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Family Vocabulary Activity

May 2, 2018

Vocabulary about family members and relationships is useful for all ages and levels. Beginner‑level students need to learn basic relations (e.g., mother, uncle, niece, etc.) while intermediate‑level learners can expand on the basics (e.g., brother‑in‑law, stepsister, etc.).

If “family” is a new topic for your learners, teach them the basics before you try the family vocabulary review activity. If you’re looking for lessons, ESL Library has a lot of materials on the family! (See the Related section at the end of this post.)

Once your students are familiar with basic family vocabulary, challenge them to the following fun, fast-paced activity! It’s one of my favorite ways to review family vocabulary. My students love the competition that this brain-teaser activity provides!

How to Play

  1. Divide the class into two teams.
  2. Pick one person from each team to take a turn simultaneously.
  3. Read out the first phrase from the Teachers’ Guide below. (Don’t read out the answers in parentheses. Answers are provided for your reference only.)
  4. Give a point to the team of the student who yells out the correct answer first.
  5. Continue by choosing two more students and reading the second phrase.

Alternatively, you could divide the class into two teams but let anyone from either team shout out the answer. The pro to this method is that it gets loud and competitive! The con is that you might not hear from all the students, especially the quieter ones.

Teachers’ Guide

  1. My father’s brother. (uncle)
  2. My brother’s sister. (sister)
  3. My mother’s father. (grandfather)
  4. My son’s sister. (daughter)
  5. My grandfather’s daughter. (mother/aunt)
  6. My aunt’s son. (cousin)
  7. My sister’s daughter. (niece)
  8. My father’s mother. (grandmother)
  9. My mother’s son. (brother)
  10. My cousin’s brother. (cousin)
  11. My sister’s mother. (mother)
  12. My uncle’s wife. (aunt)
  13. My grandmother’s son. (father/uncle)
  14. My mother’s mother. (grandmother)
  15. My uncle’s daughter. (cousin)
  16. My nephew’s mother. (sister)
  17. My brother’s uncle. (uncle)
  18. My daughter’s brother. (son)
  19. My brother’s son. (nephew)
  20. My mother’s husband. (father)

Use the review worksheet from our Resources section as a follow-up. Students can complete it individually for homework or during class in pairs or small groups.

Family Vocabulary Review at ESL Library

Grammar & Usage – Family Vocabulary Review


Teens & Adults

Children & Literacy Students

How do you practice family vocabulary in class? Share your ideas in the comments section below!

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Comments (6)


More vocabulary

Reply to Comment

Lei Kayanuma(Author)

Hello Diana, thank you for your feedback! I will let the publishing team know that you would like to see more vocabulary in this section. If you have any other specific topics or themes for vocabulary, please reach out to us at hello@esllibrary.com Thank you!

Madelaine P.(Teacher)

Some information about alternative families would be good - traditional vs non-traditional families.

Reply to Comment

Tanya Trusler(Author)

Great idea, Madelaine! Thanks for the suggestion.

Lasha M.(Teacher)

It would be really useful if the Family: Living in English unit had online activities (i.e. Task Manager) that could be assigned for online learning.

Reply to Comment

Lei Kayanuma(Author)

Hi Lasha! Thank you for your request. I will pass on your request for the Family: Living in English lesson to become available in digital form!

Reply to Comment
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