PLAY GAMES with your family & friends!
Games provide the opportunity to use speaking abilities in fun and natural situations. YOU CAN HAVE FUN LEARNING ENGLISH! You can feel success not only in playing the games, but also in your English speaking abilities. Playing games in ENGLISH, will improve your confidence and your English skills while you have fun with your family and friends. I have used games in English classes for many years and I have seen great success with big improvements in speaking skills.
Board games can be purchased and you can choose from thousands. You can find these games online or normally at toy stores. Prices for board games are normally reasonable and can provide hours of fun English practice.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) games are a good way to make your own custom games if board games are not available. You can be creative and design your own game.
I have had people tell me their English improved by playing games for only 1-2 hours. It is very effective and you can have fun while practicing your English.
TV Quick Reply Game (DIY) – Watch a television show or a movie with good conversations (No news or documentary videos). When an actor asks a question to another actor in the show, pause it. Then, respond with YOUR answer in English. This is a fun exercise to practice answering questions from native speakers in real conversations. You can also do this game by finishing the actor’s sentences. You can pause before the actor finishes a sentence, and you must then finish their sentence. You may not know exactly what the actor will say, but it is fun to try and predict. Compare your English to the actor’s English. This can be effective when you do not have native speakers for practice.
The Tour Guide / Translator Game (DIY) – It can be difficult to find another person to practice your English speaking. However, you can still think about conversations in English. I call it the “translator method”. When I travel, I often need a translator. I started to notice that their English would improve as they translated more conversations. The ability to translate can be difficult but it is very effective for improving English skills. Translators must listen to one language and think quickly about translating to another language. Walk around your city and act like you are a tour guide. Can you translate your tour into English? As you think of translation problems, write these down. Then, find and study the correct translation. If you live in a city with foreign tourists, volunteer to help as a translator at a museum or tourist attraction. This practice can be very effective in improving your English speaking skills.
The Alphabet Game (DIY) – Bring a piece of paper with you as you walk outside. The goal is to find something that begins with each letter in the alphabet. You can also play the game as an all day activity. During the day, try to find something that starts with each letter. Advanced players can have a more difficult challenge by requiring the items to be in order of the alphabet (First, find an item beginning with ‘A’, then find the next item beginning with ‘B’, etc) This game is great for vocabulary and thinking in English practice.
The Tourist Game (DIY) – Go online (in English) and research attractions around your city. Read about these tourist attractions in English. Then, go visit these attractions. Can you understand all the information about these attractions in English? Are the online English translations correct?
Story Cubes – This award winning game has become very popular with ESL students. There are many different ways to play the game and there is no limit on the number of players (1 player or more). Simply roll the cubes and let the pictures spark your imagination! Players must tell a story using the pictures on the cubes. This game is one of the best for speaking practice. You can play as an individual or in a group. story cubes link
Taboo (board game) – The game is a common award winning game by Hasbro Corporation. The game is common for native speakers and has become popular for ESL students. The objective of the game is for a player to have their team guess the word on the player’s card without using the word or five additional words listed on the card. The game is lots of fun and is a great way to practice English speaking skills. The game is normally played with groups or teams. I strongly recommend this game to groups of more than 6 people. taboo link
Catch Phrase (board game)- A game that is similar to Taboo. A player gets a word or phrase then gives verbal clues to help your team guess it. The game is normally played with groups or teams. I strongly recommend this game to groups of more than 6 people. Catch Prase Link
Balderdash (board game) – Classic bluffing game. The categories contain real but unbelievable content about People, Words, Initials, Movies, and other crazy trivia. Players must write the definition. Players then must choose which definition is correct. The objective is to get players to choose your definition even if it is not correct. The game is fun for groups of 4 or more people. Balderdash link
Scrabble (board game) – This is another popular game in the USA and great for ESL students. The objective is to put letters together, build words, add up your points and win! This game is excellent practice for improving vocabulary. Scrabble Link
