Daily Routines Game – Reviewing the Simple Present Tense

Have you played the In My Suitcase memory game with your students? This is the game where you sit in a circle and the first student says,

“We are going on a trip, and in our suitcase I will bring…”

After the first student names one thing, the next student repeats the sentence, names his/her classmate’s item, and adds an additional item to the suitcase. For example:

“We are going on a trip, and in our suitcase we will bring a map, and a cell phone.”

As the game continues, the packing list gets bigger and harder to remember.

The suitcase game is excellent for practising nouns, but you can play a similar game to practice using the simple present tense to describe daily routines. Write the following starter sentences (time markers) on the board:

On Wednesdays…
At five o’clock…
On the weekends…
In the summer…
After school…
On Monday mornings…
In the winter…
At lunchtime…

Now have students play the same memory game with daily routines. For example, Erica starts and says,

“On Wednesdays, I go to dance practice.”

Lisa is up next. She says,

“On Wednesdays, Erica goes to dance practice, and I visit my grandparents.”

Leo is up next and he must add a daily routine and remember the two previous ones.

“On Wednesdays, Erica goes to dance practice, Lisa goes to her grandparents, and I do karate.”

When the chain breaks (if a student forgets someone’s routine or can’t think of one) you can skip the student, or choose a new starter sentence from the list above.

“After school, Paulo watches TV, Mike eats a bowl of cereal, Yuki feeds her dog, Juan plays on his iPad, and I draw cartoons.”

This game is great for practicing the simple present tense for daily routines. (Click to Tweet!) It’s also useful for remembering names. If two people have the same routine, that’s great. Teach your students to lump the routines together so that they can practise using third person plural.

“After school, Paulo and Maria watch TV, Mike eats a bowl of cereal, and the rest of us play outside.”

Take the game to the next level by inviting your learners to add usually, sometimes, or always to their daily routine examples.

“In the winter, Juan usually wears mittens, Ella usually wears a scarf, and Mrs. Smith usually wears boots.”

Speaking of daily routines, what do you do when students make mistakes during a grammar practice game? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts about error correction. Do you correct the student on the spot? Do you ask other students to help with the correction? Do you ignore the mistake since it’s game time? Are you a recaster? Share your thoughts about error correction in the comments below. You can also share your fun ideas and links for practicing the simple present tense. Here are some useful tips for teaching the four main uses of the simple present tense.

Check out Sprout English’s Word Bank. The Verbs & Prepositions section has a nine-page lesson on Daily Routines. There are also three mazes, a crossword, a jumble, and a word search on daily routines in our Games Room – Paper Games section.


Purchase a subscription to access all our Young Learner resources. Only $7 a month.

Tara Benwell

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry. She is the media director and head writer for ESL-Library, and a contributor to its sister site Sprout English. Tara is the author of an iPad storybook series for kids called Happy Campers Books. Her debut novel, The Proper Order of Things is available on Amazon and in the iBookstore.

3 Responses to “Daily Routines Game – Reviewing the Simple Present Tense”

  1. Tanya Trusler

    Great post, Tara! This is a fun way to practice the simple present, and a good activity for the first month back to school when classmates are still learning each other’s names.
    For error correction, I usually try not to interrupt the game. I try to remember the mistakes (or jot them down) and then go over them as a class at the end. I find this is a good way to transition back from game mode into learning mode.

  2. Tara Benwell

    Thanks, Tanya! What about if Student A corrects Student B? Do you think you would tell Student A that he or she is right to have noticed the error? I think with this game there is the risk of the error being repeated over and over if it is not corrected. Maybe if only one student made the mistake I would let it go. I’m really interested in how teachers handle error correction, and I hope we get a few responses about this.

  3. Tanya Trusler

    I hope other teachers will give their opinions, too. It’s great to learn from colleagues. I agree with you, Tara, about the error being repeated over and over. I wasn’t thinking about that! In that case, I might quickly point the error out, or confirm that the student who corrected his/her classmate was right.


Leave a Reply