ESL Vocabulary Activity Based on Taboo: Food


ESL Taboo Cards:Food and Kitchen

Level: Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate
Time: 5-30min
Skills: Speaking, Listening
Topic: Food
PDF: Forbidden Words: Food

Six page PDF vocabulary activity. 60 cards, more than 200 words.

Free sample version: Forbidden Words Food Sample


Click on the picture below to buy our other communicative activities.

ESL Picture Storytelling Activity

ESL picture storytelling activity


Level: Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate
Time:  5-15min.
Skills: speaking
Topic: travel, environment, stories, relationships, art
Download the PDF here.

This storytelling activity is suitable for various levels because students create their own stories using the vocabulary and grammar they feel comfortable using. At the same time, they can show how well they can use a wide range of vocabulary and phrases and also if they can use more complex grammar structures.

More speaking activities:

ESL Communication Activity: Science Role Plays

ESL Pair Work Activity: Teenager Issues

Agree or disagree (and why?)

ESL Teaching Idea: Class Speaking Activity

ESL Speaking Activity Worksheet: Business Plan

I’ve Told You Once, I’ve Told You a Thousand Times, Resist Hyperbole.

You’ve probably come across a couple of articles that shared
some funny grammar rules  such as:

“Verbs has to agree with their subjects.”


“Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!!”

I found the original list written by William Safir and published
in 1979 in the New York Times.

Years later they were shared on the internet and became a sort of a meme.
The rules are funny and brilliant, and I think they can be used in any
ESL/EFL class as perfect examples of common grammar mistakes.

So here’s a little activity that you can do with your higher level students.

Download the worksheet>>>Funny Grammar Rules Activity

Other resources:

ESL Communication Activity: Science Role Plays

ESL Game Compound Nouns Dominoes: Town and Countryside

ESL Pair Work Activity: Teenager Issues

ESL Speaking Activity Worksheet: Business Plan

ESL Speaking Activity: Conditional Discussion Questions

ESL Teaching Idea: Class Speaking Activity

Level: Upper Intermediate, Advanced

Age: 16+

 Monolingual classes of ESL/EFL                                                                                             

This activity is great for practising fluency and improvising.

1) Tell each student to chose a topic they know a lot about, are passionate about and can talk about it for hours. Give them 5minutes to prepare a short lecture/presentation in their NATIVE language. They can only write brief notes/bullet points. Don’t tell them more at this stage.

2) When they are ready, tell them that they are going to present their lecture/presentation at an international conference, but unfortunately, they don’t speak English so they will need an interpreter. (Explain that they will interpret consecutively.)

3) Put Ss in pairs and explain that they will interpret each other’s presentations. Give them 5-10minutes so they can familiarize themselves with the topic and important vocabulary that will be used in the presentation. At this stage, they can use the notes they previously prepared.

4) The conference starts! The first pair of students gets on stage ( in front of their classmates). The speaker starts their presentation and after every couple of sentences pauses so the interpreter can repeat what was said in the target language. At this stage don’t correct the Ss, let them speak and write notes so you can provide feedback later.

5) Don’t let them speak longer than  5 minutes. If time allows, you can let the audience ask follow-up questions which will need to be translated from L2 into L1 and then the answer back from L1 to L2.

6) After everyone had their turn, provide feedback on the mistakes they made and don’t forget to praise them!


Download this activity in a PDF file.

Class Speaking Activity

More speaking activities:

ESL Speaking Activity Worksheet: Business Plan

ESL Group Speaking Activity: Language Centre Simulation

ESL Speaking Activity: Conditional Discussion Questions

ESL Speaking Activity: Business English Role Plays

No-prep Speaking Activity: Warmer And Filler For ESL Classes

Conversation Questions Conditionals: ESL Speaking Activity

Conversation Questions Conditionals: First, Second, Third Conditional

First Conditional

  1. If you don’t go to work tomorrow, what will happen?
  2. What will you do if it rains tomorrow?
  3. What will you do if you learn perfect English?
  4. What will you do if a colleague is rude to you?
  5. What will you do when you retire?
  6. What will happen when we continue polluting the Earth?
  7. What will happen if stop using plastic bags?
  8. What will happen if______________________?
  9. What will you do if______________________?
Looking for more activities? Try 120 Conversation Starters and One-Minute Talk activity.

Second Conditional

  1. What would you do if an alien from outer space landed their spaceship in your
  2. garden?
  3. If there suddenly was no internet, how would the world change?
  4. How would you spend $100 000 in 12 hours?
  5. What would you do if you could fly?
  6. If could go on holiday anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  7. If somebody hit you in the face, what would you do?
  8. If you survived a plane crash in the jungle, how long would you survive?
  9. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be?
  10. If it was possible, would you like to have your own clone?
  11. What would you do if_____________________________?
  12. What would happen if_____________________________?

