BlogGames for Kids15 Best Vocabulary Games to Play in Your Classroom

    15 Best Vocabulary Games to Play in Your Classroom

    Learning new words can help with the cognitive development of a child. Learning new vocabulary impacts different areas of the brain, leading to a sharp memory. But simple dictation or word cramming will not help kids. Instead, you must play fun vocabulary games with your class to teach them a new word in an engaging manner. 

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    A study published by the American Psychological Association shows that games in learning improve children’s participation, emotional involvement, and social skills. Thus, by hosting classroom vocabulary games, you can better develop your students’ language skills. 

    This guide will walk you through fifteen simple educational games you can play in class without hassle to improve kids’ vocabulary.

    Looking for more online Math games and ELA games to educate and engage your kids? Here are more games to check out!

    15 Best Vocabulary Games for Kids (Fun and Educational)

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    Are you planning to organize a small word game competition in your classroom? Then, you have so many great vocabulary games online (and offline options) to entertain and educate your students. Some of the best vocabulary word games for kids, based on our research, are:

    1. SplashLearn

    Material Required: Computer or mobile phone

    Appropriate Age: 2 to 11 years

    SplashLearn is a free learning gaming platform with over 4000 games. You can download this app on your mobile phone to play quick vocabulary games with your class. The animated characters and interesting storyline help to keep students engaged in improving their vocabulary. Your students will improve their vocabulary without even realizing it.

    How to Play:

    • Pick free reading games and ask all your students to play them.
    • Students who score the highest marks or complete the level fastest will win the prize.

    Rules: Give 10 minutes to play a game daily. 

    Rewards: You can share the score of the best player on your school’s social media pages with their pictures and gameplay screenshots.

    2. Checkers

    Material Required: A checkerboard

    Appropriate Age: 5 to 12 years

    Checkers is a classic board game. However, you can reinvent checkers to improve the vocabulary skills of your students. This game can allow teachers to show students how to use words correctly. Simply download a checkerboard and give a checkersheet to each of your students.

    How to Play:

    • Write a word in the white block of the checker sheet. 
    • Then, whenever a student moves to a white block, you can ask them a question related to the word written in the block, like its definition or usage in the sentence.

    Rules: Students will lose the game after two wrong answers. 

    Rewards: Stickers or badges

    3. Pictionary

    Material Required: Pictionary Junior cards

    Appropriate Age: 5 to 10 years 

    Pictionary is a common family night game, so everyone knows how to play it. However, you have to improvise a bit to use it to improve the vocabulary of your class. For this, you have to order some Pictionary Junior cards and divide your class into two groups.

    How to Play:

    • Call a member from each team and give them a cue from your Pictionary Junior cards. 
    • Give a chalkboard or marker to draw a clue to guess the word on the chalkboard or on a sheet of white paper so the entire class can see the clues. 

    Rules: If the team member guessed the word, they would get one point. If the other team member guessed the word, they would get the point. 

    Rewards: 10 minutes longer lunch break. 

    4. Go Fish Vocabulary

    Material Required: Go Fish Vocabulary cards

    Appropriate Age: 3 to 15 years

    This is the perfect game if you want to organize a vocabulary game competition with other classes or grade students. You have to first get Go Fish Vocabulary cards. 

    How to Play:

    • Select the ten-word cards matching your students’ vocabulary level. 
    • Then, you can divide your class into groups and assign them cards based on the number of groups you have created. 
    • The fun part is that when a student asks for the card, they don’t say the word. Instead, they define the word that the other person has to guess. 

    Rules: Nobody will say the word mentioned on the card. 

    Rewards: Anything you find appropriate

    Related Reading: Best Educational Games for Kids by Subjects & Grades

    5. Memory Cards

    Material Required: Memory cards

    Appropriate Age: 3 to 12 years

    This is a simple card-matching game. However, instead of matching things on the cards, students must match words with their definitions. You can order word memory cards online or create appropriate ones for your students’ vocab level. 

    How to Play:

    • Divide your class into small groups. 
    • Lay down all definition cards on a table in the center of the classroom. 
    • Give a word card to each team member and ask them to find the correct definition cards from the table.

    Rules: Give the students 2 minutes to match the card. 

