Games to Practise Want/Want to
Fun activities to practise talking about desires.
The verb “want” is often presented with the kind of low-level or young-learner classes that need and want the sorts of competitive games shown below.
I want mimes
Although it can take a while to guess the exact sentence being acted out, it is possible to mime sentences like “I want to sit down” and “I want to turn on the air conditioning”.
Want sentence completion games
Give students sentence stems including “want”/ “want to” which they should be able to complete at least half of truthfully, e.g. “I have __________ but I want more” and “I wanted __________ but I don’t anymore”.
There are two games which you can play with these sentences. One is bluff, in which you get students to fill in some sentences with false information and see if their classmates can guess which ones aren’t true. The other is the Sentence Completion Guessing Game, in which students read out just the part they have written from one sentence and their partners see if they can guess which sentence that was written in.
We want to make chains
This is a variation on the well-known ice breaker game in which people try to remember what everyone before them said and add their own statement, as in “Jane likes bananas, Steve lives next to a bank and I hate the smell of milk”. In this variation each person says “I want…” sentences but they only make their own sentences if they don’t feel the same way as any of the people who have spoken so far, instead saying “… wants… and I do too” if that is the case. This leads to more actual communication, better bonding of the people in the classroom (by finding things in common), and sentences like “July and Fernando want to see the fireworks tomorrow and I do too. Keith, July and Frances want to learn how to speak French”.
Make me say Yes I do
Students ask each other “Do you want…?” questions which they expect a positive answer to, getting one point for each “Yes, I do” answer but no points for “No, I don’t”. To make the game more realistic communication, they will need to put time clauses in the sentences to avoid exchanges like “Do you want to eat cheese?” “Now? In class??”
Only I want to
Students walk around the class asking each other questions to try to find something that only they want to do, e.g. “Do you want to get a tattoo?” If anyone says “Yes, I do”, they should try to think of something else and start asking everyone again. People can sit down whenever they think they have found something that only they want to do.
Because that’s what I want
One student says what they are going to do to achieve something they want until the people listening guess that “I want to be a vet”, “I want to be rich” etc with clues like “I’m going to study business at university” and “I’m going to set up as many new technologies companies as I can and sell them as soon as possible”.
Maybe I do want to
A big problem with most of the activities above is that they demand clear statements about desires that are often not so clear in real life, and this activity exploits that. Students try to ask questions to which their partner’s answer is “I’m not sure”, e.g. “Do you want to go to Costa Rica on holiday?” If they answer “Yes, I do” or “No, I don’t”, they must explain how come they have such a strong opinion, e.g. that someone told them Costa Rica is overrated or they have a friend living there that they want to visit.
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic blog.