Collaborative crosswords also known as half-crosswords are a pairwork speaking activity in which students must make up the clues for their partner.
Because students are challenged to describe objects without naming them directly, they are forced to find synonyms and be creative in their communicative approach, this kind of exercise is very effective at improving confidence, building vocabulary and increasing fluency.
Below are 25 pre-prepared half crosswords along with a vocabulary picture matching sheet for pre-teaching the required vocabulary.
You can also get all the crosswords together in a handy PDF or paperback.
Around the house
Out and about
You can make your own collaborative crosswords by visiting halfacrossword.com and using their handy crossword maker.
Expanding the activity
You could also separate the class into two halves (or smaller groups). Give one half all of the down crosswords and ask them to come up with some clues for the down puzzle. Give the other half the across crosswords and have them produce clues for the across puzzle. Each student will need to make a copy of the set of clues. Then the groups swap their clues (not their puzzles) and then individually or in pairs have to attempt to complete their crosswords. This would also make a good homework activity with students having to come up with the clues on their own.