    Rewards: Anything you find appropriate 

    6. Verb Charades

    Material Required: Paper slips

    Appropriate Age: 3 to 10 years

    It is one of the greatest English vocabulary games for young students who aren’t good at writing. It is similar to Pictionary, but it has simple verbs that young children can guess faster. Besides this, it involves physical activity to keep children engaged in the game.

    How to Play:

    • Divide your class into groups. 
    • You can either write a verb on a piece of paper or say it in a student’s ear such that no one else can hear what you have said. 
    • Then, ask the student to act so that other team members can guess the verb.

    Rules: No speaking while acting the word. 

    Rewards: One point for the right guess 

    7. Word Association

    Material Required: Nothing

    Appropriate Age: 3 and above

    It is the best word game for classrooms. Teachers need nothing to play this game, so it is suitable to organize impromptu game sessions. 

    How to Play:

    • Divide your team into two groups. 
    • A player from a team will say a word. 
    • Other team players will respond with the word that first comes to their minds. 
    • It continues until one player repeats a word or pauses too long. 

    Rules: Prompt replies. 

    Rewards: A whole team gets no homework for a day. 

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    8. Vocabulary Hangman

    Material Required: Chalkboard 

    Appropriate Age: 8 to 12 years

    Hangman is one of the classic ESL vocabulary games you can play online using virtual whiteboards. It is a perfect game to teach difficult words to kids, like razzmatazz or shenanigans! 

    How to Play:

    • Give one word to a player. 
    • The player has to draw a series of blanks equal to the number of letters in the word. 
    • Other players guess letters. 
    • The first player will fill in the blank if the letter is in the word. If not, the player draws one portion of the gallows.  

    Rules: The game ends when the player guesses the word or when the picture is complete. 

    Rewards: Anything you find appropriate  

    9. Pyramid

    Material Required: Pyramid worksheet

    Appropriate Age: 6 to 14 years 

    This game needs multiple players to promote cooperation and strengthen your students’ vocabulary. To play this game, download the worksheet, give it to your students, and get started! 

    How to Play:

    • Divide your class into teams. 
    • One player from each team draws a pyramid and adds six categories in three rows. 
    • Players with the pyramid must give clues to their teammates to guess the correct category. 

    Rules: Make the game time-bound. 

    Rewards: No homework for the week 

    Related Reading: Best First Day of School Activities for Students

    10. Synonyms

    Material Required: Pen and paper 

    Appropriate Age: 10 to 16 years 

    This game is appropriate for older kids who know more words. It can help to test the language level of your class. 

    How to Play:

    • Write a word on the blackboard. 
    • Give a paper and pen to your class to write similar words to the blackboard word. 

    Rules: Give 5 minutes to write similar words. 

    Rewards: Extra marks on the annual school test 

    11. Headbanz

    Material Required: Waste hairbands, sticky notes 

    Appropriate Age: 4 to 8 years 

    It is a DIY word game. First, you must get some hairbands and put a sticky note on them with a food item’s name. Then, you can take your class’s parents’ help to create Headbanz. 

    How to Play:

    Give a Headbanz to each student and make them stand in front of the class one by one. Then, a player must guess a word based on the hints given by classmates. 

    Rules. No one can say the word mentioned on the hairband. 

    Rewards: A player who correctly guessed the food item’s name got a chance to eat that item 

    12. Basketball Vocabulary

    Material Required: A ball and trash can 

    Appropriate Age: 5 to 10 years 

    This game can work both the brain and arm muscles of your students. It is perfect for engaging young kids. 

    How to Play:

    • Simply use a trash can as a basket to throw the ball. 
    • Write a few words on the blackboard. 
    • Allow a student to put a ball into the basket. One who scored a basket gets to select the word of his or her choice to define. Otherwise, you can give a word of your choice. 

    Rules: Only chance to put a ball in the basket. 

    Rewards: Anything you find appropriate 

    13. Rolling Words

    Material Required: A dice and word cards

    Appropriate Age: 10 to 16 years 

    You need to order some word cards to play this game and make it appropriate to your class’s level. Then, roll the dice to improve your students’ vocabulary. 