Third Conditional

  1. If you had been born in a different country, what would have been different in your life?
  2. What would you have done if you had found out you were a lost child of a European monarch and a successor to the throne?
  3. How would your life have been different if you had been growing up with 9 siblings?
  4. If you could have studied something else, what would that have been?
  5. How would your life have changed if you had done something different that one time?
  6. What would have happened last weekend if you had partied all night long?
  7. If you had been born as a child of a Hollywood celebrity, how would your childhood have been different?
  8. If you had been born Quasimodo, how would your life have changed?
  9. If you had been born with 6 fingers on each hand, how would that have changed your life?
  10. What would have happened if_____________________________________?
  11. What would you have done if______________________________________?

Download here>>>>>Conditionals Speaking Activity

Other speaking activities:

ESL Speaking Activity: Business English Role Plays

No-prep Speaking Activity: Warmer And Filler For ESL Classes

32 Inspirational And Creative Job Interview Questions For ESL/Business English Students

ESL/EFL Speaking Activity: Role Play Debate

Group Activity For ESL/EFL Classes: Famous Stories With A Twist!

My students love creative activities, especially the younger kids and teenagers are always thrilled when we play a game or do some acting. I did this activity with students from 14 to 19 years. It was always a success. The best thing is, there is almost no prep and you can do it the whole lesson, or shorter versions as a warm-up.

This activity is a cross of telling a story, inventing your own and acting. I use famous stories with three or more characters so the kids can work in small groups. Then I assign the story and let them draw a card with a specific genre.

So, for example, we can have the story of Shrek and the genre is a documentary. We have three main characters: Shrek, Fiona, Donkey. If needed we could add one extra character: Gingerbread Man, or Puss in Boots. Then I give the students some time to prepare, usually  10 minutes. After that, they take turns in acting their stories, as a theatre troupe :).

You can download the activity with my stories here or prepare your own, using stories well known in your culture.

Download >>>>>>>>  Stories with a Twist

Extra activity: if your students don’t know the stories or the characters in the stories, don’t tell them. Let them use their phones or school computers to do their own research.

Online Vocabulary Activity With Pictures.

I want to share with you a fun activity which I found on the website of the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It is called Name That Thing, and that is exactly what you do. They show you a picture of an everyday object or a part of it and you have to choose the correct word. Sometimes, the object is not that familiar, like for example flying buttress

You will have 15 seconds to guess each word and the faster you are the higher the points. The game is a lot of fun and a great way how to learn new vocabulary.

There are also many other games, quizzes, crosswords, and puzzles. Have fun!

Some more vocabulary activities for ESL students  >>>Travel/Holiday Vocabulary CardsMedia/Entertainment Vocabulary Card Game Based on TabooBusiness English Vocabulary Card Game | Forbidden Words,

Business English Vocabulary Card Game | Forbidden Words

Forbidden Words is a game card activity based on Taboo. The aim of the game is to explain given words, but without those words that you would most likely use because those are taboo – that means, you can’t use them. The simplicity of this game allows for endless variations and you can use it to teach any vocabulary you wish. This is a Business English Vocabulary game for adults and teenagers.

This version contains 27 cards, each with 5 words, which gives you together 105 words you can use for teaching or revision with your students.

Each card contains one keyword (the word you have to explain) and 4 forbidden words which may not be used when explaining the keyword. If it is too difficult to explain the keyword without using forbidden words, you can allow your students to use one or more of the forbidden words.

Download  >>>> Business Vocabulary Card Game I Forbidden Words

Download Travel card game >>>>Travel&Holidays

Download Media card game >>>>Media Card Game

Make Game Quizzes For ESL Lessons

My younger students are very competitive and playful, and I love that about them. It is great to see that they are engaged and immersed in the activity, that they are having fun; and that they don’t even realise they are learning.

I am always in need of new resources, games, flash cards, you name it! Sometimes, I make my own, you can download them here: Media Card GameRestaurant Menu Pair Work,  Travel&Holidays Card GameRole plays- Travel. Another time, I happily turn to many online resources an ESL teacher can use. The one I recently used to revise reported speech, is Jeopardy Labs. It is an online template builder which allows you to build customised jeopardy (or a basic quiz game) template. It has a very simple, intuitive editor and when you have no time to build your own, you can browse games created by other people.  I got tons of results when I searched for reported speech and there are plenty of quizzes on other subjects, too!

I haven’t written the best part yet; you can create up to 12 teams, you can download the game and play it later directly from your web browser (so no internet needed for playing the game), it counts the points automatically (you just click the green plus button, or red minus button). Each game has 5 categories and from 100 to 500 points which you can assign according to the question difficulty. It has a clean, simple design, it is absolutely easy to use and I love it. Try it too and let me know what you think!

Exit mobile version