The special dates game


In the following lesson idea, students learn about bank holidays in the UK, design their own board game, practise saying dates in English and answer questions about dates that are important to them.


Level(s): (B1+) Intermediate


1. Warmer/What am I about to draw?

Start drawing a picture on the board, but only one line of it. Ask your students the following question:

What am I about to draw?

Students try to guess:

You´re about to draw: “a bridge”, “a square”, “a line”, etc.

Add the next line and ask the above question again. Keep doing this until someone have guessed what the picture is. Help if nesseccary:


Piggy bank (noun): A money box, typically one shaped like a pig.


Ask students if they know what a bank holiday is. Why do they think it´s called this way?

Bank holiday (noun): A day on which banks are officially closed, kept as a public holiday.


+/-5 min

2. Brainstorming/Bank holidays in the UK

Have students work in small groups and brainstorm different bank holidays in the UK. At the end of this activity, have the following image projected on the board:


At this point, ask your students about the difference between the way we write and say dates in English:

We write:

The most common way in British English is to write the day of the month first, then the month (starting with a capital letter) and then the year:

20 January 1993

14 November 2005

We say:

Sometimes the last two letters of the number as spoken can be used (th, rd, st, nd):

Today is the 7th September.

The grand opening is on 1st June. or … on June 1st.


Have students work in pairs and ask each other about bank holidays in the UK:

a) What´s on the 2nd of April?

b) It´s Easter Monday! etc.

You can find more information about bank holidays in the UK at the following link:

+/-10 min

3. Make your own board game!

Have students work in groups (3 to 5) and give each student a set of 5 pieces of coloured paper (one colour per person). Ask them to write one date that is important to them on each piece of paper. Explain that the most common way in British English is to write the day of the month first, then the month (starting with a capital letter).


Have students who finish first write some typical board game squares:



Have all dates mixed together when they have finished.

Have students stick their squares on a large piece of card:


+/- 20 min

4. Game/Asking questions about the past

Have students play the game (they need a counter each to move on the board and dice).

If they land on their question, other players ask them questions about the date:

What happened on ____________? (the 1st of January) or

What happened on that date?

Where did it happen?

Who were you with?

Why did it happen? etc.

If they land on other player´s question, they ask the question!

Students adjust their questions as appropriate. Monitor closely and help out if necessary. You might want to make a note of some of the mistakes you hear for the feedback/error correction session. Listen out for very good uses of language, too!

If one of the players lands on the same square again, students ask some additional questions about this event.

The first person to reach the FINISH square is the winner!


+/- 35 min

5. Homework/follow-up activity

Ask students to make a list of bank holidays in their countries.

Have students work in pairs and start your next lesson with a quick guessing game to further practise saying the dates. Students ask each other about the bank holidays in their countries:

a) What´s on _________ ?

b) It´s ________________ .

a) How is it celebrated? etc.

What is the advantage of playing a game that students have made?

Here are some of the comments my B1 students made (in original):


What do you think? I look forward to receiving your comments!

Happy creating!




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