Phonetics Mallet's Mallet!

If you know Mallet’s Mallet is then you are as old as me, and need some fun with phonetics in your classes. Now face the person next to you and say ‘Blah’ or in the case, a phonetic sound of your choice. This game is not all that different to Phonetics Tennis, which I wrote about last month.

Before I go on to explain the game, or at least my weird version of it, let me point you to a few blogs if you are new  to If you have an interest in teaching phonetics then I’d suggest reading the following pages and blogs.

mallets_mallet1ESL Songs with Phonetics

Best ESL Pronunciation websites

Top ESL Resources for Phonetics

9 reasons to use phonetics in class

How to teach phonetics to your students

For all my phonetics games students must already know the sounds and symbols.

Phonetic Mallet’s Mallet

Level: all

Prep time: 5 seconds – just think of one word with a phonetic sound…

When you can do it? Warmer, finisher.

What to do:

  • Bring in your yellow and pink hammer, or if you don’t have one then just use a board marker or a giant pen, like I do.
  • Explain you are going to play a phonetics game.
  • Put the class into two teams, or you could just make it an individual game.

Team version

  • Put the class into two rows and then put two students at the front, in chairs facing each other.
  • Explain that you are going to chose a phonetic sound and they have to keep saying a word with that sound in until either they get it wrong, or ten/fifteen seconds passes.
  • If they get it wrong or the time passes then you make a sound to let them know. The opposite team gains a point.
  • Keep doing this until one team gets to 5, or 10 points. Or until a fight breaks out and go back to the book.

Individual version

  • It’s the same as above, but the winner stays on. You could either make it so that the winner is the one who beats the most people before the end of the class, or first to beat 5 people.

Reasons to play phonetics mallet’s mallet.

  • It’s fun.
  • Great for recap and revision.
  • Good to see if they have really understood the sounds and symbols.
  • Gives you a bit of a break from being centre of attention and adds some fun to your classes.

That’s it. Simple. Stay tuned for more phonetics games coming up next month.


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