Box Of Lies

Test your students’ fluency and bluffing skills with the Box Of Lies ESL game, adapted from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Students for Box Of Lies ESL Game:1+Time for Box Of Lies ESL Game:10-20 mins
Resources for Box Of Lies ESL Game:
Internet or Prepared Pictures

You can play this game as a class or in pairs/small groups.

If you have a computer/tablet connected to the Internet, the easiest method is to play as a class using our online Box Of Lies generator. This tool generates random unusual pictures for the game.

Otherwise, you will need a set of printed pictures. If possible, these pictures should have some unusual content to make the game more fun! You will need at least five to ten pictures, or one for each pair/group.

The Box Of Lies ESL game is adapted from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, so you could model it with a clip from the show.

  1. If playing as a class with the pictures on a screen, one student comes to the front. If playing in groups, give one student in each group a picture. They must not show it to anyone else.
  2. The student who can see the picture does one of two things. They can describe the image truthfully, or pretend to describe that picture while actually inventing a completely different description. Changing just minor elements of the picture is not allowed.
  3. Either way, they have to fool the other student(s) into thinking they are doing the opposite, i.e. lying when they are telling the truth, or telling the truth when they are lying.
  4. When the student with the picture has finished their description (instruct them to be as detailed as they can), the other students guess whether they are telling the truth or lying. If a student guesses correctly they get a point, but the student describing gets a point for every student that guesses incorrectly.
  5. Repeat with different students describing new pictures. The student with the most points at the end wins.
Target Language

The Box Of Lies ESL game is a really fun warm up activity for high intermediate and advanced students. As those lying are likely to be more hesitant, it’s great for fluency practice, and students will have a lot of fun trying to trick each other. Try and choose pictures that incorporate recently learned words, or perhaps even those with some fantastical/surreal elements to make guessing more difficult.

With lower intermediate students, you could also use it to practise prepositions of place for the positions of elements in a picture. It might help to do the Describing Pictures activity first if you haven’t already done it.

Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.