Four Fun and Easy Vocabulary Word Games to Play with Your Class

Fun vocabulary games can be a powerful tool in the upper-elementary classroom!  As elementary students progress from learning to read to reading to learn, content area vocabulary becomes a crucial part of instruction.  Each content subject area such as math, social studies, and science has its own unique set of vocabulary words.  Students need to be introduced to and repeatedly exposed to the vocabulary terms that are important in each unit if they are to develop a deep understanding of a specific content area.

Fun and Easy Vocabulary Review Games

I have found that incorporating a variety of fun and easy vocabulary review games into our schedule motivates my students to spend a few extra minutes studying their words in preparation for the big game!  

Egg Hunt Review

Egg hunt review is a game that my students always love to play!  It gets them out of their seats and moving around as they search the classroom high and low for plastic eggs.  The only materials needed to play this game are plastic eggs, some strips of paper, and notebook paper.  Before your students come into class, number and write a definition on each slip of paper.  For example, one slip of paper might read, "1. a written request from a number of people".  Fold up the slip of paper and place it inside one of the plastic eggs.  After recording all of the definitions and placing them inside of the eggs, hide the eggs around the classroom.  

When you're ready to play with the class, have each student take out a piece of paper and number it accordingly.  If you hid 20 eggs around the room, tell the class to number from 1-20.  It's always more fun to play with friends, so I have my kids work in pairs or small groups.  When the game begins, one student from each group goes on the hunt for an egg.  

Egg Hunt Review

They bring the egg back to their group, open it up, and read the definition aloud.  The students then need to figure out which vocabulary word goes with the definition and write it on the corresponding line.  If the definition read, "5. a soldier who is paid to fight for a foreign country", then the students would write "mercenary" next to number 5 on their paper.  The student who found the egg then puts the slip of paper back inside, places it back wherever they found it, and then returns to the group so the next student may take their turn finding an egg.  

One of the things I like about this vocabulary review game is that I can just set a time limit based on how much time we have available to play.  When time is up, I tell all the students to return their eggs, and then we begin going over the answers.  I draw a random name stick and have that student go find an egg and read the definition out loud to the class.  We discuss the correct answer, and students check their own papers to see if they got that one right.  I collect the slip of paper and empty egg from the student, and call another name to find our next egg.  By the time we are done going over all of the answers, I don't have any clean up to do on my own. 

Hoop Shoot Review

Hoop shoot review is another class favorite that only requires a trash can, a ball or wad of paper, and a list of the words and definitions for you to use.  Divide the class into two or more teams.  Place the trash can in a strategic location and mark the spot on the floor with tape to indicate where the students need to stand.  One student comes up to the line, and you read them a definition.  If they identify the correct word, they earn their team one point.  Then they attempt a "free throw" at the trash can to earn a bonus point for their team.  So easy and always a hit with the kids!

Vocabulary Bingo

Elementary age kids always love a good game of Bingo, and I found the perfect online Bingo card maker!  You can play virtual Bingo or print out cards.  It's free for up to 30 students!  

My Free Bingo Cards

First, you need to decide which size Bingo card you would like to create.  On the left-hand side, go down to "Templates" and choose between a 3x3, 4x4, or 5x5 card.  Click on the template you would like to use.

My Free Bingo Cards Templates

Next, you will type in your title and all of your vocabulary words.  

Free Bingo Card Maker

Click on "Next Step", and you are ready to play Bingo online or print your cards!  This is such an easy way to create a vocabulary word game that you can use year after year.

Swat the Vocab!

Swat the Vocab is the vocabulary review game that my students request the most!  It gets very competitive and exciting!  All you really need to play is a whiteboard or chalkboard and some fly swatters.  For social studies, I have all of the content vocabulary words printed on cardstock with an image of a fly, but you can just simply write the words on your board.  Make sure to spread them out as much as you can.  Divide your class into three or more teams.  Have one player from each team come up to the front and get a fly swatter.  Read a definition out loud, and watch out!  The student who swats the correct vocabulary word first earns their team a point.  It happens so fast, I had to tell my kids to hold their position when swatting so I could see which fly swatter had swatted the word first.

Swat the Vocab!

I have no doubts that if you begin playing these fun vocabulary word games with your class, they will be more motivated to study their words!

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