Vocabulary Hot Potato

Vocabulary Hot Potato

It’s an oldie but a goodie and maybe some trainers don’t know it.  Here’s how I do it.

1.  Have all the participants stand up in a circle.

2.  Explain that you are going to do vocabulary brainstorming. Show them your potato (I used a stuffed crocodile or a foam ball or hackey sack) and explain that it is “hot” and can only be held for 3 seconds.  Before they can get rid of the potato, they must say a word in the category you call out.  Some categories might be:  green things, things in a bathroom, financial words, words that start with “s”, words with more than one syllable, verbs and so on.

3. Announce the category, say the first word and throw the potato to someone in the circle.  They continue until someone either repeats a word or holds the potato for more than 3 seconds (or 5 or 10, you decide).

This is a very lively, kinetic exercise that is great for lower levels.  Even at the intermediate or upper intermediate level it can be a great warm-up (just make it challenging enough).

Alternative: You could also do chain associations for more advanced group. Start with a word like: apple and then the next person must give a word that is logically associated with apple, say: pie then: dessert, sweet, puppy, present, birthday etc.

1-1: This exercise can not be modified for 1-1 lessons unless using the alternative chain association (without the ball/potato).


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