ESL Board Games | A 4-Skills ESL Activity your Students Will Love

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Touchstone Two

If you want to have a bit of fun in your classes and do some serious review, then you’ll need to consider using some ESL board games in your classes. They often come in the textbook or teacher resource guide. Or, you can make your own.

And, if you have small classes of students who are tired of learning English, why not play a real board game like Settlers or Catan?

Keep on reading for my recommendation for both of these things.

ESL Board Games

However, in my real, for-credit classes I’ve been keeping up appearances of seriousness and we’ve been powering through some academic learning. I still like to use some board games though because my students always have lots of fun playing them and it’s a bit of a break from the daily grind.

In order to help them review for their final exam speaking test, I designed these two ESL board games loosely based on the second halves of Touchstone 1 and Touchstone 2:

Touchstone 1 ESL Board Game

Touchstone 2 ESL Board Game

How to Play These Board Games

These ESL board games took me around 10 minutes to prepare. Yes, it’s really that easy to make your own review class awesome!

In class, I put the students into groups of four and each person has to get a token (eraser, pen lid, key, etc.). Each group needs two coins because I hate using dice which always seem to roll around on the floor and are also really noisy.

The first student (decided by rocks-scissors-paper) has to toss the coins up and sees what they get.

2 heads = 1 space

1 head, 1 tail = 3 spaces

2 tails = 5 spaces

They move ahead the assigned number of spaces and complete the action, or answer the question. If the answer is satisfactory, they remain on that spot. If not, they go back the number of spaces they went ahead. The teacher acts as the final judge in case of dispute.

The winner from each group of four gets a little prize (Choco Pie!).

esl-board-games
Board games for ESL students

Happy and Fun Times!

Learning and review doesn’t always need to be a grind, so make sure you have a bit of fun with your students by doing some fun activities or games. I love to use board games because they’re extremely student-centred, which is actually going to help your students far more than powering through another review lecture. Get your ESL awesome on!

Find out more about Board Games for ESL Students

Not ESL Board Games

I love me a good board game. Three of my favourites are King of Tokyo, Settlers of Catan and Puerto Rico. Because I’m essentially totally and completely burnt-out on the teaching after almost nine years of doing it in Korean universities, my USA internship preparation classes have become, “Jackie is going to teach you how to play some awesome board games and you’re going to love it!”

The students are getting so good that they actually beat me sometimes. If you go this route of lazy, yet awesome, I recommend starting with King of Tokyo, then Setters of Catan and finally Puerto Rico.

Need more ESL Activity Awesome?

I’m sure you answered “yes” to this important question. Everyone needs a bit more ESL activity awesome in their life. Then you’ll need to check out this book on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults.

There are activities that cover a range of skills from icebreakers and warm-ups, to writing and listening. Best of all, there are many of them that are multi-skill activities and even some that cover all 4-speaking, listening, reading and writing. Love it! We’re sure you will too.

The book is available on Amazon in digital and print formats. The cheaper digital one can be read on any device using the free Kindle reading app. It’s super easy to have more than 100 top-quality ESL activities at your fingertips anywhere you go. Save time when planning your lessons and make your ESL classes awesome!

Check out 101 ESL activities for Teenagers and Adults on Amazon today:

Have your Say about Playing ESL Board Games

What are your thoughts about playing board games with your students who are learning English? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Do you get board games from teacher’s resource guides, or do you make your own? Do you ever play something like Settlers or Catan with them?

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.


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