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Game: Fruit Basket

The fruit basket is a fun active game for learning new vocab with involves plenty of moment. It's great for students of any age or level, and even better for those students who can't stay still for long.

If you're working in Japan, all you have to do is say the word "furuba" and the students will already know what to do. For everyone else, here is a useful guide on how to play this great game.

Materials: Chairs and small cards with pictures on them.
Age: 4+

Class size: 8+

You begin the game by getting the students to put their chairs in a circle like this. 

Assign the children different fruits such as banana, apple, orange, cherry, but make sure that there are at least three students with the same fruit. It can be a little hard for small children to remember what fruit they are in English, so it's best to hand out small cards with pictures of the fruit to help them remember. I usually pull all my clipart from this website http://j.gs/5TjU

You can just copy and paste the images into a word document, photocopy it, and then cut the cards and distribute them among your students.

Demonstrate the game to your students by standing in the middle and calling out a fruit such as "apple." All the students with the apple card must stand up and switch chairs. The student who fails to get a chair, then goes into the middle, calls out a fruit, and the game repeats itself.  You may have to fake that you are really slow a few times until the students understand the game and feel confident being in the middle.

Here's a great video here of some high school students playing the game, so it shows that you can play this game with almost any age group.

You can also call out two fruits at once, such as "apples and oranges." If the student in the middle calls out "fruit basket" all students must stand up and switch their chairs. Many students may just move to the next chair, so you can make a rule saying that they should move at least one two chairs away.

In most versions of the game if you end up in the center three times, you are eaten by a monster (A.K.A the teacher) or forced to sing an English song they have learnt. I also played this game with a teacher who made her first grade students write their name in the air using their bum which was also super cute.

It’s probably best to play this game with children who are all about the same age. I once played this game with a bunch of kindergarten children aged 3-6 at a party, and the older children quickly changed chairs and left the same three year old in the middle. I had to hold his hand and help him find a chair.


The great thing about this game is that you can play it with any vocab word such as foods, animals or shopping. I recently created my own Career Basket where the children had cards with pictures of different occupations.  The children in the circle asked “What do you want to be?” and the child in the middle replied “I want to be doctor/ scientist/ nurse/ fisherman/ singer


Because these children will be running around the circle changing chair quite quickly, safety is defiantly something that you need to be aware of. It’s quite easy for small children to trip over the chairs and run into each other.  It’s probably best to space the chairs far apart, and talk to the children about taking care not to run into each other.

You can also check out the Kid's ESL free eBook for introducing fruit here.


Other Great Games from Kids ESL

Teach "Do you have a....?" With this great secret card game.

Check out this super popular Japanese card slap game.

Gain control of your class with this great guide to classroom management.

Check out these great ebooks to help teach ESL

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