Upcycling board games

Cupboard full of board games gathering dust? Here are just a few ways to give them a new life in the languages classroom.
Guess Who

This classic game is perfect for a unit on describing people. In my first year I busily scanned and laminated multiple sets of the character cards but then didn’t make good use of them until this past term. There are a number of possibilities for using the game as either a game or a learning resource.
Most obviously, you could just allow the students to play the game but in their second language. This allows for practise of vocabulary for body parts, colours and other adjectives, use of pronouns and sentence structure. Alternatives I have used the character cards for include:

  1. Paired work where one student describes the character they have chosen and the other draws that character.
  2. Students write clues about their characters appearance and I (or another student) guess who they chose.
  3. Giving students written clues to translate into English and then say who they think it is.


This is an awesome idea I spotted on Twitter that I would be keen to try out. All the blocks are numbered and correspond with a sheet of questions or sentences to translate. If the question is answered correctly the block is kept as a point, if not it is put back on the tower. The game ends when the tower falls and the winner is the person with the most blocks.
Dice and playing cards

I feel like there are far too many possibilities to list here for old playing cards and dice. A quick web search will give you more ideas than you will ever need, all you need then is time to use them!
Do you have any other suggestions for reusing old boardgames? I’d love to know if and how others have given old games a second chance in the classroom.


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