Health Board Game: Miming & Describing Symptoms (ESL)

ESL Level: Intermediate

Language Focus: Health and medicine-related vocabulary

Class Time: 45-60 minutes

Material: A die, cut up vocabulary cards, and a board game for each group of 3-4 students.

Game Downloadsymptoms-board-game-esl.docx

Activity Description

I spent two weeks teaching my class about over the counter (OTC) medication, prescription drugs, and common symptoms for illnesses. For fun, I created the below game to review.

Essentially, each student puts a piece on the board (e.g. a paper clip) to represent them. Then they move through the board by rolling a die. The first one to get home wins. Students can play in groups of three or four.

When they land on ‘act’, they have to pick a card (from a pile, which has the words face-down), and then act it out like charades. If they land on ‘describe’, they have to describe the condition (without saying the word on the paper, obviously).

If a player is able to elicit the word on the paper from his/her groupmates, s/he can stay on the square that s/he just landed on. Otherwise, s/he has to move back to his or her previous position. (Feel free to change the rules.)


  1. You’ll need to modify the below cards to match the vocabulary you have taught your class. It is doubtful that they will know the words are otherwise.
  2. There are at least 4 squares on the board that review other expressions my class had studied (e.g. the third last square). You’ll need to change these squares to something suitable for your students.

Board Game Preview

Cards for Acting & Describing

You feel faintYou are constipatedYou have a rash
You are dehydratedYou have heartburnYou have pins and needles
You have a stiff neckYour (face/throat/etc.) is swollenYou feel nauseous
You look paleYou have a sinus infectionYou are dizzy
Your (arm/face) is numbYou have hay feverYou have a runny nose
Your vision is blurryYou have hivesYou have a sore throat
Your lips are dry and cracked.You have fever and chills.You are drowsy
Your body aches.You have asthmaYou are pregnant

medical board game

Feel free to use or edit it to make it suit your English class.

– Matthew Barton / Creator:

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