Contact Katharine Hutchinson for further information about this technique

Taboo Taboo cards image

You will need to create a set of taboo cards (or get students to do this) before playing.

This game promotes creative thinking and encourages students to play with vocabulary. It can be used to reinforce key terms. 

Instructions for students:

Work with a partner.

Shuffle the cards and then place them face down in a pile between you.

When you are ready to play, start the clock.

The first person takes a card. They must not show it to their partner. They must define the word at the top of the card without using any of the taboo words at the bottom of the card.

As soon as the word is guessed, swap roles and repeat.

How many key words can you guess correctly in 10 minutes? Keep a record of your score. Prizes are available for the pair with the highest score.


Play against the clock in each round, rather than playing for 10 minutes.

Play ‘backwards taboo’ – try to guess the keyword from the list of taboo words.

Once students have played the game that you have created, encourage them to create their own taboo cards for a different topic.


The template can be downloaded here