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21 Classroom Games – Fun Ways to Make Learning Exciting

Academic studies usually equal boring, dull, and lame. But there are ways you can make learning fun and exciting.

 Implementing interactive activities will help with that. Today, we will look at a couple of classroom games you can play to make learning exciting.

These classroom activities will motivate students, kids, older kids, and even toddlers. They will also encourage them to dive into their creativity and imagination.

Now, before we go over some of the educational games, let’s talk about what makes a good classroom game. We have to establish a few standards.

school fun

For starters, you need a game that allows all students to participate. You cannot limit them. Next, choose games that involve teamwork. Even the teacher should participate in the game.

Among the many features, look for games that help students solidify their skills, especially ones you have been working on. For example, pick games that improve their vocabulary and number concepts.

Last, but not least, look for games that allow players to play in small groups and large groups. Remember that some students do not feel comfortable playing in a large setting.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some popular classroom games.

kid on table

1. Pictionary

This is an old classic game. Pictionary is a great way for students to visualize their understanding in a fun way.

For this game, you will need only whiteboards or pieces of paper and pens. And, of course, a list of subject-specific concepts. Students work in small groups, and one student is chosen to start. That student has to draw the subject-related concept within a given time.

During that period, the rest of the group has to guess what the student is trying to draw. The group that correctly guesses the word wins. The game continues until each student gets a turn to draw a subject or there are no more words.

How to play:

  1. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  2. Provide each team with a whiteboard and marker.
  3. Choose a student or teacher to be the first “artist” on the first team.
  4. The artist draws a picture related to a vocabulary word or concept being studied, while the other members of the team try to guess what it is.
  5. Set a time limit, such as 1 minute, for the artist to complete the drawing and the team to guess.
  6. Teams earn points for each correct answer, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
  7. Rotate the artist position to a different member of the team for each turn.

2. Simon Says

When you think of Simon Says, you might think of things like stand up, sing, squat, move to the left, or similar commands.

But Simon Says is a versatile, yet simple game. In the classroom, you can modify it to different things. For example, Simon Says spell the word “university.” Or Simon Says “solve that equation.”

Implementing Simon Says is a fun concept to make sure students listen and finish tasks.

simon says

How to play:

  1. One student is designated as “Simon” and stands at the front of the class.
  2. The other students line up or stand in a designated area.
  3. Simon gives commands, starting each command with the phrase “Simon says.” For example, “Simon says, touch your toes.”
  4. Students must follow the command only if it starts with the phrase “Simon says.” If Simon gives a command without using the phrase “Simon says,” students must not follow it.
  5. Any student who follows a command without “Simon says” must sit out for the remainder of the round.
  6. The game continues until only one student remains, who then becomes Simon for the next round.

3. Printable Escape Room Kits

Printable escape rooms have soared in popularity in the past few years. And there is a big reason why. There are so many themed kits, you can find an escape room for any topic. But most importantly, these escape room games help kids and students learn more about teamwork and solving puzzles.

Nobody can win the game on its own — they need to work together as a team to solve the puzzles and “escape.” For example, Houdini’s Secret Room helps creative people experience a thrilling story with puzzles that bring the excitement to a whole new level.

And you can easily set it up in the classroom. Just think about it — you can turn your classroom into a Houdini workshop. How cool is that?

printable escape room

Our ready-to-play game kits

Professor Swen’s Lab

houdini

Houdini’s Secret Room

Wooka Booka Island

the guilded

The Gilded Carcanet

4. 20 Questions

The classic game is one of the best ways to implement fun activities into the learning process. The sky is the limit for this game.

Are you working on a subject from World War II? Come up with ideas and let students play the 20 questions game. You think of something, and they have to ask 20 questions to guess the topic.

There are so many ways you can add this game to the learning curriculum. Don’t underestimate it.

How to play:

  1. Choose a vocabulary word or concept related to the subject being studied.
  2. Write the word or concept on the board or write it on a piece of paper and place it in a hat.
  3. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  4. Teams take turns asking “yes” or “no” questions to try to determine what the word or concept is.
  5. Teams have 20 total questions to ask between them to determine the answer.
  6. Points can be awarded for correct answers, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

5. Musical Chairs

Not all educational games should be about learning. Some of them should be about blowing off some steam and having fun between learning.

