ESL Teaching Materials: Fun Filler

ESL Teaching Materials

Quick filler activities serve a purpose in ESL classes. They sustain interest by providing a short break during long stretches of concentrated study. They also fill a gap near the end of class. Here’s a terrific 5-minute game that works great with elementary and middle school students.

Game Overview

This fun filler is a variation of the Bomb Game. It needs some lamented cards with numbers and the word BOMB. It works best with 2 to 4 people and takes about 5 minutes to play.

There’s a small amount of English language learning and production in this activity: listen to the teacher’s explanation of the rules, speak in short sentences with possessives and pronounce numbers.


Creating the game cards takes a few minutes. Once completed, you’ve got a no-prep game that can be used over and over.

Here’s what you need:

  • the card sheet (click here to print the file)
  • 3-4 sheets of colored A4 paper. Dark colors, like black, blue or red, work well.
  • 6-8 sheets of A4 transparent sticky coating paper (laminating paper)
  1. Print the card sheet on white paper.
  2. Cut out the game cards.
  3. Cut squares with the colored paper. Each square should be bigger than the white game cards.
  4. Place a sheet of sticky paper on the table. Place colored background paper on sticky coating. Then place numbered game cards on colored squares.
  5. Place a second sheet of sticky paper on top to create sealed cards.
  6. Cut colored cards into uniform shapes.

Game Play

Mix cards face down on the table.

  1. One student starts and draws a card.
  2. Before looking at the card, the student says he/she will keep it or give it to one other student. Students might say, “Its mine” or “It’s Jack’s.”
  3. If he/she keeps it, the card is turned over and is used to start his/her column.
  4. If he/she gives it to another student, the card is turned over and it’s used to start a column.
  5. Each person’s cards are placed in order of draw in a single column.
  6. Play continues until each person has 5 cards in a column.
  7. When everyone has 5 cards, game play is over.
  8. Each students totals their points.
  9. The person with the highest score is the winner.

What does the BOMB card do?

Some students will get a BOMB card. The BOMB card erases all prior points in the column.

  • If the BOMB card is the fifth card in a column, all points are deleted for that student.
  • If the BOMB card is the first card, no points are erased.
  • If, for example, the BOMB card is 3rd in the column, the points given in the first and second cards in the column are deleted, but the student can keep any points that come after the BOMB card.

Pile of Bomb Cards
piel of cards ESL teaching materials new bomb game

5 Cards in a Column

Need more ideas?

Try a conversation game based on watching a video.

Get a lesson format and a couple of short ESL video ideas here.

Need more video choices?

Save time. Teach well.

Cut your lesson prep time with this colossal collection of ESL resources that stimulate language learning and critical thinking. Simplify your lesson planning because teaching should be a joy, not a chore.toolbox-front-cover-3d-book-8-8

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1 thought on “ESL Teaching Materials: Fun Filler

  1. We can also have this game to revise vocabulary and in the end the student has to create one story using the words of his colunm.

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