On Board Games in the Classroom

Using board games in the classroom is a fun and eng
aging way of reviewing or practising
language communicatively. There are many board gam
es you can create with your learners
using blank board game templates. These can be phot
ocopied and enlarged to A3 size.
You can either prepare the materials yourself or ge
t learners to prepare them for you
(writing and using English of course!) Below are a
couple of suggestions, they are obviously
adaptable between levels and ages. Games can be use
d to practice collocations, idioms,
tenses etc. Remember the learners must have the nec
essary language to play the game and
make sure the games do not go on for too long. It i
s not always important to finish the game
if the learners are moving on to a worthwhile actitivity.
Level: Elementary
1 dice and counters for players
General review
Write a verb in every odd numbered space and a noun
in every even numbered space (e.g.
walk; chair; eat; pen) at every sixth space write a
question word (Why? Who? When?
Which? How? etc)
Learners roll the dice and move according to the nu
mbers indicated. When a learner lands
on a square they have to make a sentence using the
verb or noun which is true about them.
If they land on a question square they have to ask
a question for all the other learners to
To make the game harder set time limits for respons
es or make learners miss a turn / move
back two spaces if they cannot make a sentence.
Have you ever..?
Level: Intermediate
1 dice and counters for players
Practice of present perfect simple
Simply write various ‘experiences’ around the board
(e.g. ride / motorcycle? write / poem?)
– Learners roll the dice and wherever they land the
y ask the learner next to them a question
by putting the verb in the correct form (e.g. Have
you ever ridden a motorcycle?) Encourage
learners to ask each other follow-on questions (E.g
. Where did you ride it? etc).
Activities ‘Mime’ field
Level: Elementary to Intermediate
1 dice and counters for players
Action verbs
Make several ‘mime’ cards with ‘actions’ on one sid
e. On the game board write ‘mime’ on
every fourth square. On the remaining blank squares
write a selection of place names
(home; countryside; museum) and prepositions (on, a
t, in etc.). Place the mime cards face
down. When a player lands on a place name they have
to say what they do at / in / on that
place (e.g. at the beach – I sunbathe; on the train
– I read my book). When they land on a
preposition square they have to think of a place an
d an action (e.g. at – at the cinema I
watch films). If they land on the mime square they
take a card and have to mime the action
for the rest of the group (e.g. painting; running).
The first learner to accurately guess what
the action is and where it is happening can move fo
rward one space.
Level: Upper Intermediate
1 dice and counters for players
Language review
Take 45 words from units recently covered with lear
ners and write these on slips of paper or
cards and shuffle. Place them face down. On the gam
e board randomly write in the
Draw it
Make a sentence
Describe it
Mime it
Put the learners into two teams (alternatively they
can play individually). Learners roll the
dice and take a secret word card. If they land on ‘
Draw it’ they have to draw the word and
elicit that from their partners; if they land on ‘M
ake a sentence’ they have to say a sentence
using that word; if they land on ‘describe it’ they
have to give oral clues to elicit the word
from their partners; if they land on ‘mime it’ they
have to mime the word and elicit that
from their partners.
Level: All
1 dice and counters for players
Stress patterns
Rather than writing words on the board write simple
stress patterns (E.g.
When a learner lands on a square they have to think
of a word that matches the stress
pattern. Words can only be used once. Make sure lea
rners know the stress patterns are
from words or a topic they have studied recently.
Sophia McMillan
Training Manager/TESOL Course Director
Shane Training Centre, Shane Corporation

Board Games help Bored Teachers reach Students

Junior high school students huddle around a table, brows furrowed, playing a co-operative First World War board game called The Grizzled. One plays the final card, and another lets out a triumphant shout. After 12 attempts, the students have finally beaten the game.

“We spent a whole week just trying to play it over and over again – we couldn’t beat it,” said Grade 12 student Jacob Lycan. But the students’ perseverance paid off.

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