The tongue twister game
Kate Joyce, British Council

All levels and ages enjoy tongue twisters. They work well as a warm-up to get students speaking, and they help students to practise pronouncing difficult sounds in English.

Write some English tongue twisters on the board or on pieces of paper to distribute to students. Ask them to read the tongue twisters aloud. Then faster. Then three times in a row. Here are some examples:    

    • She sells sea shells on the sea shore
      • A proper copper coffee pot
      • Around the rugged rocks the ragged rascal ran
      • Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry
      • A big black bug bit a big black bear
      • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?


  • Ask the students if they have any tongue twisters in their L1. Have a go at saying them yourself. This usually causes a good laugh, and makes the activity more two-way and interactive.
  • Now ask the students to have a go at creating their own tongue twisters. This activity is a variation of the famous ‘Consequences’ game. Write the following questions on the board:


  1. Write your first name
  2. What did she/he do?
  3. Where?
  4. When?
  5. Why? Because…


  • Now give students the following instructions:
    • Get into teams of about 5 people
    • On a piece of blank paper write your answer to question 1.
    • Pass the paper to the person on your right. Write an answer to question 2 on the paper you have just received. Your answer must begin with the first sound in the person’s name (e.g. Bob – bought a bike)
    • Pass the paper on again and write an answer to question 3 again using the sound at the beginning of the name.
    • Continue until all the questions have been answered.
    • Pass the paper back to the person who started with it. Read all of the tongue twisters aloud.
  • It might help if you give the students some examples before they begin the exercise:
    • Bob bought a bike in Bali on his birthday because he was bored
    • Susan sang a song at the seaside on the 6th of September because she saw some sunshine
    • Laura laughed in the laundrette at lunchtime because she lost her laundry

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