On the Run

Both teachers and parents many times complain about the excessive energy levels of their students, children. A lot of pupils and students find it really difficult to stay calm and motionless throughout the whole lesson, and to be honest, there is no wonder that they start to fidget after sitting for an hour or even much earlier. It has to be admitted that unfortunately learning and studying have become static activities and the 45-minute lesson hardly ever incorporates activities that do not persuade the students to remain sitting by their desks, which makes life really hard and even boring for kinesthetic and tactile learners . Teachers are suspicious with activities that require the active, physical participation of the students, probably because of possible problems with managing discipline and controlling noise level. The following activities not only exploit students’ energies, but also encourage cooperation, motivate the students and provide opportunities for language practice.

Grab the Word and Run

Students work in groups of three or four, each group occupying one corner or part of the classroom. In the middle of the class, there are different words placed on a desk or a chair, each written on a piece of paper. Every group gets a particular category of words and must get those words that fit into the category, certain words fit into more categories, so the group that is the most skilful gets them. Each student can go to the desk and grab only one word. Then, another student takes over. The activity involves word distribution and can be used for both revising and introducing new vocabulary. The categories can be: negative adjectives to describe people, adjectives describing films, adjectives describing the weather (e.g. outstanding, miserable, frightening, realistic, average, depressing, depressed, excellent, boring, incredible, fascinating, glittering, marvellous, outstanding, mean, conceited, critical, etc.)

Wall Dictation

The class is divided into four groups. The teacher sticks four texts on coloured cards (different colour for each group) on the board at least 2-3 meters far from where the groups are sitting. The objective of the activity is for the groups to get the text from the card on the wall into their notebooks as fast as they can. One person from each group should go to their text, reads and remembers two or three words or even a sentence from the text, then goes back and dictates it to the rest of the group. Whenever the teacher says Change! the person who is dictating must immediately sit down and another member of the group takes over. While dictating, they can leave a gap in the text, which can be completed later. Once they have finished, they take their text off the wall, compare it to what they have written and correct any mistakes. After reading the whole text again, students are asked to identify the description and match it with the name of the dinosaur. As a helper, pictures of the four dinosaurs can also be put on the board, and then students are asked to match their texts with the dinosaur being described. It is important to have different texts for the groups so that they cannot listen in and copy. It is necessary to make sure that desks are moved aside and there is nothing to trip over and that students do not run widely. As a variation, more difficult texts can be used as well, depending on the age and language level of the group.


  1. This dinosaur has got a big body and is very long. It has got a very long neck and a very long tail. It has got a small head and small eyes. It has got small teeth. This dinosaur has got big legs and feet like an elephant. It eats plants. (Diplodocus)


  1. This dinosaur is very big and tall. It has got a big head and very long, sharp teeth. This dinosaur has got a short neck and a big body. It has also got a big tail. This dinosaur has got two long legs and two very short legs. It eats meat. It is very dangerous. (Tyrannosaurus Rex)


  1. This dinosaur has got a big body and a big head. It has got two long horns and one short horn. It has got small eyes and a big mouth. This dinosaur has got a frill on its neck. It has got four short legs and a tail. It is very strong. It eats plants. (Triceratops)


  1. This dinosaur has got a small head and small eyes. It has got a big body and a big tail. It has got lots of spikes on its back and its tail. This dinosaur has got four short fat legs and big feet. It can’t run very fast. It eats plants. (Stegosaurus)

Enormous Elephant

Students stand in a circle. The teacher gives them key words from the story, each accompanied with a gesture or movement. For example, when saying Magic, students make a movement with an imaginary magic wand, and when saying Monkey, students skip, one hand on their head and the other on their belly. When saying the word crazy, they make a circular movement with their index finger next to their head or ear. Other words are: crocodile (two arms held out to the front, then clapped), bored (deep sigh), idea (clicking fingers), New York (pretending to be the Statue of Liberty, one hand in the air, holding a book with the other), enormous (drawing a huge circle with their arms and hands), elephant (showing the trunk with arms), What’s the matter? (students draw a large question mark in the air), sleep (students put their head on their hands). In addition, every time the word walk is uttered, the whole circle starts walking in the same direction. The activity is most successful when told and not read.


This is the story of Enormous Elephant, Magic Monkey and Crazy Crocodile.

One day Enormous Elephant was bored, very, very bored. Then he had an idea.

‘I know,’ he said, ‘I’ll go to New York.’

So he started to walk, and he walked, and he walked, and he walked.

On the way he met Magic Monkey.

‘Hello, Magic Monkey,’ he said.

‘Hello,’ said Magic Monkey.

‘What’s the matter?’ said Enormous Elephant.

‘I’m bored,’ said Magic Monkey, ‘very, very bored.’

‘I’ve got an idea,’ said Enormous Elephant, ‘why don’t you come to New York with me?’

‘OK,’ said Magic Monkey.

So they started to walk, and they walked, and they walked, and they walked, and they walked. On the way they met Crazy Crocodile.

‘Hello, Crazy Crocodile,’ they said.

‘Hello,’ said Crazy Crocodile.

‘What’s the matter?’ said Enormous Elephant.

‘I’m bored,’ said Crazy Crocodile, ‘very, very bored.’

‘I’ve got an idea,’ said Enormous Elephant, ‘why don’t you come to New York with us?’

‘OK,’ said Crazy Crocodile.

So they started to walk, and they walked, and they walked, and walked, and walked.

And they walked, and they walked, and they walked.

And they walked, and they walked, and they walked.

‘Oh, I’m tired,’ said Enormous Elephant.

‘Oh, I’m tired,’ said Magic Monkey.

‘Oh, I’m tired,’ said Crazy Crocodile.

So they all went to sleep.




Read, Carol. 2007. 500 Activities for the Primary Classroom. Immediate Ideas and Solution. Macmillan Publishers Limited

McKay, Penny – Jenni Guse. 2007. Five-Minute Activities for Young Learners. Cambridge University Press

Lewis, Gordon – Bedson, Günther. 2004. Games for Children. Oxford University Press


PaedDr. Puskás Andrea, PhD.

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