Mix and match (TEFLtastic Classics Part 43)

Updated 5 April 2021

This has been by far the most popular activity in my young learner classes recently.

I’ve often used the classic picture book (Do You Like) Ketchup on Your Cornflakes?, in which the top and bottom halves of the page are turned to make silly matches like “Do you like custard on your head?” and sensible matches like “Do you like a rubber duck in your bath?” I’ve also used similar picture books that are more like the drawing game consequences, with the top, middle and bottom flaps being the top, middle and bottom of a person, animal or monster, sometimes with text describing the combination of the three things. However, it only recently occurred to me how adaptable the idea of turning parts of the page to make silly and sensible matches can be, especially if you do it with few or no pictures. And if you also do it cut up into cards and/ or as a table of possible phrases, you could probably do Mix and Match activities with at least four different language points before students get bored.

Here are some photocopiable Mix and Match games I prepared earlier, most of which are given as a book, cards and single-page table:

Prepositions of position mix and match– NEW

Can you eat your house? abilities mix and match

Xmas mix and match (third person S, Present Simple and Xmas vocabulary)

Jobs mix and match (with “is” and “have”)

Is a Diamond Cuter than your Mother? comparative adjectives mix and match

Can a Kangaroo Drink Your Blood? animal abilities mix and match

Don’t Listen to Your Chair! classroom instructions imperative mix and match

Is a cockroach pretty? adjectives and animals mix and match

Is a rainbow brown? colours mix and match

Does this room have twelve toes? – have with numbers mix and match

Is there/ Are there plus prepositions mix and match (“Are there four socks in the zoo?”)

Present Simple for daily routines (“Do you eat your homework in the middle of the night?” etc)

Months and colours (“Are the fireworks in summer grey?” etc)

Questions with colour words (“Do you want black teeth?” etc)

Weather, clothes, times and Present Continuous (“It’s winter. I’m wearing nothing and I’m going to school” etc, originally made to supplement a particular YL textbook)

In a slight variation, I’ve also done one where the top part must be used in order to tell a story but the other parts can be changed to make the story sensible or silly:

Fairy tales colours mix and match

Other Mix and Match PDFs which I’ve made, used and put in the queue to go up include:

Adjectives and animals (“Is a hippo thin?” etc)

Prepositions (“Is your nose in your pants?” etc)

Present Continuous and prepositions (“A spider is swimming in the library” etc)

Colours and numbers (“Do you have eight colourless legs?” etc)

And it should also work for:

Past Simple (“Did you wake up just before this class?” etc)

Future (“Are you going to do your next homework the year after next?” etc)

Comparative (“Are you taller than this building?” etc)

Conditionals (“Will you quit your job if it rains?” etc)

Past Continuous (“I was taking a bath when a bird pooed on my shoulder” etc)

The best activity is for students to take turns making their partner’s silly sentence into a sensible one and then making a silly one for the next person to fix. However, some classes just like making more and more silly sentences until they get totally hysterical, while others seem to almost disapprove of the silly sentences but take great pleasure in making the “correct” matches, so I tend to go with the flow.

Making your own version is more of a challenge. I’ve never managed Nick Sharratt’s amazing feat of every match but one being silly, so my aim is usually simply to have at least one silly match and one sensible one for each flap, with more matches usually coming up naturally without the need to specifically plan it. Even with that reasonable aim, Mix and Match turned out not to work for some I tried such as days of the week and “Are there…?” with numbers. If you do manage to make your own versions, would be very happy to link to them from here.

42 other super-adaptable games and activities here.

This entry was posted in pre-school/ kindergarten/ very young learners, Teaching young learners, Using storybooks and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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