ESL Games: Proverbial Wisdom

The Game: The object of Proverbial Wisdom is to introduce students to well-known sayings that either refer to common knowledge or give advice. Proverbs contain truth and can be applied to events and activities in our daily lives. The goal of the game is to guess the proverb that is represented in the student’s drawing.

Research Says: This game gives students a chance to “… learn, practice, and review specific language material” (How to Choose Games, Tyson, 2000).

What You Need
Large construction paper or poster board and colored markers or crayons for each student. Print a different proverb on the back of each paper. The students are to draw a picture on the front side of the paper without showing the proverb to anyone. Conference with each student individually as to the meaning of the proverb or play this game as a follow-up to a unit already studied on proverbs.

After the students complete the drawings, they write the first word of the proverb under the picture, then skip the next word and draw dash marks to represent the number of letters in the word instead, write the third word, then draw dash marks for the fourth word, etc. Double-check the students’ work before proceeding.

What You Do
Students take turns presenting their proverb to the class. They show the picture and read the words below indicating the spaces of the skipped words. The class members guess the proverb. The student who drew the picture uses the proverb in a sentence. Then this student calls on someone else to take a turn. The game continues until every student has had an opportunity to present a proverb.

How to Play

Show 1–2 proverb drawings with words and spaces here


Proverb            Eyes like an eagle
Meaning           Good eyesight


Proverb             Slow as a turtle
Meaning             Very slow


Read Marc’s other ESL Games posts. Marc’s previous blogs with TESOL as a guest blogger include the highly popular “Best Language Learning Games” series.

About Marc Anderson

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson is the CEO of online English training company that teaches English online to students around the world. During his free time he likes to read, travel and enjoy life.
This entry was posted in TESOL Blog and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to ESL Games: Proverbial Wisdom

  1. Majeedah Abdul hakim says:

    it’s a good way to teach proverbs, I’ll use it with my ASL students. thank you very much.

  2. Hello Sonia,

    It wasn’t written with a specific student age in mind so you’re good using this activity with any type of student. I know adults can learn and be just as involved as kids when more creative teaching is used.

  3. soniaverma says:

    Hi Marc!

    Thanks for your ESL Games: Proverbial Wisdom. I really liked the posted activity of introducing Proverbs to our students. It is quite innovative technique. Moreover, it increases the creative level of students. I would appreciate if you could specify the age group of the students who can make most out of this activity. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.