Would You Rather … (board game)- The game of crazy choices is a good description. This game always starts good discussions about many crazy situations. A player must choose between 2 crazy situations and the other players must choose which the player picked. This game is a good choice to get family and friends playing, talking and laughing. Would You Link
Scattegories (board game)- This game is another popular award winning game which helps improve vocabulary. In the game each player fills out a category list with answers that begin with the same letter. Score points if no other player matches your answers. This game is one of the best for vocabulary practice. Scattegories Link
What is Your’s Like? (board game)- This game is always a favorite with my ESL students. Everyone except for the one player who has their turn, will see a word on a card. The one player will ask 3-5 people, “What is yours like?”. Each person will respond by describing their (word on the card). The one player must guess the word. This fun game involves lots of speaking about different topics. What is Yours Link
Loaded Questions (board game)- The Loaded Questions Board Game ensures unlimited fun. This board game has many exciting questions about different topics. Players must guess the answers of the other players. This game is good for having conversations about different topics. Loaded Questions Link
FLUXX (board game)– This is a game about changes. While playing, the rules and objective of the game are always changing. Understanding and listening skills are important. The game can become crazy with the many rule changes. Fluxx Link
Apples to Apples (board game) – This award-winning card and party game is another popular game with my students. There are many different ways to play this exciting game. Players must match adjectives with nouns and convince the judge that their match is the best. This game is very effective for learning vocabulary and for speaking practice. Apples Link
Jeopardy TV Show Game (board game) The trivia game with a twist. Jeopardy is one of the top game shows in America. You get the answers and have to come up with the questions. Dozens of categories means there’s something for everyone. The game will test your knowledge and English skills. Jeopardy Link
Trivia – Trivia is a common game seen on television shows and even in some bars. You can find many trivia games and ideas about making your own trivia game. Simple, have English trivia game night with a group of friends.
YES and NO game – This is an easy game with only one rule. Players CANNOT say “YES” or “NO”. Players are to have conversations about any topic. Once a player says “YES” or “NO”, that is out of the game. The last person is the winner. The challenge is to have conversations and get other players to answer “YES” or “NO”. This is an easy game that can be lots of fun while practicing English.
What would you do if … – You can make crazy questions that each player must answer and then discuss. Example: What would you do if an asteroid from space will destroy the world in one year. Each player writes down 5 things that they would do. Everyone discusses their answers. This a good discussion game with many topics available for practicing English.
Dangerous Definitions – A great game for vocabulary practice. The game requires a list of difficult creative words. One of these words are chosen and shown to the players. Players write down a definition for the word and try to make it sound very believable. The definitions are collected and mixed up. The leader reads all the definitions and the players decide which definition is correct. If a player chooses the correct definition, they get 2 points. If a player chooses the wrong definition, the player who wrote the definition gets 1 point.
Pictionary – Pictionary is a guessing word game played with teams. Players try to identify specific words from their teammates’ drawings. The team chooses one person to do the drawing, this position rotates with each word. The pictures cannot contain any numbers or letters. The teammates try to guess the word the drawing is intended to represent. This game is very popular and requires lots of talking. Speaking skills will improve.
Charades – This game is similar to pictionary but you must act using body language instead of drawing. Charades is a classic fun game full of excitement.
Ring of Fire – Ring of Fire is a great game for speaking practice. It is easy to setup and play. A deck of playing cards is required and a list of 13 game actions for the cards (2-10, J, Q, K, A). Each player is to write down 3 secret questions for the game. These questions should be entertaining and will be asked to a player in the game. Everyone should keep their questions a secret. All questions are dropped in a bowl. A player will take a card and do the action on the list. Examples of the 13 actions on the list can include: K- Take a question and choose any player to answer. Q- Take a question and you must answer. J- Take a question and ask the player on your left. 10- Take a question and ask the player on your right. …. etc. A quick and easy game for English practice.