Present Simple Activities


This is a card game which can be used to practise the present simple forms of the verb to be. See this post for full instructions and printable snap cards.

What do you never do? – practising adverbs of frequency

Draw something like the following diagram on the board using whichever adverbs of frequency and situations are suitable.

adverbs of frequency

Use the table to ask some students a random question and then have students ask other class members questions. Finally, in pairs or small groups have students ask each other further questions. Encourage them to go off script if they want to.

Find someone who

I almost always use this classic ESL mingling activity when students first begin to grapple with asking present simple questions.

Students are given a list of criteria and must find a fellow classmate who meets each one. It’s a really good way to break the ice with a new class and get students interacting one on one.

See this post for printable find someone who sheets and further instructions and suggestions.

Dream job

Ask students to think about a job they would love to do now or wanted to do when they were younger. Have them write down four or five present simple statements describing what they do in this job.

Either in pairs or as a class, get the other student(s) to ask closed questions in order to try and guess each other’s dream job. Model this activity using your own dream job as an example and write on the board examples of good and helpful questions.

Third-person interviews

This is a fun and effective activity which I often use when introducing the third person form of the present simple. Students interview their partner and then rotate around the class asking for and giving out information about their original partner. See this post for full details and printable interview sheets.

What’s the movie? – how to talk about a story

This enjoyable activity introduces movie and storytelling vocabulary while practising use of the present simple for talking about film and book plots.

To start, think of a popular film and write some present simple sentences describing the plot and setting., For example:

It’s set on a big ship
It stars Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett
Kate Winslett plays a bored, rich American girl
It takes place in the early 1900s
It’s about a rich girl and a poor boy who fall in love
Unfortunately, the ship sinks and the boy dies
In the final scene, the girl, who is now an old lady, revisits the scene of the tragedy

Students try to guess the film and then in pairs or alone write some similar sentences to describe their own choice of movie. The class then tries to guess each other’s choices. Alternatively, this makes a good homework activity.

Present simple board game

Here’s a board game which practises the present simple in different situations. There are games available for other tenses too on the board games page.

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