Onion Ball

In the Onion Ball ESL game, students pass a ball of layered papers, with a new question/challenge revealed each time the music stops.

Students for Onion Ball ESL Game:6+Time for Onion Ball ESL Game:10-20+ mins
Resources for Onion Ball ESL Game:
Prepared Challenges (Optional); Scrap Paper; Music

One option is to prepare a set of questions/challenges appropriate to your level/target language. However, it can also work really well if you have the students make them in class. Just make sure you check their challenges before you play!

The challenges are written on different pieces of scrap paper. When they are finished, screw up one of the papers into a ball. Then starting with the smaller pieces, wrap the other papers around one by one, forming a ball of multiple layers.

In class, the students sit in a circle, facing inwards.

  1. Play some upbeat music, if possible chosen by the students.
  2. As the music plays, the students pass the ball of papers between them, either in the order they are seated (better with kids) or randomly.
  3. Stop the music at a random time. The student holding the ball has to unwrap the outer layer of paper and answer/complete the question/challenge written on it.
  4. Repeat the process until all layers are unwrapped.

With younger kids, you could even include small sweets/candies with each layer or at the centre.

Target Language

The Onion Ball ESL game is another flexible game which can be adapted to any target language and level, beginner, intermediate or advanced.

It is particularly suited to kids classes, but adults may also enjoy it as part of a more relaxed class.

For a very similar game without the need to prepare questions/challenges on paper, try Hot Potato.

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