Games are very good ways to keep students learning for longer periods. Games are enjoyable and fun as such participants won’t be watchful of the time spent and as such a lot can be learned within that time frame.
We love the ludo game in Nigeria but as much as that helps your brain do some little mental maths, it doesn’t help your vocabulary. Below are games that really help develop your vocabulary.
List of word games
From Pictionary to word scrambles to synonym memory, here is a list of fun word games to play in classrooms, at parties, or during meetings.
Pictionary is a game of charades where players draw words instead of acting them out.
Split the group into teams.
Each round, assign one team member to draw.
Give the drawing team member a word.
Allow up to sixty seconds for teammates to guess.
If the team guesses correctly, then assign one point.
You can give other teams the opportunity to steal, or move onto the next team’s turn. The game is a great way to practice new vocabulary, as players connect the word with an image. Pictionary is a fun game for virtual parties or in-person affairs.
To play Pictionary online, draw on the whiteboard app feature on your online meeting software.
2. Word Association
Word Association is one of the best ESL vocabulary games since playing does not require a large vocabulary. The rules are simple and easy to understand. Typically, the game involves two players.
Player one says a word.
Player two responds with the first word that comes to mind.
Player one either chooses a new word or responds to player two’s word.
The game continues until one player repeats a word or pauses too long.
The rapid pace of the game generates excitement and occasionally results in funny answers.
If a student makes a mistake, then the teacher can pause the game and ask the student to explain or find a more fitting word. Ideally, gamemasters should allow players a few extra seconds to respond. Players should never feel embarrassed. There are no wrong answers in word association, but the game can serve as a learning opportunity to find better words.
If playing via Zoom, then player one or the teacher speaks a word, and other students answer in the chat. The class counts up matching answers and discusses different responses, guessing the reasoning behind each answer.
Hangman is a classic chalkboard word game that translates easily to online play, thanks to digital whiteboards.
Assign a player a word.
The player draws a series of blanks corresponding to the number of letters in the word.
Other players guess letters.
If the letter is in the word, then the “executioner” fills in the blank. If not, then the executioner draws one portion of the gallows.
The game ends when players guess the word, or when the picture is complete.
The best words to use for hangman contain less-used letters like z, x, and q. Examples of hard hangman words include zigzagging, razzmatazz, and quadrants.
4. Word search
Word searches are common classroom vocabulary games. These activities work well for handouts, and you can play during video calls by using the whiteboard feature and enabling annotation
To make the game more competitive and exciting, turn the challenge into a race and award prizes to the first players to complete the puzzles.
Crossword puzzles consist of a series of interconnecting boxes, each of which starts blank but contains one letter by the end of the game. Under the puzzle are two lists of clues, across and down respectively. Solvers need to consider the meaning of words, number of letters, and surrounding words, making the game strategic as well as literary.
6. Word Scramble
Word scrambles make great games for English class, and adults enjoy these language brain teasers as well. Simply mix up the order of the letters and ask players to unscramble and identify the original words.
Here is a sample to start with.
Word scramble template
And here is the answer key.
Word scramble answer key
To make your own word scrambles, use an online letter randomizer.
Scrabble is one of the most popular word games for adults or children. Players must use letter tiles to assemble words on the game board.
Each player draws seven letter tiles.
During turns, players can play tiles or exchange them for new letters.
Players build words on the board, with each new word connecting to an existing word.
Tiles have a point value assigned depending on the challenge of the letter. When a player makes a word, tally the letter and add the score to the point board.
More challenging letters have higher point values. For example, E is one point, while Z is ten. To find the point values for each tile and read more gameplay tips, check out this guide from Hasbro.
To coordinate the game for language lessons, assign higher scores for vocabulary words, and ask players to use the words in a sentence for extra points.
Scrabble is easy to play online, too, making it one of the best digital vocabulary games. To play virtually, simply find a multiplayer online version of the game, such as Words With Friends.
Scattergories is one of the most fun and simple word games for adults. The game challenges players to think up words all starting with the same letter.
One player rolls a letter die or uses a letter generator to pick the first letter.
The timekeeper puts 60 seconds on the clock.
Players write down one answer per category starting with the letter.
When time runs out, players read the answers.
Players receive a point for every answer.
Alliterative phrases count for double or triple points. If two players have the same answer, then they must cross it out and neither receives points. Of course, a player will not receive points for blank answers either. At the end of each round, the player with the most points wins.
Here is a list of sample Scattergories categories:
A boy’s name, girl’s name, or gender neutral name
Four letter words
Types of drinks
Careers or professions
You could create more inventive categories for the game, or challenge players to make up prompts.
To play virtually, use the chat, screen-share, whiteboard functions in your virtual meeting platform. You can also share a Google Doc or Form, or join a multiplayer online Scattergories game together.
9. Tree or Bob Ross
Tree or Bob Ross is a fun video conference game that challenges players to guess a word by asking questions.
The player who conjures the word is The Post. The Post answers This or That questions whose answers help players narrow down the word.
The first question of the game is usually “is it more like a tree, or more like Bob Ross?” and The Post must answer accordingly. For instance, a rose is probably more like a tree, but Pinnochio presents an interesting challenge.
Each turn, the guesser adds a new word. For example, the second question might be, “is it more like a tree or a fern?” The game continues until players guess correctly. For more excitement, introduce a time limit, or award more points if players guess the word during earlier rounds.
Pyramid challenges players to guess words from context clues. The pyramid is a collection of six words, arranged with three on the bottom, two in the middle, and one at the top. To win, teams must guess all words within the pyramid in the allotted time.
Divide the group into teams.
Give one player on each team the pyramid.
The pyramid holder must give hints to teammates describing each word without using the actual name of the item.
When players guess correctly, the pyramid master can move to the next word. Or, players can say “pass,” and return to the word later.
Teams receive a point for every correct guess.
When determining the time limit, consider the age of your players and the difficulty of the words. In general, 30 seconds per word, or three minutes total, is a good place to start, but add or take away time to increase or decrease the challenge.