    How to Play:

    • Put all word cards face down on your table. 
    • Allow each student to roll a dice and place the same number of cards face up as the number they roll on the dice. For example, 3 points on the dice would mean three cards will be turned face up. 

    Rules: A player who defines the maximum number of words wins the game. 

    Rewards: A trophy 

    14. Crossword

    Material Required: A crossword sheet 

    Appropriate Age: 10 to 15 years 

    When you want to keep your class busy while you mark their test sheets, download a crossword sheet online and give it to your students.  

    How to Play:

    Give a crossword puzzle and pen to your students. 

    Rules: Give 20 minutes to solve the puzzle. 

    Rewards: Anything you find appropriate 

    15. Word Search

    Material Required: A word search puzzle sheet 

    Appropriate Age: 8 to 15 years

    Depending upon your student’s reading and writing levels, download a word search sheet online and give them each copy to find the words. 

    How to Play:

    You can either print a word search sheet or share it online with your students. 

    Rules: Give them time to solve a sheet 

    Rewards: The player who finds the most words in a month becomes the class monitor 

    Related Reading: Best Puzzles For Kids Of All Ages

    Why Play Fun Vocabulary Games in Your Classroom?

    Playing word games in your classroom is not only entertaining, it can also improve your students’ learning, thinking, and cognitive abilities. Thus, playing vocabulary and language games in your class will have the following benefits:

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    1. Master a language

    The obvious benefit of playing word games is learning a language better. Through games, children learn many new words they might never know otherwise. 

    Moreover, they can learn the correct word usage in a sentence. The rich vocabulary also allows kids to express their thoughts in written and verbal ways.

    2. Improve spelling

    Games will not only help to teach new words to your students. It can also help you improve kids’ spelling and grammar skills.

    For example, games like Scrabble and doing crosswords can improve spelling. These games also help students understand the words’ real meanings and where they can use them in the real world.

    3. Improve concentration

    It requires concentration to play games. So, when your students focus on finding new words in the dictionary, they will learn to focus on a task. This can help them in other parts of learning as well. 

    4. Develop cognitive skills

    Language games put your brain muscles to work. Even when playing fun games like Rolling Words, you use your brain to identify the right word to complete the sentence. 

    So, when you put your students’ brains to work, it will improve their cognitive skills. They learn to process information faster and find solutions without your help. 

    5. Sharpen memory

    While playing word games, students also put pressure on their memory. They must dig into their memory lane to find the right word definitions, spellings, and sentences to win the game. 

    Moreover, most word games are strategic and time-bound. When a player recalls information with a clear goal, it makes it easy to organize and remember things. 

    6. Healthy competition

    Games always ripple a competitive vibe. Players will not only compete with their opponents but also compete with themselves. The competition can motivate your students to improve their vocabulary and learn new words to win classroom games.

    7. Self-satisfaction

    Scoring high in word games improves the confidence level in kids. As a result, they feel more satisfied with themselves. This confidence booster can also help them grow in other academic areas.

    Related Reading: Amazing Writing Prompt For Kids To Improve Confidence

    Vocabulary Games For The Win!

    Children enjoy playing games. When you devote time to game-based or play-based learning, your child will develop critical thinking skills, motivation, and goal-setting abilities. As they play games that improve vocabulary and literacy, their confidence will also grow. 

    Want more ideas to inspire your child to enjoy learning? Then, test out SplashLearn Reading Games! The animated and fun online games will improve your students’ vocabulary skills. All the games are free, so don’t forget to try.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    When does a child begin to develop vocabulary and language skills?

    Your child may know and use 20–100 meaningful words by eighteen months. Every day, you’ll notice your child using new words. Around the age of two, your child will begin to combine two words, such as “mummy car” or “I go.”

    How can good vocabulary help children in life?

    A large vocabulary helps with all aspects of communication, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Vocabulary is important for a child’s success for the following reasons: Vocabulary development is directly related to academic achievement. For example, in kindergarten, the size of a child’s vocabulary predicts their ability to learn to read.

    Amy Paige
    Amy Paige has been teaching for the last 12 years. She’s a late tech convert who loves to utilize technology in her classroom to motivate students and prepare them for the 21st century.

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