Musical chairs is such a game. Of course, unless you are a music teacher. Then it is a different story. In any case, you know the rules. Play music, students dance, stop the music, they have to sit on a chair. The person who cannot find a chair is eliminated. Play until only one player remains.

musical chairs

How to play:

  1. Arrange chairs in a line facing the same direction, with one less chair than the number of students playing.
  2. Play music, and have students walk or dance around the chairs.
  3. When the music stops, students must quickly find a seat.
  4. The student who does not find a seat is eliminated.
  5. Remove one chair and repeat the process until only one student remains, who is the winner.

6. Word Chain

We said at the beginning that you can use fun games to improve the vocabulary of students and kids. Well, the word chain vocabulary game is perfect for that.

How to play:

  1. Choose a category or theme related to the subject being studied, such as animal names, countries, or vocabulary words.
  2. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  3. The first student on the first team says a word related to the category or theme.
  4. The next student on the same team must say a different word that starts with the last letter of the previous word.
  5. Teams earn points for each correct word, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
  6. The turn then rotates to the next team.

This game improves memory, but also helps you use new words in a common sentence.

7. Matching Game

We just love it how you can use simple, traditional games and implement them into the curriculum. The matching game is a perfect example.

The rules are quite simple. You have 10 subjects on one side 10 subjects on the other side. Students have to match them.

How to play:

  1. Prepare cards with vocabulary words, concepts, or information related to the subject being studied.
  2. Divide the cards into pairs and shuffle them.
  3. Lay the cards face down on a table or the floor.
  4. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  5. Teams take turns flipping over two cards, trying to find a matching pair.
  6. Teams earn points for each correct match, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

For example, if you have a history lesson about ancient Rome, you can have words like Colosseum, bath, Julius Caesar, Roman emperors, turquoise, and so on.

charades
charades

8. Charades

Here is another fun game you can use to encourage students to get out of their seats and take part in the lesson. And all you need is a piece of paper and a pen. You create a list of topics and divide students into small groups.

The concept is rather simple, and you can easily relate it to the subject you are teaching. As with matching game, use topics that relate to the current subject. Let’s say you are a biology teacher and you are teaching about bees.

In that case, add some bee-related words to the charades, including hive, nectar, pollen, wasp, swarm, honey, sting, and so on.

There are three rounds of charades. During the first round, you can guess the topics by explaining with a couple of words. During the second round, you can use only one word to describe the subject.

And during the last, third round, students need to describe the word using only their body and acting. They cannot use any words.

How to play:

  1. Choose vocabulary words, concepts, or information related to the subject being studied.
  2. Write the words or concepts on slips of paper and place them in a hat or bowl.
  3. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  4. Teams take turns selecting a slip of paper and acting out the word or concept without speaking.
  5. The other team members try to guess what the word or concept is.
  6. Teams earn points for each correct guess, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

9. Hangman

You will be surprised how many classical games can make it into the classroom. This traditional and interactive game improves spelling and subject knowledge. And it is quite enjoyable.

How to play:

  1. Choose a vocabulary word, concept, or piece of information related to the subject being studied.
  2. Select one student to start in the “hot seat.”
  3. The other students take turns asking the student in the “hot seat” questions about the word, concept, or piece of information.
  4. The student in the “hot seat” must answer as quickly and accurately as possible.
  5. If the student gives a correct answer, they remain in the “hot seat.”
  6. If the student gives an incorrect answer, they switch places with the student who asked the question.
  7. Points can be awarded for correct answers, and the student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
hangman
hot seat

10. Hot Seat

This game looks a lot like the game show Password.

How to play:

  1. Choose a vocabulary word or concept related to the subject being studied.
  2. Draw a gallows and a head on the board or a piece of paper.
  3. Write blank spaces for each letter of the word or concept.
  4. Divide the class into two teams, with one team trying to guess the word and the other team trying to prevent the guessing team from doing so.
  5. The guessing team takes turns suggesting letters.
  6. If the letter is in the word, write it in the appropriate blank spaces.
  7. If the letter is not in the word, add a body part (e.g. arm, leg) to the hanging figure.
  8. The game ends when the word is correctly guessed or the figure is fully drawn.
  9. Points can be awarded for correct guesses, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

11. Concentration

This memory game is a fan favorite in the classroom. Young kids, teenagers, older kids — they all love it. It is a challenging memory game you can use to review anything you can think of.

