This is a great game to revise vocabulary and you can use it with any age group and any level by changing the category headings.

Jo Budden

It really gets students focused and working on tasks as a team and can be a saviour to fill the last ten minutes of a class when you have run out of ideas!


  • Put the students into teams of three or four.
  • Draw on the board a table like the ones below and get each team to copy it onto a piece of paper.
  • Students simply have to think of one item to go in each category beginning with the set letter. Give an example line of answers for the first time you play with a new group.
  • The first team to finish shouts 'Stop the bus!'
  • Check their answers and write them up on the board and if they are all OK, that team wins a point. If there are any mistakes in their words, let the game continue for another few minutes.
  • If it gets too difficult with certain letters (and you can't think of one for each category), reduce the amount of words they have to get. You can say 'OK, for this round you can stop the bus with four columns.'


  animals colours food clothes countries sports
T tiger turquoise tuna trousers Tunisia tennis

For higher levels change the category headings. For example:

  something in the kitchen something in the living room something in the bedroom something in the bathroom something in the office something in the garden
S spices sofa sheet soap staples seat

Or, for even higher levels:

  something made of metal something made of glass something made of plastic something made of wood something made of material
B bike bottle bin bench belt
Language Level


Submitted by nhskate on Thu, 11/24/2022 - 01:49

I loved this activity. Here we have a name for this game, bachillerato. Thanks!

Submitted by IrynaBerezna on Tue, 09/21/2021 - 19:06

Thank you so much for this game

Submitted by MissManda on Fri, 02/19/2016 - 21:26

I haven't done this with categories but might give it a go with some of my lower ability students but, I do a variation with building silly sentences and working through the alphabet. They have to do this formula as a basic: adjective, noun, verb, noun adverb e.g. Angry ants ate apples avidly. Or to encourage adverb sentence starters (for sophictaction and commas) I switch the adverb to start. If they have a sentence in the chart they really love they can add connectives (of any letter or phrasing to increase use of sophistacted connectives) and add more adverbs and nouns into the mix but to let them go through letters quicker (some are tough and required internet searches beyond our limited thesauri ) I limit the sentences they expand to a set number. say pick top 3-5. Can be used quick or allowed to run through the alphabet for fun before end of terms

Submitted by edushi on Sat, 03/26/2011 - 17:31

This game is very funny and entertaining. My students will reinforce vocabulary and have fun in the same time. I''ll do this activity as soon as possible.thanks

Submitted by shamilton on Sun, 04/25/2010 - 12:36

From my experience students (and teachers!) really love this game. I never thought about changing the headings though to e.g. 'things you find in the kitchen'.  I think this will work really well. Thanks.



Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

See our publications, research and insight