Big Fish, Small Fish | Drama Game For Concentration

Big Fish, Small Fish is a great drama game to improve focus and concentration, and it’s a perfect cool down activity.

COVID-19 Update!
If you don’t have enough space to keep students two metres apart in a circle, try playing the game in smaller groups or give it a miss for now.


  • Sit your students in a circle.
  • Hold your hands close together and tell your students, ‘This is a big fish.’
  • Hold your hands far apart and tell your students, ‘This is a small fish.’
  • At this point you will probably have to field questions about why you are showing the opposite to what you are saying. Just get the kids to bare with you for now.
  • Pass the Big Fish around to the right, each student repeating the action in turn until it returns to the teacher.
  • Pass the small fish around to the left.
  • Explain to the students that the action will continue around the circle until someone says the opposite fish – changing the direction.
  • You can now have a quick practise game, allowing the students to change the direction.
  • If a student calls out a fish when it is not their turn (e.g. when the direction has been changed) they are eliminated.
  • When a student delays too long after the direction is changed they are eliminated.
  • If a student has their hands far apart and says ‘Big Fish’, or with their hands close together says ‘Small Fish’ they are eliminated.
  • If a student mispronounces (e.g. smish smish) they are eliminated.

Have a few rounds and once the kids get the hang of it, they’re sure to request it again and again!

Top tips:

  • Use your discretion on whether or not to include the pronunciation rule with non-native English speakers and those with additional needs or speech impediments.
  • This game can be a little too complicated for younger students so we recommend playing it with children aged 6 or 7 and above.

In my experience

Big Fish, Small Fish is not only a great activity to focus your class, but has some hidden benefits.

You can also use this game as a vocal warm-up. When the first student is eliminated for mispronunciation, ask the kids to say ‘Big Fish, Small Fish’ three times fast and lead into some tongue twisters!

I also found that it was a valuable tool in the ESL classroom for practising size words and pronunciation. In this case, I would correct the sizes to match the words with the hand gestures.

Need help keeping your students socially distant? Try marking a space using the following:

If you purchase any of these products, we may get a small commission. It doesn’t change the price for you but it helps us keep the lights on.



If you purchase any of these products, we may get a small commission. It doesn’t change the price for you but it helps us keep the lights on.

Rebecca is the founder and chief executive officer of Silly Fish Learning Ltd. She is a children's playwright with a vast and varied career in education, primarily teaching drama and English.

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