Students Engagement

Increase Students Engagement With These 7 Fun-Filled ESL Filler Activities During Online Classes


While you’re teaching students as an ESL teacher online you may find plenty of expected and unexpected extra time. Time is very precious and as an ESL teacher, it’s your responsibility to preach it and to teach students as well. You can utilize those free time during online classes by using different ESL filler activities, which will make learning more fun and engaging. In the below image there are some examples of fun activities are there which will make learning more fun and engaging.

However, in this blog post as well, we will get to know when you can use ESL filler activities in situations such as during finishing a lesson early, addressing technical issues, or keeping students interested and focused.

Let’s get to know some of the fun-filling and exciting ESL filler activities suitable for teaching English online.

Why ESL Filler Activities Are Handy?

ESL filler activities are essential for every online English teacher. They not only keep the tone of the class light and fun but also provide valuable learning opportunities for your students. These activities can boost class energy, serve as ice breakers, fill in time gaps, act as warm-up exercises, help introduce new students, and allow you to cover other classes seamlessly. By having a collection of ESL filler activities ready, you can make the most of any spare moment during your online lessons.

7 Fun-Filled ESL Filler Activities In Online Classes

1. Deserted on an Island

“Deserted on an Island” is an engaging ESL filler activity that sparks creativity, communication, and debate among students. It encourages quick English thinking, vocabulary building, grammar practice, writing, and discussion.

How to Conduct the Activity?

  • Write the question “If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you bring?” on the virtual whiteboard or share it with your students.
  • Begin by sharing your own two choices and explaining why you made those selections.
  • Give your students a couple of minutes to think creatively and write down their own two choices.
  • Start with one student and ask them to share their choices. Encourage other students to ask questions about their selections.
  • Move on to the next student and repeat the process.

This activity can be paired with geography lessons, vocabulary practice, or grammar topics. It allows students to express their preferences and provides an opportunity for meaningful conversation.

2. The End Is the Beginning

“The End Is the Beginning” is a fast-paced ESL filler activity that focuses on vocabulary within specific English learning topics. It improves quick English thinking, vocabulary retention, communication, speaking, and listening skills.

How to Conduct the Activity?

  • Start by choosing any particular topic, which you have covered in previous class, which align with lesson plans.
  • Remember to pick an easy topic first related to animals or verbs, to ease out the activity for students.
  • Set the topic for the first round and say a word related to that topic.
  • The next student must quickly come up with a word that starts with the last letter of the previous word and relates to the topic.
  • Continue the activity in a round-robin fashion until students become stumped or the topic is exhausted.

By challenging students to think quickly and expand their vocabulary, this activity promotes active engagement and enhances their language skills.

3. I Love

“I Love” is an ESL filler activity that focuses on students’ personal interests and helps build connections among classmates. It boosts vocabulary, grammar, speaking, listening, and sentence construction skills.

How to Conduct the Activity?

  • Start by sharing a few things related to your own hobbies, activities, or favourtie things with the class.
  • Now, ask the first student what they love and then you repeat what they said by adding something you love.
  • Proceed to the next student, who will repeat what the previous student loves and add something they love.
  • Continue the activity until all students have had a chance to share.

This activity serves as a warm-up exercise, helps students get to know each other better, and creates a positive and inclusive classroom environment.

4. Story Spoilers

“Story Spoilers” is an ESL filler activity that encourages creativity and storytelling. It enhances grammar, writing, speaking, listening, and storytelling skills. This activity can be used to check comprehension from previous lessons or as a standalone activity.

How to Conduct the Activity?

  • Divide the class into small groups.
  • Provide an open-ended sentence or question related to a specific topic.
  • Each group discusses and writes down possible endings or spoilers to the story.
  • Ask each group to share their spoilers, and have the class vote for their favorites.

This activity fosters collaboration, imagination, and language fluency, making it an exciting and interactive filler activity for online English classes.

5. This or That

“This or That” is a choice-based ESL filler activity that encourages quick decision-making and active listening. It reinforces demonstrative pronouns (“this,” “that,” “these,” “those”) and promotes speaking skills.

How to Conduct the Activity?

  • Prepare a box of props, such as a hat, pencils, scarf, shoes, shirt, books, etc.
  • Give each student one item from the prop box.
  • Students take turns asking each other if they would rather have their own item or the item of the person asking.
  • If a student chooses the other item, they exchange items.
  • The activity continues until all students have had a turn.

This fast-paced activity encourages students to think on their feet, make choices, and engage in meaningful conversations.

6. 20 Questions

“20 Questions” is a classic ESL filler activity suitable for all ages. It helps students practice forming questions and guessing vocabulary words. This activity enhances question formation, critical thinking, and vocabulary skills.

How to Conduct the Activity?

  • Choose a category, such as animals, food, or sports.
  • Think of a word that fits into the chosen category.
  • The student must guess the word by asking a maximum of 20 yes or no questions.
  • If the student guesses the word correctly, they earn a point.
  • For group classes, students can take turns asking each other questions.

This activity is not only fun but also reinforces question formation and encourages critical thinking among students.

7. Vocabulary Race

“Vocabulary Race” is a dynamic ESL filler activity suitable for young learners. It focuses on vocabulary acquisition and can be adapted to different themes. This activity enhances vocabulary retention, listening, and speaking skills.

How to Conduct the Activity?

  • Use real objects, images, or virtual tools like Many Cam to present various items related to a specific theme.
  • Students have to say or write the name of the item shown.
  • The first student to correctly name the item earns a point.
  • Repeat the activity with different items and themes.

This fast-paced and competitive activity motivates students to recall and use vocabulary while having fun.

ESL Filler Activities are Fun & Engaging For Students

Learning a new language for non-native students can be daunting, it’s the ESL teacher’s responsibility to make the learning journey of students to be fun and engaging. Many times during the online classes, ESL teachers and student may find expected and unexpected free time. The Online TEFL Certificate Course will help you to know very well in which situation you need to use the above-mentioned ESL filler activities to make students comfortable and engaged in an online learning environment.

We hope that you can use the above-mentioned ESL filler activities in your online classes for language practice and watch your students thrive in their English language skills.

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