teams and ask the question, the team with the closest answer gets the point. Make sure you start with a different team each round because the first team to answer has a disadvantage.
If there are only two teams then you can play over and under. The first team gives an answer and the second team must simply decide whether the answer is over or under the other team’s answer.
Q How far away is the sun?
A 149.6 million km
Q What is the population of Canada?
A 35.15 million (2013)
Q How many kilometres in a mile?
Q How many holes in a standard round of golf?
Q How high is the Eiffel Tower?
A 300 meters
Q What is the square root of 144
Q What is nine squared?
Q How many astronauts have walked on the moon?
Q How long is the great wall of China?
A 21,196 km
Q What is the maximum number of passengers an Airbus A380 can carry?
Q What is the speed of sound?
A 340.39 meters a second, 1,236 km an hour
Q What is the value of Pi? (whoever gets the most digits right wins)
Q How many states in the USA?
Telling time worksheets
Here are some worksheets with which you can practise different aspects of telling the time.
I usually explain telling the time by drawing a big clock face on the board and then dividing it down the middle. On the left side, I write to and on the right side past. Then I add o’clock at the top, half past at the bottom and quarter to and quarter past on each side.
I then build up some example by writing the digital time on the board and try to elicit the clock time equivalent. For example:
7:00 – seven o’clock
3:25 – twenty five past three
Basic time telling
With this worksheet, students can practise the basics of telling the time. Give a worksheet to pairs of students. Students take it in turns to ask the time and then draw it onto their blank clock face. When they’ve finished they should compare sheets to check their drawings.
A good way to follow up this activity is to have students talk and ask each other about their daily routines. For example, What time do you get up? What time do you leave work?
This worksheet helps more advanced students tell the time in a more nuanced way. First, look at the examples given and see if you can brainstorm any other ways to tell the time given. Then have pairs of students come up with ideas for the blank clock faces.
As a pairwork activity, one student could give a time in digital form, e.g. it’s 5:27 and their partner could give the time in a more informal way e.g. it’s just coming up to half past five.
This is a train timetable with missing information. Give each pair of students their half of a copy of the timetable. Students must ask what time is the train to …? in order to complete their copy of the timetable.
Telling time worksheets
Birth Year Quiz
This birth year quiz gives students practise in stating different years. Put students into pairs and give each pair a copy of quiz sheet A or B. Students take it in turns to read the name of a well-known personality and their three possible birth years. Their partner must guess which year is correct.
Get the class to make a list of all of the students’ names. Then have them mingle and find out when each of their birthdays is. Here’s a simple template you could use.