Author: Deb Bullock | Published on 1 October 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

Bingo! is a fun game that you can use to review and practise vocabulary, grammar or pronunciation. It’s a good activity to use at the start of the lesson to energise your learners and review language from previous lessons. You can use it with any subject, not only English.

Stage 1: Prepare

Make a list of 12–15 words on the board from a recent topic, e.g. animals.

Draw a simple grid with nine squares on the board. Ask: ‘How many squares are there?’ 

Stage 2: Introduce

Say: ‘Let’s play a game. Let’s play Bingo! Copy the grid in your books’ (or on a piece of paper). Check learners have done this, and their grids have nine squares.

Say: ‘Choose nine words from the wordlist. Write one word in each square. Don’t copy your friend. Choose different words.’ Monitor and check learners have nine words. 

Say: ‘To win, you need to cross off three words in a line. The line can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal’ Show learners the three ways to win on the board.

Example grid:

giraffe elephant cow
dog lion dolphin
cat fish hippo

Say: ‘When you have a line, shout, “Bingo!”’

Stage 3: Play

Give the meaning of one of the words on the board, e.g. ‘It is brown and yellow and it has a very long neck.’ Elicit the answer (giraffe). Ask: ‘Is “giraffe” on your bingo card? Cross it off.’ (Show them by crossing off ‘giraffe’ on the wordlist)

Repeat with other words on the wordlist until someone shouts ‘Bingo!’ Look at the winning card(s) to check the crossed off words are correct. Clap the winner(s).


  1. Continue the game until a player crosses off all nine words on the grid. 
  2. With very young learners, just say the word, e.g. ‘giraffe’ (don’t say the meaning). Learners focus on sound and spelling and identify the words. 
  3. Write a list of 20 words on the board and draw a grid with 16 squares. This will make the game longer. 
  4. Pronunciation: Write a list of words with different vowel sounds on the board, e.g. group, caught, mouth, etc. Say the sounds, e.g. ‘oo’, ‘or’, ‘ow’, etc. Learners cross off the matching words.
  5. Grammar: Write a list of irregular verbs on the board, e.g. stand, tell, etc. Learners choose nine. Say the past tense of the verbs, e.g. stood, told, etc. Learners cross off the matching verb. Write a list of adjectives, e.g. ‘good’ and say the superlatives, e.g. ‘best’. Or write a list of adjectives, e.g. ‘hard’ and say the opposite, e.g. ‘soft’, etc.

Stage 4: Play in groups

Put learners in groups of 4–6. Say: ‘You will play again. Two will explain; the others will play. Choose who will explain and who will play.’ 

Check each group has two explainers. Say: ‘Hands up, explainers. Hands up, players.’

Say: ‘Players, draw a new grid and write nine words. Explainers, don’t look; turn around.’

Say: ‘Players, keep your grid secret.’ (Show them how to hide their grid behind their book.)

Say: ‘Explainers, are you ready? Play Bingo!”’ Monitor and support.


The explainers copy the 12 words onto small pieces of paper. They put them in a bag or fold them and mix them on the desk. Then they choose them at random.   

Stage 5: Extend and share

Stop learners after 10 minutes.

Ask who won. 

Clap the winners. 

Ask if they enjoyed playing Bingo!

Learners can also work in pairs or groups to choose lists of words for their classmates: at the end of a unit or before a test, give different pairs or groups a different topic and ask them to make a wordlist to test their classmates.   With time, you will find new ways to use Bingo! with your learners to practise different language and grammar.


Elicit: How a teacher gets information from learners, e.g. asking questions, prompting.

Grid: a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines that cross each other to make a set of squares

Monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task.

Random: casual order

Unit: A smaller part of something big (e.g. a section of a book).