What is the goal? Well, students have to find matching pairs before their classmates. The team with the most pairs wins the game.

How to play:

  1. Prepare cards with vocabulary words, concepts, or information related to the subject being studied.
  2. Divide the cards into pairs and shuffle them.
  3. Lay the cards face down on a table or the floor.
  4. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  5. Teams take turns flipping over two cards, trying to find a matching pair.
  6. If a match is found, the team keeps the cards and earns points.
  7. If no match is found, the cards are flipped back over and the next team takes a turn.
  8. The game continues until all of the pairs have been found.
  9. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

12. Scattergories

Here is another educational game that will encourage students to think outside of the box. The game helps them to improve their creative thinking.

For this game, you need pieces of paper, pens, and a list of subject-specific categories. Notice a pattern? Most games can be used to improve subject-specific lessons. For example, in this vocabulary game, if Earth and Space are topics, categories include solar system, weather, and so on.

How to play:

  1. Choose categories related to the subject being studied (e.g. types of animals, colors, parts of speech, etc.).
  2. Write the categories on slips of paper and place them in a hat or bowl.
  3. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  4. Choose a letter of the alphabet.
  5. Teams have a set amount of time (e.g. 1 minute) to come up with as many words as they can that fit the categories and start with the chosen letter.
  6. Points are awarded for each unique word that fits the categories.
  7. Repeat the process with a different letter for each round.
  8. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

13. The Perfect Square

This game requires strong verbal communication and cooperation. You will also need a long rope with the ends tied together. Get something to use as a blindfold for students (bandanas, for example).

Students need to stand in a circle and hold the rope in front of them. When you give the signal, they have to put their blindfold on and set the rope on the ground in front of them.

How to play:

  1. Choose a concept or problem related to the subject being studied.
  2. Write the problem on the board or a piece of paper.
  3. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  4. Each team works together to solve the problem.
  5. Once a team thinks they have the solution, they write it in the form of a square on the board or paper.
  6. If the solution is correct, the team draws a line around the square, separating it from the rest of the board or paper.
  7. The next team then tries to solve another piece of the problem, writing their solution in another square.
  8. The process continues until the entire problem is solved and the board or paper is filled with connected squares.
  9. Points can be awarded for correct solutions, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

14. A-to-Z Game

For this simple activity, all you need is a whiteboard and pen. Students need to think of a word for each letter that fits into a certain topic.

How to play:

  1. Choose a subject or topic related to what the class is studying.
  2. Write the letters A to Z on the board or a piece of paper.
  3. Divide the class into teams of 2-4 students each.
  4. Each team takes turns naming an item related to the subject or topic that starts with the next letter of the alphabet (e.g. “apple” for A, “book” for B, etc.).
  5. If a team can’t think of an item, they are out of the game.
  6. The game continues until all 26 letters have been used.
  7. Points can be awarded for each item named, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

swords

15. Draw Swords

Don’t worry, we won’t be drawing swords today. It is a quick-fire game that tests the motor skills and quick thinking of the students. And it will provide some healthy competition in the class as well.

How to play:

  1. Choose a subject or topic related to what the class is studying (e.g. parts of speech, types of animals, etc.).
  2. Divide the class into two teams.
  3. Choose a student from one team to be the “drawer”.
  4. The drawer draws a picture of a word related to the subject or topic on the board or a piece of paper, without writing the word itself.
  5. The other team tries to guess what the word is.
  6. If a team guesses correctly, they score a point. If they guess incorrectly, the other team gets a chance to guess.
  7. The drawer then draws another word, and the process repeats.
  8. Points can be awarded for correct guesses, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

16. Four-Way Tug of War

Tug of war is a fun and competitive game. Today, we will teach you how to adapt it to your classroom. The fun outdoor activity can make it inside as well.

