Happy Birthday to You!


I am excited to introduce a lesson idea I used with my students.

I wanted to do something like a role play to practice language for talking about age, giving a gift, and guessing what’s inside a wrapped package. Besides practicing language from our lesson, I wanted to keep students active.


*a Box

*Small picture cards

*Wrapping paper

*Students name cards

How to set up the activity:

  1. Give each student a picture card.
  2. Students wrap the cards.
  3. Put them in the box (all of the cards in one box).
  4. Students make a circle and pass around the box with singing “Happy Birthday to you.”
  5. The student who has a box when the music stops is the gift giver.
  6. The gift giver picks a students name card to know who is the birthday student.
  7. The gift giver passes the box to birthday student

Gift giver: Happy Birthday (Takuya)! How old are you?
Birthday student: I’m (9) years old.
Gift giver: This is for you.
Birthday student: Thank you.

  1.   Then, the birthday student opens the box and picks up the wrapped picture card.
  2.   All students ask What is it?
  3. The birthday student answers I don’t know or guesses what it is. Is this a bat?
  4. The birthday student opens the wrapping paper and find what is it. and says It’s (a puzzle).

My students really enjoyed this activity. Since nobody knows who will give the gift giver or the birthday boy or girl, they concentrate on the activity. The students in this class are very energetic, and it worked well to keep them focused and active.

They even enjoyed wrapping the picture cards, and I let them pick what color they wanted to use to wrap the cards. Me: What color do you like? Student: I like (yellow). While we were wrapping the “gifts” I played The Happy Birthday Song (from Let’s Go 4th edition, Student Book 1, Unit 5).


Note: If you are using Let’s Go 4th edition, this activity is based on the language in Student Book 1, Unit 5.

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6 Responses

  1. Barbara Sakamoto says:

    Thanks for sharing this cute game, Naoko! I love seeing how excited the children are. I’ll definitely try this with my own students 🙂

  2. Naoko Amano says:

    I’m glad that you like this activity. I hope your students will enjoy with it!!

  3. Karen Tsai says:

    Naoko, this is a great activity! Thanks for sharing it with all of us! This activity would be a lot of fun for our students to do, and it’s a good way to practice the Happy Birthday dialog. 🙂

  4. Naoko Amano says:

    I’m glad I could share and you like this activity. Thank you very much for your comment!

  5. Hi Naoko, I like your activity! It has different patterns that the students have learned and it gives them a chance to practice it a role play situation.

  6. Naoko Amano says:

    Hello,Ritsuko. I am very happy to read your comment! Thank you very much. One of my students says this is her favorite activity.

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