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.
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.
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.
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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
To play it, a person starts a sentence with a word. The next one has to repeat the word and continue the sentence. And so on. This game improves memory, but also helps you use new words in a common sentence.
6. 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.
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.
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.
To make it more challenging, you can add a list of forbidden words as well. For example, tell students and children they cannot use home, animals, or similar words for describing “habitat,” and see how they come to the correct answer.
8. 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, La chambre secrète d'Houdini 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?
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.
For this game, all you need is a whiteboard and pen or interactive whiteboard. Create a list of subject-specific words to inspire the students. Divide the class into teams or smaller groups. Select a student to stand at the front of the class and think of a word related to the lesson. Or you can give them a piece of paper with the word on it.
Then, the student must draw spaces on the whiteboard to represent each letter. Students then have to guess the word. They can guess one letter at a time or the whole word at any point of the game.
10. Hot Seat
This game looks a lot like the game show Password. To play the game, split the class into two teams or several smaller groups. Have them sit in teams facing the whiteboard.
Now, take an empty chair, one for each team, and then put it at the front of the class. The chair should face the team members, with their backs to the whiteboard. The chair is the “hot seat.”
One volunteer from each team should come to the hot seat and sit down. Now, prepare a list of vocabulary words to use for the game. Chose a word and write it clearly on the board.
Each team then takes a turn trying to help their teammate on the hot seat to guess the word. Students can use synonyms, definitions, antonyms, and anything they can think of. The goal is to work together and come up with the designated word.
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.
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.
Split students into small groups. Ask them to write down the categories on their pieces of paper. Chose one letter, A to Z, and give students a few minutes to think of a word for each category beginning with that letter.
After the timer runs out, allocate points for unique answers. For example, if two teams write the same word, neither gets points.
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.
Now, ask the students to turn and walk a short distance away from the circle. Assign a partner to any student who needs help.
In the end, have everyone come back to the rope and try to form a perfect square with a blindfold on. Set a time limit to make the game challenging. Students have to work together as a team to make it to the end.
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.
To make it more challenging, divide students into teams. Each team has to assign a person to write the words on the whiteboard. You can set up a timer and see which team comes up with more words in the set time.
And the best part is you can adapt the classroom game to any topic you are teaching.
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 do you play? Split the class into small groups and give each group a dictionary or textbook. Add a list of key vocabulary. Each group has to designate a student. That person has to place the dictionary or textbook under their arm.
Start the game by saying a word or image. Students then have to race to find it in their book, like drawing a sword from under their arm. The first student to find the word 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.
Tie two long jump ropes together at their center points.
This will create an X shape. To make it more visible, tie a bandana around the center point.
Use cones to form a circle that fits around the X and form four equal Ts. Each team stands at one end of the rope. Give a signal for the teams to start pulling. The objective is to pull the others in their direction so the bandana crosses to the outside of the circle of cones.
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.
Give an empty balloon and a slip of paper to each student. Students have to write get-to-know-you question on their paper. For example, how many siblings do you have? Do you love coffee? Do you have any pets? What do you do for fun, and so on.
Next, students have to put their question inside the balloon, blow it up, and tie the end. When everyone is ready, gather them together and on your signal, they toss the balloons up in the air.
After a few moments, call stop, and have each student grab one balloon and sit in a circle. Next, students pop the balloons, read the question, and then answer it.
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.
You write down four or five words in groups. One of the words should stand out.
For example, kale, spinach, cabbage, cucumber. Do you notice the odd one out here? It is cucumber, all others are leafy green vegetables.
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.
When you finish, have each group describe their building.
20. Error Correction Relay Race
This ESL game has a lot of educational value. How do you play this fun game? 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.
Students then have to work in teams to correct the worksheet as quickly as possible. Each student makes one correction and then passes the worksheet to the next person.
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.
Adapt the game to the subject or lesson you are teaching.