10 Activities with Dice to Use in your ESL/EFL Classroom

10 Activities with Dice to Use in your ESL/EFL Classroom

As ESL/EFL teachers, we are always looking for new and engaging activities to spice up our classrooms!  The following activities all require dice and can be adapted for all English levels and many topics being covered in class. 

How Do I Plan Lessons for my English Students?

Basic Questions

This is an activity I like doing within the first couple of classes with a new group.  It's a good review of basic questions.  I write the answers on the board as follows, and the students must write the questions down in their notebook.  After checking as a class, they will then work in pairs to practice asking and answering these questions depending on the roll of the die.  For instance, if I roll a 2, I will ask my partner, "How old are you?"  My partner must answer the question before rolling for his turn.  Adjust the difficulty of the questions for your students' level! 

                1- ______________?  Stephanie

                2-______________?  33 years old

                3-______________?  September 9

                4-______________?  New York              

                5-______________?  volleyball

                6-______________?  Red

Speaking Topics

This is a good warm up, filler or speaking activity.  Depending on the timeframe available for this activity, it can be executed in a number of ways.  As a quick warm up, for instance, I have the topics written on the board and the students work in pairs.  One student rolls the die and must speak for one minute (adjust the time for the level as needed) about the indicated topic.  Then the second student would do the same, speaking for one minute about the new topic rolled.

As a group discussion, one student will roll the die to choose the topic for the class.  When the topic is exhausted, another student will roll for the next topic to be discussed.  Choose topics that are of interest to your students or have the students create the list!

                1- Food



                4- Healthy living



Conjugating Verbs

To give your students lots of practice with verbs, you can play this quick game.  Write on the board or give the students a list of verbs that they have been working with in class, the subject pronouns numbered one through six, plus one die.  Students will roll the die to know how they must conjugate the verb.  For instance, if my class is working with Present Simple, student A rolls a 3 and looks at the first verb on the list, which is "sing."  Therefore, her answer would be "She sings."  Student B then rolls a 2 and has the verb "dance," so he says, "You dance."  You can play this game with any tense:  Past Simple, Negative verbs in the Present, Present Perfect etc. 







Any Grammar Concept

Really, this concept can be adapted to work with any grammar concept.  It works well with interrogative words, phrasal verbs, prepositions, reported speech, passive voice and the list goes on and on.  Simply put six items related to the grammar concept on the board like the following.  Students then roll to see with which word they have to create a sentence.







If I do this activity with the Passive Voice, I put six verbs in the list:  write, eat, cook, make, etc., and the students must create a sentence that uses the indicated verb as the past participle.  For instance, if the student rolls a 4, she could say, "The cake was made by my dad."  This activity also works great for a review of multiple tenses.  For instance, 1-Present Simple, 2-Present Continuous, 3-Past Simple, 4-Past Continuous, 5-Present Perfect, 6-Present Perfect Continuous.  Students simply need to give an appropriate example for the tense rolled.

Minimal Pairs

Minimal pairs are words that vary by one slight sound difference, which makes them challenging to comprehend and produce for ESL/EFL students.   For example:  sit and seat, ship and chip, berry and very.  Choose three sets of minimal pairs to number one through six like the following.  Without showing anyone what number they roll, students take turn rolling one die and pronouncing the indicated word.  The other students must say the number they believe the other student said.  To make it even more challenging, you could create a list like column B.   



More difficult



Descriptive Sentences

This activity requires very little preparation and is good for practice of basic vocabulary concepts like colors, physical descriptions, personality adjectives, and prepositions of location.  If the lesson on is on prepositions, for example, students must give X number of descriptive sentences depending on the number rolled.  For instance, if I roll a 3, I could say, "The book is on the table.  The light is above the table.  Our feet are under the table." 

Letter Game

This is a great warm up activity for all levels!  To increase student talking time, we suggest playing this game in pairs.  Student A will roll two dice (or one die two times) to see what letter he or she is working with and how many words he or she must come up with that start with that letter.  For example, if I roll a 4 and a 5, I must come up with 5 words that start with the letter "R."   Then student B will then do the same. 


Number of Words


Vocabulary Review

As ESL/EFL teachers, we are always looking for new and interesting ways to review vocabulary learned in class.  This activity works well in pairs and is a good way to assess how our students are progressing with the new vocabulary.  Depending on the roll of the die, the students must demonstrate their knowledge of a particular word or phrase.

                1-Give the definition

                2-Use synonyms to describe

                3-Use antonyms to describe

                4-Act out the word

                5-Draw the word

                6-Spell the word

Analyze a text/Respond to a text

Appropriate for students working on their reading skills, this activity can be adapted in a couple of different ways.  One focuses on the content of the text, while the other focuses on the students' reactions to the text.  You could implement one or both, depending on the objective of your lesson!  The questions are currently written for a narrative or short story, but could be modified for a non-fiction piece.

Analysis of the Text

Opinion of the Text

1-Who are the main characters?
1- Would you recommend this story to a friend?  Why?
2-Who is the narrator of the story?
2- What was your favorite part of the story?
3-When does the story take place?
3- Who was your favorite character?
4- Where does the story take place?
4-What did you learn from this story?
5-What is the problem/conflict in the story?
5-What is one thing you would change about the story?
6-How does the story end?
6-What is one thing you would ask the author of this story?

Build a Story

Good for Intermediate and above ESL/EFL students, this activity requires you to use something like the following table, or create your own guidelines, to give students the basic information to create their own story.  This could be an activity done orally as an entire class or a writing assignment in pairs.  It is a good practice of tenses referring to the past and descriptive writing. 

For each of the three headings, the students must roll a die to determine which item they must use.  For instance, when looking at the setting, if my partner and I roll a 3, we must use the jungle as the setting of our story.


Main Character


1-A volcano
1-An old woman
2-The middle of the ocean
2-A young boy
3-The jungle
3-An English teacher
4-The rapids of a river
4-A foreign tourist
5-San Jose
5-A married couple
5-Science Fiction
6-The beach
6-A teenage girl

Looking for more ideas for your classroom?  Talk to us today about taking our 4-week TEFL training in Costa Rica!              

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