If you have ever watched The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, then you will likely be familiar with the outrageously entertaining games that he plays with his guests. These skits are also excellent games for youth groups that you can adapt for language learning purposes.
The activities are suitable for most age groups and learning levels. These fun interactive games are great for ice-breakers, fillers, or conclusions to your lessons.
Interactive Games for Youth Groups & Students
Now, let’s highlight five of the most popular Jimmy Fallon games from the late-night talk show. You will learn how to adapt these games for your classroom and online learning scenarios.
1. Box of Lies
The Box of Lies game will help improve students’ listening skills and descriptive language skills.
In this game, one person must describe a strange object to his or her partner without their partner looking at the object. The person describing the unusual object can either tell the truth about it or make up a fictitious object. The listener asks the person questions about the object to determine if they are lying or telling the truth.
Finally, if the listener guesses correctly, then they score points.
If you are playing this game with your students, you can have the students draw a picture of the object on paper beforehand. This is a simple alternative to using real physical objects.
2. Five-Second Summaries
This summary game facilitates active listening skills and descriptive skills too.
For this activity, create a list of popular films and divide the movie titles on individual pieces of paper. You can use other topics, but movies and TV shows typically work the best for this game.
Next, divide the students into small groups. Give one student in each group a piece of paper with a movie title on it. The student must then try to summarize the movie in five seconds without saying the actual movie title in their description.
If the listener guesses the correct movie title, then they score points.
Of course, you can increase the time limit depending on the students’ skill level and ability.
3. Whisper Challenge
Everyone loves this game. It’s probably one of the most popular skits that Jimmy Fallon does with his celebrity guests.
First, make sure that everyone has access to some headphones and music. Also, prepare a collection of short sentences on pieces of paper.
To start, divide the class into pairs or small groups. One student in each group should put headphones in their ears and have white noise (or ambient music) playing. Classical music without words would be appropriate too.
Next, the student without the headphones must read the short sentence on the piece of paper. Then, the person with the headphones must try to guess what their partner is saying by watching their mouth carefully. Basically, the aim of the game is to read their partner’s lips.
Surprisingly, this game really improves students’ pronunciation since it forces them to enunciate and practice proper mouth formation while speaking.
4. Three-Word Stories
This game may be challenging for some language learners, but it can help them improve grammar and sentence formation. Furthermore, it enhances creative skills by getting them to make stories with their classmates.
To begin, divide the class into small groups. The first student in each group must start a fictional story with only three words. Then, the next student must continue the sentence by adding three more words. This sequence repeats until the group has finished a short story.
As an example, see the dialog below for how a story could potentially develop.
Student A: I ate rice…
Student B: with my family.
Student C: It was tasty…
Student D: but I felt…
Student A: very sick after…
Student B: because the rice…
Student C: was covered with…
Student A: expired soy sauce.
5. Best Friends Challenge
Let’s save the best for last.
The Best Friends Challenge game is an excellent ice-breaker even for people who don’t know each other very well. All that you need for this activity is a few pieces of paper and something to write with.
Again, divide the class into pairs or small groups. The aim of the activity is to guess and write the answer to personal questions about individuals in the group on paper. After writing, show the paper to the group to see if anyone guessed correctly.
Read the example below to get a better idea.
Mary, Bob, George, and Kim are in a group together.
The teacher asks, “Who is Mary’s favorite superhero?”
Everyone writes and guesses the answer on their own paper. Only Mary keeps her answer hidden while the others show their written guesses to the group.
If anyone guessed Mary’s answer correctly, then they would score points.
BONUS: Jimmy Fallon Games from The Tonight Show
Watch the YouTube video below for more information on how to play these games from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Extra Games for Youth Groups and Language Learning
Do you have any classroom activities or online learning games to share?
Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Recommended Resources for Teachers and Students
Are you looking for more language learning resources?
Check out the ESL Expat website for an extensive collection of ESL activities for kids and adults.
Plus, visit the Movie Idioms website for a database of idioms and expressions in movies.