Author: Deb Bullock | Published on 2 January 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

Change places if… is a fun activity that you can use to review and practise grammar and vocabulary. It’s a good activity to develop close listening skills, too. You can use it with any subject, not only English.

Stage 1: Prepare

Prepare a large space outside. In the shape of a circle mark (with chalk or a stick) enough squares for each learner except one to stand on, (e.g. if you have 30 learners, mark 29 squares.)

Note: If you have no outside space, and your inside space is small, do stages 2–4 with a small group of 6–8 learners with the other learners watching. You can then repeat the activity with different learners. 

Stage 2: Introduce

Say: ‘We’re going to play Change places if….’ Choose a confident learner to stand in the centre of the circle. They are the ‘instructor’. Say: ‘Everybody else stand in a square and look at your friend.’ Check all learners are doing this.

Say: ‘The instructor will say a sentence.’ Give the instructor a sentence to read, e.g. ‘Change places if you are a boy.’ Say: ‘If your answer is yes, change places. If your answer is no, stay in your place. The instructor changes every turn. Do not run.’ 

Stage 3: Check instructions


  • What must you do if your answer is yes? (Change places.)
  • What must you do if your answer is no? (Stay in your place.)
  • Can two people stand in the same square? (No)
  • What should the instructor do after saying the sentence? (Move to a square.)
  • Can you run? (No) 

Stage 4: Model

Say: ‘Let’s play.’ Tell the instructor to say the sentence again, e.g. ‘Change places if you are a boy’.

Say: ‘Are you ready? Change places.’ Manage behaviour. Check all the boys are moving.

Say: ‘Who is not standing on a square? Come to the centre. Now you say a sentence’, e.g. ‘Change places if you ate rice yesterday’.

Learners change places. Monitor and check all learners who should move are moving. Ask checking questions like ‘When did you eat rice?’ 

Stage 5: Play in groups

Put learners in groups of 6–8. Tell them to stand in a circle with one learner (the instructor) in the centre.

Say: ‘Play Change places if….’ Monitor and support. Manage behaviour.  

After ten minutes, say: ‘Stop. Well done.’


  1. Controlled grammar practice: Learners must use present continuous, e.g. ‘Change places if you’re wearing a white shirt’. Learners must use present perfect, e.g. ‘Change places if you’ve ever won a prize’.
  2. Maths: Learners are each a number (1–20), e.g. ‘Change places if you are an odd / even / prime number’ or ‘Change places if you are divisible by 2 / 3’ etc. 

Stage 6: Extend and share

Ask: ‘Can you remember your group’s sentences? Which sentence was the funniest? Why? Discuss.’ Give them 1 minute.

Ask each group to stand up and tell the class their funniest sentence. The class votes on the funniest sentence.

Ask learners if they enjoyed Change places if...

With time, you will find new ways to use Change places if… with your learners to practise different grammar and vocabulary.


Monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task.

See also