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ESL Icebreaker Games “Cultural Exchange Bingo”

“Cultural Exchange Bingo” reinvents the traditional game of bingo by infusing it with a multicultural twist, making it a perfect fit for language classrooms.

This game is not just about marking squares on a card; it’s an interactive and insightful way for students to engage in conversations about cultural nuances.

The activity is designed to encourage students to share their experiences while practicing their language skills in a real-world context.

cultural exchange bingo esl icebreakers for adults

ESL Icebreaker – Cultural Exchange Bingo

We have loads of icebreaker games here on the site for all ages, you can check out the full list for adults on the link directly below but we also have icebreakers for kindergarten, primary and high school here which you can check out as well.

(Of course you can adapt all of them for your classrooms and students as needed)

How to Play

In this version of bingo, instead of numbers, the bingo cards are filled with cultural experiences, common phrases, or habits.

For instance, a square might say “has celebrated the Chinese New Year” or “can say ‘hello’ in three languages.”

Students walk around the room, engaging with their classmates to find someone who matches a square on their card. When they find a match, they mark that square.

The goal is to complete a line or a full house, depending on the rules set by the teacher.

Educational Benefits

  1. Encourages Cultural Conversations: The game prompts students to discuss and learn about various cultural practices and experiences, broadening their global understanding.
  2. Practices Listening and Speaking Skills: As students interact, they practice listening and speaking in the target language, which is vital for language acquisition.
  3. Facilitates Sharing Personal Experiences: It provides an opportunity for students to talk about their own cultural background, fostering a diverse and inclusive classroom environment.
  4. Enhances Vocabulary and Phrase Learning: The game naturally integrates the learning of new words and phrases associated with different cultures.

Resources Needed

To play “Cultural Exchange Bingo,” you’ll need:

  • Bingo cards customized with cultural experiences or phrases. These can be prepared by the teacher and tailored to the class’s cultural diversity and language level.
  • Pens or markers for students to mark their cards.
  • A list of cultural experiences or phrases for reference, especially useful in more diverse classrooms.

Differentiation for Varied Learner Levels

“Cultural Exchange Bingo” can be adapted for students of different language levels:

  • Beginner Level: Use simple and common cultural experiences or phrases. Beginners might also be provided with a list of phrases in the target language to assist them during their interactions.
  • Intermediate Level: Introduce more specific cultural experiences and encourage the use of complete sentences in discussions.
  • Advanced Level: For advanced students, include more nuanced cultural references and encourage deeper discussions about the cultural significance of each item on the bingo cards.


“Cultural Exchange Bingo” is more than just a game; it’s an educational journey that takes students beyond the confines of a traditional classroom, immersing them in a world of cultural diversity and linguistic practice.

It’s an innovative and effective way to blend language learning with cultural appreciation, making it an essential part of any modern language classroom.

I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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