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 board games for ESL students easily enough.
And, if you have small classes of students who are tired of learning English, why not play a real board game like Settlers of Catan or King of Tokyo? They are the perfect board games for students because they’re fun, engaging and bring out a serious element of competition!
Keep on reading for my recommendations for making your own ESL board games, along with the best advanced board games for students.
ESL Board Games: Examples and Recommendations
I love to use board games for learning English, in particular as a review activity before a midterm or final exam. Or, they can be used for a specific topic, grammar p0int or vocabulary set such as prepositions. Or, you want to use it to work on ESL WH questions. The students really enjoy playing them and most importantly, there is some serious educational value to them!
In order to help my students 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. You can check them out here and get some ideas for how to make your own template.
The good news is that once you’ve made one board game for learning English, it’s super easy to make subsequent ones in just a few minutes. If that’s not a huge timer-saver then I’m not sure what is!
How to Play This ESL Board Game
These ESL board games took me only around 10 minutes to prepare. Yes, it’s really that easy to make your own review class awesome and also save yourself a ton of time when lesson planning as well.
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, usually a snack of some kind. I actually have a bag of treats that include snacks and non junk-food items like pencils or pens for the students to choose from.
Board Games for ESL Students: A Nice Break from the Normal Routine
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
Do you want to learn more about using English board games in your classes? Then you’ll want to check out this video below with all sorts of tips and tricks for doing just that:
Board Games for ESL Students: Top 15
If you want to know the best board games for English learners, here are some of my top picks, along with some of the best ESL card games:
- Phase 10
- Monopoly Deal
- Apples to Apples
- Scrabble Slam
- Catch Phrase
Do you have any recommendations for ESL card games or board games? Please comment below and share it with us!
Board Games for Advanced Students
If you have very high level students and are looking for some advanced board games that they might enjoy, consider the following:
- King of Tokyo
- Settlers of Catan
- Puerto Rico
- 7 Wonders
All of them are heavy on the strategy and you’ll want to use them with classes where you can play them more than once because the set-up time and explanation can be quite heavy. However, these advanced board games do involve a good amount of English in them in terms of reading cards, etc. so it can be worthwhile to use them in your classes.
Did you Like these Board Games for ESL Students?
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!
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. We’d love to hear from you.
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.