Count to Twenty Challenge

A simple closing or warm up activity that helps promote listening and counting skills.

Hey guys! This is an old theater game turned English game that I ran with my Special Needs class. They had a ton of fun with it and I wanted to share it with you guys! This activity would be best used in junction with a numbers activity to help solidify thinking in English when counting.

Count to Twenty Challenge


  • Have the students stand in a circle.

  • Note: I wrote the number names on the board because my students needed a little help remembering the numbers above ten, but this part is optional.

  • One person begins the counting with "one" (this is usually a JTE or ALT), another student says the next number, "two", and the students continue counting until they reach twenty.

  • The goal is to reach twenty without any students speaking over each other. (You can extend it to higher numbers as well!)

  • For added challenge, you can have the students close their eyes and count.


  • If any two people say a number at the same time, you must begin again at "one".

  • A student just can't continue counting by themselves. (also avoid ping-ponging where two students just count by themselves)

  • If a student uses a Japanese number, you must start over.

It sounds simple, but it can be really difficult to do! It's a really fun game, and the kids get really into it.

It works best in small groups of 5-10 kids, I haven't run it with my larger classes yet but if I did, I'd break them up into separate groups first.

This is a great way to promote listening, teamwork, and counting skills!

If you notice your students getting frustrated, encourage them to take a group deep breath. The original theater version of this game was designed to encourage group dynamics.

Hope you guys enjoy it!

Submitted by robertsbp June 15, 2023 Estimated time: 5-15 minutes, depending how long you want to play

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