I absolutely love playing ESL Uno. I honestly use it in as many classes as possible. Uno is an easy enough game that anyone can pick it up almost immediately and luckily almost all of your ESL students will all ready know how to play it.
I find that ESL UNO works best after using question cubes as a warm-up activity. That way your EFL students are already in the habit of asking and answering questions in English.
The game is simple. All you have to do is play UNO with it’s regular rules with one added caveat. Each time you play a card you have to ask a question in English. The next player in rotation then has to answer that question before playing their next card and asking a question of their own.
This game is basically a more advanced version of ESL Games #013 – Blue AGO. The reason this game is more advanced is because there are no longer any question prompts. Students are forced to use the English they’ve learned to formulate original questions and answers.
This game is ideal for between 2 and 5 players.
The only material required is a deck of UNO cards. If you don’t have a deck of UNO cards regular trump cards will work too.
A game can last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on ability, skill and luck.
- Shuffle the deck of UNO cards.
- Deal 5 or 7 cards to each player. When dealing 7 cards the game will typically last longer.
- Turn the top card of the deck over and have the player that goes first follow the color or the number of the card that was turned over.
- Every time a player throws a card they must ask a question to the next person in rotation.
- The next player has to answer that question and then ask a question of their own when they play their card.
- Players are allowed to play multiple cards with the same number or special value at the same time. E.g. you can play the red 5 and yellow five together.
- The object of this ESL Game is to get rid of all of your cards before any other player. Keep in mind there are various special cards in the deck that can either help you win or hurt your chances depending on when and how hey are used.
- If a players is unable to follow the color or number the previous player in rotation played they are then required to pick up an additional card from the draw pile. As an added rule I have students pick up a card when they are heard using their native languages. This works best when the students start telling on each other to enhance their own chances of winning.
- Players with only one card remaining are required to say “UNO”. If a player forgets to say “UNO” and is caught by another player before playing their last remaining card has to pick up 2 additional cards from the draw pile.
Like I said before. I absolutely love using this ESL Game as often as possible. As a teacher you should only offer soft correction rather than correcting every question and answer. By doing so you can guarantee that ESL UNO is fast, fun and educational.
If you’ve used ESL Uno or a game similar to it, let us know. We’d love to hear how it worked for you or if you have any suggestions that could help make this ESL Game even more fun.