Board games for ESL students are one of my favourite in-class activities. Students generally love them, and they’re an excellent way to recap a class or unit. It does take a bit of time to teach students how to play them, but after doing it once, you can use board games a few more times during the course easily.
I’ve also used them many times as a review activity in the class before a midterm or final exam. It’s quite easy to make a question to cover just about everything you’d possibly include on a test in a conversation class, or general English class.
Some of the grammar points most conducive to board games include the simple past, giving advice, reported speech, and must/might/can’t.
For an example of an ESL Board Game that I made for my students, be sure to check out:
Like this ESL Board Game? Then you’re going to love this book:
Here’s how you can set up ESL board games for your students
ESL Board Games: Details
Time: 25 minutes
Materials Required: Board Game Sheet/marker for each student (a coin or an eraser)
Group Size: 4 students is best, 3 or 5 is okay too
Ready-Made ESL Board Games?
Board Games often come in the “teacher’s resource book,” so take a look there before making your own. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel if someone has already done the work for you!
However, if there isn’t a board game for the unit you covered, don’t despair. It’s actually very easy to make your own ESL board games, and they’re often better than the ones in the books!
You can use questions based on the grammar or vocabulary that you’ve been studying. during the previous classes.
Also include some fun squares, such as “switch positions with the person on your right,” “go back 3,” or “take a vacation!” The best board games have an element of skill, but also an element of luck to them.
Question Style for ESL Board Games
The style I usually use is a question of some kind where each student has to give one or two sentences in response to it. The other students in the group listen for incorrect answers, in which case the student has to move backwards to the square that they started that turn on.
I always tell the students to not fight about whether or not an answer is correct, or not. They can just ask me and I’ll be the final judge.
It’s more fun if you have a little prize for the winner of each game, a small chocolate bar or something like that.
More Details about ESL Board Games
ESL Board Games: Have your Say!
What do you think about ESL Board Games? Love them, hate them, never use them in your classes?
Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.