ESL Games: Name 5

The Game: Name “5” is a highly motivating game that provides amusement and interest while giving practice to vocabulary and speaking skills. This game encourages students to interact and communicate.

Research Says: It has been proven that “…learning vocabulary through games is one effective and interesting way that can be applied in any classroom. Games such as this are used for practice and review of language lessons, thus leading toward the goal of improving learners’ communicative competence” (Asian EFL Journal, Dec. 2003, N. Thi Thank Huyen & K. Thi Thu Nga).


  1. 36 index cards
  2. Assorted colored markers to write the game cards
  3. Tokens for individual players
  4. Die
  5. 1 minute timer
  6. Dictionaries (optional)


How to Play

  1. Shuffle the cards and place them face down in a large square on a table.

There will be 10 cards forming each side of the square.

  1. Put the tokens below the 1st card on the left-hand side, near the bottom.
  2. Students take turns rolling the die, counting the flashcards according to the number on the die (1-6), turning that card over, and answering the question within the allotted time.
  3. The goal is to move around the square.
  4. If the given answer is correct, the token is moved to that card (1-6 from where the token began) and the card is placed face-up with the token on top of it.
  5. If the answer is incorrect, the token is not moved, the card remains face-down, and play continues with the next player.
  6. The game concludes when the first person goes all around the square and passes the end card (which is the 1st card on the bottom-left) with a correct answer.
  7. Students can use dictionaries when it is their turn. However, there is a 1-minute time limit allotted per question.
  8. Students who land on a card that is already face-up (i.e. one that has been successfully answered) must give 5 new answers, different from the answers given by the first person who landed on it.

How to Make ItUntitled5

  1. The teacher and/or the class brainstorms ideas for the Name “5” game cards. Each idea is written in a colored marker on an index card.
  2. The ideas consist of naming five of something, like 5 wild animals, 5 occupations, 5 fruits, 5 vegetables, 5 past presidents, etc. This is an opportunity to add vocabulary categories that have been worked on in class and/or those that need review.
  3. The cards are arranged in a square on a table for students to see.
  4. If needed, the teacher can keep track of correct answers, so these are not repeated when someone else lands on the same spot.


  1. The game can be played with any number of cards in the square.
  2. Depending on the level and ability of the students, the number of required responses can be changed.
  3. Students can work in pairs or small groups to collectively come up with answers.
  4. The questions along the square can be repeated.
  5. Rule #9 does not need to be followed. Students who land on a card that is already face-up do not need to name different answers. They can repeat any number of responses to make up the required number of correct answers.
  6. The time limit per turn can be adjusted to allow more time for responses or for researching in a dictionary.


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.

4 Responses to ESL Games: Name 5

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I want to subscribe for this weblog to take latest updates, so where can i do it please help.

    • Tomiko Breland Tomiko Breland says:

      Hi! So glad you find the TESOL blog useful. You can subscribe by going to the homepage ( and submitting your email address in the left-hand column where it says, “Subscribe to TESOL Blog.”

  2. Fantastic post but I was wondering if you could write a litte
    more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Appreciate it!

  3. John OConnorf says:

    Marc…This is a gold mine. Thanks ever so much for sharing all these nuggets!

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.