I’ve tried to find out where this great review game came from but haven’t had any luck. What is clear is that there isn’t one right way of playing it. Here’s my version which, of course, is adapted from a friend’s version.

Before class

Prepare 24 review questions. These could be on anything: vocabulary, phonology, grammar…anything the students have been working on.

Make at least 25 Kaboom Cards and put them in a hat. The cards I use are these…


In class

Put students in groups of 2/3 and draw a 24-square grid on the board. Teams then take it in turns to pick a card at random from the hat.

  • Points cards – these points are added to the team’s total.
  • Give cards – The team must choose another group to give their points to.
  • Steal cards – The team steals points from another group.
  • Switch – The team must choose another team to switch points with.
  • Kaboom – The team loses all their points.


How your board might look at the start of the activity…

As well as the card, they get the chance to answer a question. Each number on the board corresponds to one of the questions you prepared earlier. If the team gets the answer right, they get 10 bonus points, if not then the other teams have a chance to steal the 10 points (I find mini whiteboards very useful for this).


…and how it might look during.


As the game goes on, points will be switched, stolen, given etc…

Make sure to keep a note of any questions which cause difficulty or that the students can’t answer – these need to be reviewed after the game has finished.

The winners are the team with the most points at the end of the game!

Kaboom can be very frustrating for students (particularly YLs) because of the cruel element of chance involved. The teacher’s job is to keep it fun and remind students that it’s mainly about luck. It’s a game that’s requested on a regular basis by YL students – a clear sign that they enjoy it!

Suggested adaptations

  • Instead of using Kaboom cards, just sketch out the grid in a notebook so that you know which squares are steal, switch etc…
  • Get students to come up with their own rules or Kaboom cards.
  • Have the students write the questions and be the teacher.



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