My top five games with no preparation

I love no preparation games. They can be used in many situations like for example as a warm-ups or time fillers. We play them very often and my students love them as well. If you don't have any idea what to do with remaining 10 minutes of the lesson these games are absolutely perfect for that situation. Today I want to share with you my top 5.

1. Don't roll the bomb

I learned this game during my teaching practice and I liked it a lot! The teacher who taught me this game didn't actually give me its name so I called it Don't roll the bomb. You probably know it. All you need is a dice. You can practice anything you want with this game. I use it very often to revise vocabulary.

Students play in two or three teams. However, it's better to play it with two teams. I inform my students which number of the dice is a bomb. One representative from each team rolls the dice. After each roll the team's task is to perform the task I give them. If they manage, the are given the number of points as the rolled number. If the student rolls the number assigned to the bomb, they switch points with another group. 

2. Hot potato

I already wrote about this game so you can read the rules here. You can use the cards I prepared for you but if you don't have them you can use just some pieces of paper or bottle caps instead.

3. Pass the bomb

This is a very simple, entertaining game to revise some vocabulary items. All you need is a plastic bag or a hat and your mobile phone. You can of course use the bomb from the original game (see picture below). 

How to play? Set the timer in your mobile phone. At the beginning of the game, when there are a lot of students, I set it for 1 minute. When there are a few students left I set the timer for half a minute. Additionally, establish a vocabulary category. Give the bomb to one  of the students and explain that he/she can pass the bomb unless he/she says a word in English from a given category. The words cannot repeat. The student who holds the bomb while exploding sits outside the circle. The game continues until there is one student left.

4. Pass the marker

This is a great game for kids who can already write. I use it to practice vocabulary but it can be used for some phrases as well. I found it on

First, divide your class into two teams. Ask them to stand in two lines facing the board. 
Say or point to a word on the board and say "Go". Each student says the word while at the same time passing it down the line. The last students run up to the board to write and say it. Give a point to the first one to say it correctly. They then go to the front of the line. Continue.

Watch the video:

5. Word tennis

Another engaging and nail-biting game my students like playing. I found it some time ago on

Divide the class into 2 halves. Write the team names on either side of the board at the top. Leave a space in the middle of the board to write a list of categories. Write the first category [for example, animals]. Have the students read this to you, if they can't read it yet, you can read it to them. Repeated exposure to the category names will help them recognize them.
Point quickly to the first student. The student must respond with an animal name within a few seconds. Then the 'ball' bounces to the other team, and the first student quickly gives the name of another animal. Then the second student on the other team answers.
This game must be done quickly, and without any repetition of vocabulary. When a student cannot answer, a point is given to the opposing team, and a new category is written on the board. The whole process is then repeated. Ideally this game should be a fast review of vocabulary items.
The very first time you do this activity, the students may need some help. However, once they are familiar with it, then it should become faster. Any categories can be used from vegetables to verbs, and places in the city to parts of the body. Sometimes teachers stop using TEFL games like this when the children know animals, fruit and other simple vocabulary. However, this English teaching game can also be used to teach more advanced vocabulary categories [for example things that melt, personality types...] can be used.

What are your favorite no preparation games? ;) Write about them in comments below.