Time: 5-15min

This is designed for Listening and Speaking and is good for PreschoolElementary school and Junior High.


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King and servant is a good game for consolodating any English vocabulary with an order, such as numbers, ordinals, months of the year etc. It is suitable for a genki class of any level, but primarly aimed at Elementary classes.

Materials required[]

  • None!


  • Teach your target vocab (e.g. months of the year).
  • Demonstrate how to play the game at the front of the class with the JTE and 2 student volunteers. It's a good idea to pick 2 of the best students.
  • Tell the class that you are the king! Get the other 3 to janken and line up below you in order accordingly.
  • Clap your hands and set up a regular beat with a pause in the middle where you will say the vocabulary. Get the other 3 players to copy you. The rythmn should go as follows:
...*clap* *clap* *clap* (pause) *clap* *clap* *clap* (pause)...
  • Once the rythmn is established start the game off by saying the first vocabulary word in the pause. The second person in line should say the next vocabulary word, and so on down the line.
...*clap* *clap* *clap* (January!) *clap* *clap* *clap* (Febraury!)...
  • When the cycle comes around to you (the king) again, deliberately make a mistake, and move to the lowest position in the line. Tell the class you've now become the servant and that the person who was second in line is the new king.
  • Set the clapping rythmn going again and restart the game starting from the king.
  • Repeat as desired until the students watching understand the procedure.
  • Split the class into groups of 4 or 5 students (lunch groups are usually good) and have them play the game in groups by themselves.
  • Patrol the class with the JTE helping each group get into the rythmn of the game and checking pronunciation etc.


  • Try and keep the atmosphere fun! Some kids might take the game too seriously and get upset when they make a mistake and become the servant - I've had tears from 6th graders over this game!
  • When all groups are playing the game simultaneously things can get pretty noisy in the classroom. When you demonstrate the game, emphasise a loud voice when saying the vocabulary so the other team members can hear! Also, get the groups to spread out into as much space as possible.

See also[]