Fish, fruit, flower

Published on 6th May, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

This is a game which I played as a child, and you are likely to be familiar with, perhaps under a different name, such as Town and Country. I wonder, though, if you have played it in your language classes? I find that my students of all levels really like this game, and it is a useful way to round off a class, so that students leave ‘on a high’.

Put students in pairs and give them the instructions. Put 4–6 categories on the board in a grid, and ask them to copy it into their books. For an elementary class, these categories might work:


Give the letter, eg ‘P’. Put students in pairs and give them two minutes to think of one item starting with this letter, for each category. Tell them to try to think of an interesting, unusual example if possible because they will receive one point for an appropriate answer, but two points if their answer is unique. Do a practice run first. You will need to hear suggestions from each pair for one category in turn, eg country, then adjective. Students should keep their own scores. Make sure that students a) only write down ONE answer together, and that b) they do not change their answers as you are taking feedback!

This exercise can be used as a revision exercise of topic areas, eg if you have recently studied sport, clothes, personality adjectives / nouns, clothes, parts of the body, etc. Remember that some letters are likely to be much easier than others, eg S, P, T, and C are good ones, at least to start with.


  • I like this, I call it ‘categories’. There is a game called ‘Scattergories’ that’s similar.

    To make this activity active I like to have the students write their words on note labels (like ‘Post-its’), then run and stick them to the board, within the grid. There’s no repetition allowed, so once a word has been stuck – hard luck! The first sticker in a column gets maximum points and then the others get points descending from that. I’ve found this to be a really fun game!

    Richard on 6 May, 2010
  • Excellent game. I used to play it when I was a child, we called “tuti fruti”.
    Thanks for the suggestion

    Mercedes Viola on 6 May, 2010
  • I think this game FISH, FRUIT AND FLOWER is a nice game. It was played in the past but nice bring out again. I think it will help stimulate thinking and spelling

    catherine on 6 May, 2010
  • Nice ideas. In my country we play this game in our own language. We categorize them name, country, flower and fruit.

    Thanks for the idea. I will try it for English class now.

    Samina N. Chowdhury, BRAC University on 19 May, 2010
  • Great ideas – your categories. In our country we play the game and call it “name, town, animal, noun”. But I find your ones more creative for teaching English language.

    natasa on 21 May, 2010
  • Thanks for the idea I will do it just now

    Victoria Fernandez on 27 May, 2010
  • This is a version of “Stop the Bus. Nevertheless, it’s one of my more popular games which can be played at most levels. I like to use the following categories: ANIMAL, FOOD, SOMETHING AT HOME, SOMETHING AT SCHOOL, COUNTRY, SPORT, ANYTHING. Categories can be added or taken away depending on the level of student’s English. It’s a great motivator.

    Les on 14 July, 2010