SOS: A fun Review Game for ESL Students

SOS review game for ESL students

SOS: A Review Game for ESL Students-Kids + Adults

Skills: Speaking/listening

Time: 10-15 minutes

Level: Low Intermediate to Advanced, age 8+

Materials Required: White board and a list of questions

I like to use this S-O-S game as a fun review game for ESL students to go over whatever we studied in the previous class. For example, maybe the grammar point was countable/uncountable nouns. It can get quite complicated, so it’s something I’d for sure want to review before moving on with new material.

I’m sure you know the game S-O-S from when you were a kid. Draw a 6×6 grid on the board. Give the grid numbers and letters to make it easier for the students to pick what box they want. Then, divide the students up into teams of 4 or 5 and give them each a symbol (triangle, square, star, heart, etc.). Then ask review questions, going from team to team in order. Simple, easy questions with a definite right or wrong answer are best to keep this game moving quickly. A correct answer gets them a square on the board, where you will put their symbol. You can do 6 or 7 rounds, and by this time the good teams will have 2 or 3 points. The top team gets a prize of some kind.

Teaching Tip:

This game gets boring after 15 minutes or so, so don’t plan on playing this for an entire class. It works best as a warm-up review game. You can also teach the students the rules and have them play in groups of 4-5, which will make this activity far more student-centered. Give each group a list of review questions that you write up and print out and act as a referee, if necessary.


1. Prepare a list of review questions.

2. Put students into groups of 4-5 to play as a class, or have them play in small groups with each other.

3. Students do rock-scissor-paper and the first student answer the first question. If correct, they mark their symbol on the board. If incorrect, there is no penalty but they don’t get to mark the board.

4. The next student answers the next question and follows the same procedure.

5. The goal is to get as many 3-in-a-rows as possible with their symbol.

Like This Review Game for ESL Students?

It’s from this book 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Kids (7+). There are 38 more ESL speaking activities for kids, guaranteed to make your lesson planning easier and your students happier.

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