You might wonder what this game will teach kids. Well, besides teamwork, nothing more. Think of this game as a blowing steam game to play between learning sessions.

tug of war

How to play:

  1. Divide the class into four teams.
  2. Draw a large square on the floor using masking tape or chalk.
  3. Assign each team a corner of the square.
  4. Divide a rope into four sections, with one section going to each team.
  5. Have the teams stand in their designated corners, holding their section of the rope.
  6. The objective of the game is for each team to pull the rope towards their corner while the other teams resist.
  7. Teams must work together to coordinate their efforts in order to successfully pull the rope towards their corner.
  8. Points can be awarded for each successful pull, and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
balloons

17. Get to Know Your Balloons

This game is also great for team-building activities. It is a great game to play at the beginning of the year so that students get to know their peers.

How to play:

  1. Prepare a set of balloons, each with a different word or phrase related to what the class is studying (e.g. vocabulary words, historical events, etc.).
  2. Divide the class into pairs or small groups.
  3. Have each group choose a balloon from the set and pop it to reveal the word or phrase inside.
  4. The group must then use the word or phrase as a starting point for a conversation about the subject or topic.
  5. The conversation can cover the definition of the word, its context, related events, etc.
  6. Points can be awarded for each conversation, and the group with the most points at the end of the game wins.

18. Odd One Out

This quick game is a great way to improve the vocabulary of students. They also focus on logic. The game is rather simple.

How to play:

  1. Choose a subject or topic related to what the class is studying (e.g. parts of speech, types of animals, etc.).
  2. Write a set of words or phrases related to the subject or topic on the board or on slips of paper.
  3. Have the students work in pairs or small groups to categorize the words or phrases based on their relationships to each other.
  4. The objective is to identify the “odd one out” in each group, or the word or phrase that doesn’t fit the theme or pattern of the others.
  5. Points can be awarded for each correct categorization, and the group with the most points at the end of the game wins.
odd one

19. Marshmallow and Toothpick Challenge

Here is an engineering game you can try to play with your kids. Divide students into small to medium groups. Give each team an equal number of marshmallows and wooden toothpicks.

The challenge is to create the tallest, largest, or most creative structure. Of course, there is a set amount of time to finish the building.

How to play:

  1. Provide each student or group of students with a marshmallow and a set of toothpicks.
  2. Give the students a set amount of time (e.g. 10 minutes) to build the tallest, strongest structure they can using only the marshmallow and toothpicks.
  3. The structure must be free-standing and must not be supported by anything other than the marshmallow and toothpicks.
  4. Points can be awarded for height, strength, and creativity, and the student or group with the highest score at the end of the game wins.

20. Error Correction Relay Race

This ESL game has a lot of educational value. The goal here is to take a boring thing like error correction and turn it into something amazing. To do that, we set up a relay race.

This ESL activity uses speed and competition, but all students have to be quite familiar with finding and correcting errors in a sentence.

To prepare for this activity, create a worksheet with several errors. Focus on vocabulary errors, like misusing words in sentences.

How to play:

  1. Divide the class into teams of 4-6 students each.
  2. Prepare a set of sentences with grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, and write each sentence on a separate card.
  3. Arrange the teams in a line, with each student standing about 10-15 feet away from the next student in their team.
  4. The first student in each team is given a card with a sentence and must correct the errors or mistakes in the sentence.
  5. Once the student has corrected the sentence, they must run to the next student in their team and pass the card to them.
  6. The next student must then correct any remaining errors or mistakes in the sentence, and then run to the next student and pass the card.
  7. This process continues until all students in a team have corrected the sentence and the last student runs to the finish line.
  8. The first team to have all students complete the relay wins.

21. Who Am I? What Am I?

Let’s finish the list of classroom activities with a traditional game. You can easily adapt the classic party game into a classroom game.

Each student gets a secret thing taped to their back. They then have to ask yes or no questions. Other students answer the questions, and that student has to guess the answer.

who am i

How to play:

  1. Choose a subject or topic related to what the class is studying (e.g. famous people, historical events, etc.).
  2. Write the names of several items related to the subject or topic on slips of paper.
  3. Place the slips of paper in a hat or box, and have each student take one slip without looking at it.
  4. The objective of the game is for each student to figure out who or what they are based on the clues they receive from their classmates.
  5. Students can only ask yes or no questions to figure out their identity.
  6. Points can be awarded for the fastest guess, and the student with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Our ready-to-play game kits

Professor Swen’s Lab

houdini

Houdini’s Secret Room

Wooka Booka Island

the guilded

The Gilded Carcanet

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