Past Continuous and Past Simple – Board Game

One of the hardest things for my students to retain was always combining the past continuous and past simple. After a while, I felt like I cracked the code for teaching the theory, but I never found a great activity to help my students retain the information. So, I made one. I am happy to present this Past Continuous and Past Simple Board Game, which I think will do wonders for you and your students!


This activity was designed for the online teacher, but works great as a printable, too!

  1. Display the board and share your screen. Use whatever whiteboard tools you have to create playing tokens. Students play individually.
  2. Use a real or virtual die to begin play. Students move their tokens the number of spaces they roll.
  3. When students land on a space, they are presented two words. They must use each word in two different actions – one using the present continuous and the other the past simple (these words might be verbs or nouns) – and combine them correctly to create a grammatically correct sentence.*
  4. If they do this correctly, their token stays at this space. If not, they go back to where they began their turn. Feel free to ask your students for multiple variants of the same sentence!

*To help your students really retain this knowledge, think about making them give you all 4 combinations.


I was cleaning my room when I found my earphones.

I found my earphones while I was cleaning my room.

While I was cleaning my room, I found my earphones.

When I found my earphones, I was cleaning my room.

To complete this activity, students should already know the structures.
Included in the top left of the PDF is a small review of how to combine past continuous and past simple.

3 reviews for Past Continuous and Past Simple - Board Game


    I have just downloaded it. It looks like a fabulous game. Thank you. I will test it with pre-intermediate students tonight

  2. lucie.humeaud

    Hi there, how can I download that activity ? I can’t see the download button which is usually under the description bit…it happened to me the other day on another one I think, can you possibly use the email address associated with my account to let me know when the issue is sorted ? Thank you so much

    • Ian Kime

      Thank you for letting us know about the problem. It has been fixed and you can now download the activity with your TTA subscription 🙂

  3. Dennis Tukak

    “think about making them give you all 4 combinations.”

    What about the fifth: When I was cleaning my room, I found my earphones. (?)

    • Ian Kime

      In spoken English, we very often replace “while” with “when” and it’s obviously understood. However, “while” with the continuous aspect is correct. Students (and native speakers alike) will continue to make the “mistake” of not using while, no matter how much we try! But the more they get used to using “while” with the continuous aspect the better because there are other contexts where “while” will sound much better. “I’ll be working while on vacation.” sounds better than “I’ll be working when on vacation.” Don’t you think? Or, “I was reading my book under the umbrella while my friends were swimming in the ocean.” vs. “I was swimming in the ocean when my friends were swimming in the ocean.” Here we have two different meanings! Subtle… but, different.

      What do you think?

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Ian Kime

Ian Kime

I have been teaching English abroad since receiving my CELTA certificate in Poland in 2018. I enjoy tracking my individual students’ development but love having lessons with big groups! Now that I teach online, I am accompanied by my sidekicks Olaf, Mała, Pirate and Bandit on a regular basis.

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