Jimmy Fallon to the cool rescue – language games for adults

Language games from The Tonight Show in your lesson? Yes, yes, yes! This is how you can surprise your adult students!

Phew, it’s hot … No, it is not a line from “The Locomotive”, Julian Tuwim’s famous poem for children, I am simply stating the obvious . It is scorching hot outside and we are at school wiping our weary brows. We need refreshment and here comes – Jimmy Fallon, a host of The Tonight Show, famous for games and sketches with guest participants. “Water War” would be the best game in this weather, but you can’t go round throwing glasses of water on people at school. We have to stick to his language games and, with those temperatures, it will not be difficult. If you teach adults, use these games in your language lessons and if you work with children or teenagers, they may come in handy during form period.

“Box of Lies”, or true or false?

To play this game, you need a collection of funny, unusual objects (have your students bring them) which you place in separate boxes, e.g. a doll in a bowl full of sweets, an apple with a bow tied around it, etc. Two players sit opposite each other. They are separated by a cardboard “wall” with a small window so that they can see each other through it. A player opens one of the mystery boxes, takes out an object and describes it. They can either lie about it or tell the truth . The other player’s task is to guess if they are telling the truth. You can ask additional questions to throw the player off balance.

„Word Sneak”, or mastering the art of conversation

In this game, two players receive five cards each with different words / phrases on them. The cards are placed face down in front of them and the words from the cards must be said in a conversation as seamlessly and casually as possible. Players do not reveal the word; they simply put the card aside once they have used it and then take another card.  An additional challenge could be asking players / other group members to guess their opponents’ words.  If you decide to follow this format, put all the words for one player on one card;  it will make guessing more challenging. 

“Three-Word Stories”, or a shared tale

Just like in  “Word Sneak”, each of the two players receives word cards. They take turns to tell a story, but they can only use three words at a time. There’s a mystery word that Player 1 tries to get Player 2 to say within the story the two are telling. If you find it too difficult for your students, increase the number of words they can use.

“Shouting Charades,” or puns without gestures

In classic charades,  you must show all words with gestures. In this game

you describe these gestures, e.g. “I’m holding three fingers up” means there will be three words, “I’m moving my hips and I’m holding two fingers up” means that the second word is ‘to dance’. You have to present a kind of a narrative for someone who cannot see you for some reason and, of course, without revealing the keywords.

“True Confessions,” or catch me lying again

There are three players in this game, but you can play in pairs, too. Each player places two confessions in two envelopes (or simply on cards) – one true and one false. One player reads the confession from the envelope picked by the other players, who  have about a minute to “interrogate” the player to determine whether the confession is true. If you want, you can give students more time  for “interrogation”. Make sure students’ true confessions are those their classmates do not know about.


Author: Ewa Torebko

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