Salad Bowl game for language classes

This is a game that I learned from my sister back in college! It is super fun to play with friends and works well in the language classroom as a PAT game; just make sure that you play with students that have enough language for Round 1.


First, divide the players into two teams and have them sit alternating, so that no one is next to his/her team members.

Next, all players will write down a word or phrase (three words or less — the chair, running with knives, cream cheese carton, etc.) on a slip of paper and fold it in half. All players place the papers into a salad bowl. If the whole class is playing, one paper per person is enough. If you are playing with smaller numbers, each person could add two, three, or four phrases to the salad bowl).

Plays like “Catch Phrase”. The first person grabs a slip of paper out of the salad bowl and describes it using any word other than the ones written on the paper to his/her teammates. Person #1 has 30 seconds to get his/her team to guess as many of the phrases as possible. If a team cannot guess a word before time runs out, the word is returned to the salad bowl. Then, the next person (team #2) does the same thing. Play continues around the circle until all papers are gone.

Return all papers to the salad bowl. Play the same way, but the clue can only be ONE WORD. Everyone has seen all of the phrases before, so you are using memory and deduction to figure them out this time. 30 seconds to get as many as you can.

Return all papers to the salad bowl. Play like Charades–no words, only gestures. Again, everyone has seen all phrases twice before. 30 seconds to get as many as possible.

One point per word guessed correctly in each round.

1. You could play with phrases in L2 but clues in English for lower levels, although that ruins the circumlocution practice!
2. You could place restrictions on the vocabulary: nouns, verbs, animals, feelings, people in the school, etc.
3. The teacher could choose the salad bowl words from words/phrases that you’ve targeted in class

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