Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

This post has been contributed by Roya Caviglia as part of the simple games series. If you would like to contribute a game, let me know via a comment on the blog or through Twitter.

Roya is currently teaching in Hamburg, Germany and has recently completed her Delta. She is about to start as a Celta trainer-in-training. You can find her on Twitter or at She’s new to the world of blogging, and this is her first guest post. I think you’ll agree: it’s a great start!

Teaching aim: Vocabulary revision

How to play:

1. Ask each student to write down 3 or 4 words, each word on a separate small piece of paper. Make sure the learners choose vocabulary that they understand the meaning of and that they are sure the others in the class will know too (vocab that has come up recently in class is ideal). They fold up the pieces of paper and pop them into a hat/bowl.

2. Split the class into 2 teams. Ask them to choose team names. Then proceed with the following 3 rounds:

Round One – Taboo
Team A start. One of the team takes the bowl of words. They have to take out a word and describe it to their team, without ever saying the word (just like taboo). When their team guesses a word correctly they get to keep it. The same player then takes another word and continues for 2 minutes (teacher is the timer, time can be adjusted if necessary).

It helps if Team B listen carefully to the words that come up because this will help them in later rounds.

When the time is up Team A keep the words they won and pass the bowl to Team B which then have 2 minutes to collect as many words as possible in the same way.

Then back to Team A who continue with another player describing the words. This goes on until the bowl is empty. Count the scores, each word = one point. Scores go on the board.

Round Two – Pictionary
Team B start. Round two is just like round one, except that the players draw the words instead of describing them. This can be done on the board so everyone can see. Just like pictionary, no talking, letters or numbers are allowed.

Round Three – One word 
In this round, the players can only use one word to describe the word on the paper (obviously not the one on the paper! But usually a descriptive word gets connected to the piece of vocabulary at an earlier point in the game).

There could also be a charades round, where players act out the word, good for young learners or for energising tired adults!

These games are learner-centred and the words are chosen by the students not the teacher, making for a really meaningful and memorable review.

Party games for teachers by @CliveSir

Party games for teachers by @CliveSir at


Comments on: "Party games for vocabulary revision" (5)

  1. Franziska said:

    Hi Sandy, here’s another idea how you can ‘play with words’:

    give each student in your class 10 small pieces of (preferable colour) paper and ask them to write down a word / short expression on each one – without anybody noticing what they are writing! Then ask them to swap their piles of cards and get into pairs. In pairs, they now have to use the cards they got from another student and have a bit of a conversation (for example, about their holidays), all the while trying to incorporate the words on their cards without their partner noticing. If they’ve managed to successfully use a word, they score a point. They may challenge their partner if they think s/he is using a word/expression that is on a card, but only within 3 seconds after their partner has used it. If they challenge him/her wrongly, they lose a point. If they were right about their guess, they score a point.

    You can make this more difficult by telling students that they are not allowed to pause for longer than 5 seconds. This would put an additional dimension to the game, namely the challenge of speaking fluently.

    I quite like doing this activity either after or before a holiday to motivate my students to speak English. So far, I’ve got nothing but positive reactions to this game. Try it out yourself. I’m sure you’ll have just as much fun as your students 🙂


    • Hi Franziska,
      Thanks very much for that game. It’s excellent! I’ve just shared your comment on Twitter, so hopefully more people will use it too.


  2. Emi Slater said:

    Hi Sandy
    Finally made it to your blog. Love all the colourful and cheerful party game stuff. Really useful collection of games here. Great stuff.


  3. […] top of that Sandy is also very generous in providing space for guest posts on her blog and has featured a number of people who don’t have their own blog. […]


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