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Vocabulary Building Exercises: 31 Resources to Boost Your English Vocab (Plus Tips)

Are you ready to exercise your vocabulary learning muscles?

One BBC article says that if you know the 800 to 1,000 most common English words, you can understand 75% of everyday conversations.

Of course, that number assumes you’re a beginner. To become fluent in a language like English, you’ll need to know at least 10,000 words .

But, as a language teacher, I can honestly say that the more words you know, the better . Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time communicating with native English speakers.

Of course, you can do things like point at objects or make signs/symbols with your hands instead. But those can only get you so far. Eventually, you’ll need to use words—whether in spoken or written form—to express what you really mean.

Without further ado (Without saying any more), let’s get into the vocabulary building exercises to help you practice your English. Later, I’ll also talk about how these exercises can improve your English vocabulary and tips on how to get the most out of them. 

Let’s begin!

Traditional English Vocabulary Exercises

1. multiple-choice, 2. matching exercises, 3. odd one out, 4. word rearrangement, 5. word category tables, 6. word families, 7. find the synonym, 8. find the antonym, 9. translate the sentence, 10. fill in the blanks, 11. srs (spaced repetition system), 12. word search puzzles, 13. crosswords, 14. word games, apps and websites, 15. fluentu, 16. duolingo, 20. 4 pics 1 word, 22. quizlet, 23. vocabulary.com, 24. johnny grammar word challenge, 25. speakspeak english grammar & vocabulary exercises, 26. englishclub vocabulary quizzes, 27. learnenglishfeelgood vocabulary training, 28. “basic vocabulary in use”, 29. “word power made easy”, 30. “practice makes perfect: english vocabulary for beginning esl learners”, 31. “merriam-webster’s vocabulary builder”, how exercises can help you improve your english vocabulary, tips for learning with english vocabulary exercises.

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When you say that something is traditional , you mean that it’s the way something has been done for a relatively long time. So, I call the vocabulary building exercises below “traditional,” because schools have always used them to help students remember what they’ve learned in one form or another. 

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vocabulary improvement activities

Below, I’ve included some of these traditional exercises and what level they’re appropriate for.

person-answering-multiple-choice-exam

Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

As you can guess from the name, this is a type of exercise where you have to choose the right answer from several options. A typical multiple-choice exercise would look like this:

Choose the word that means the same as “big.”

  • Interactive subtitles: click any word to see detailed examples and explanations
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vocabulary improvement activities

d. miniscule

The correct answer is c , since all of the other answers mean the same thing as small , which is the opposite of big .

two-hands-linking-white-jigsaw-puzzles-together

Level: Beginner

Matching exercises are very popular with children. These exercises ask the learner to match a word with its picture, English definition or translation into their native language.

For example, does the picture above show a pair of hands, legs or feet? (The answer is hands. )

chess-pieces-with-one-dark-brown-piece-and-the-rest-being-light-brown

  • Learn words in the context of sentences
  • Swipe left or right to see more examples from other videos
  • Go beyond just a superficial understanding

vocabulary improvement activities

This type of exercise gives you several words. You then have to guess which one doesn’t belong with the others. For example:

Which of these words does not belong with the rest?

The correct answer is “b,” because  apple is a fruit, while everything else is a type of color .

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  • Go from understanding to speaking in a natural progression.

vocabulary improvement activities

In this type of exercise, you’ll be given some words that you have to rearrange to form a correct sentence. For example:

Fish animal an is water lives a in that. (The correct answer is “A fish is an animal that lives in water.” )

scrabble-tiles-forming-the-word-letters-positioned-diagonally-on-reflective-surface

Level: Intermediate, Advanced

These are a type of word building exercise, where you’re given the base form of a word, and you have to create new words based on it.

For example, how would you fill out this table if you’re given the noun “care?”

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vocabulary improvement activities

Here’s how I would answer it:

scrabble-rack-with-letters-spelling-out-the-phrase-quote-the-word-end-quote-stacked-on-top-of-books

In this exercise, you’re going to be given a word, and you have to write as many words related to it as you can.

For example, if the word is bake (to cook food in an oven), you can write baking ( gerund form of “bake”) , baked ( past tense of “bake”), baker (a person who bakes), bakery (a place that sells baked goods), overbake (bake too much), underbake (bake too little), prebake (bake beforehand) and so on.

twin-girls-making-v-gestures-at-camera

Remember the very first exercise I introduced, which involved choosing the word that means the same as “big?” Well,  big and  large are examples of  synonyms or words that have the same meaning.

vocabulary improvement activities

In the same way, small ,  tiny and  miniscule also mean the same thing.

red-pencil-facing-northeast-parallel-to-blue-pencil-facing-southwest

An antonym , on the other hand, has the opposite meaning as the given word.

For example, how would you fill out this table?

The answers are:

keyboard-with-key-to-the-left-of-the-a-key-replaced-with-united-states-flag

Translating sentences is very helpful because you can practice not only your newly learned words, but also your knowledge of English in general (such as grammar and sentence structure ).

There are two main types of translation exercises: English to your native language and vice versa (the other way around). Because translation exercises can be anything, I’ll point you to this post on specific ways to learn English by translation . 

white-jigsaw-puzzle-with-one-missing-piece

In this type of exercise, there are one or more words missing in a sentence or text, and you have to guess what those missing words are. Sometimes known as “cloze activities,” examples of them can be found here .

girls-shuffling-through-yellow-flashcards

If you’ve never heard of a  spaced repetition system ( SRS ) before, it’s a method where you review what you’ve studied within small blocks at a time (like 30 minutes), and gradually increase the time between those blocks.

For example, you might study your house vocabulary on Monday, then on Tuesday, then again on Thursday and again on Sunday. The  objective (thing you want to do or achieve) of this method is to give your brain enough time to absorb what you’ve learned, ensuring that you remember your lessons for as long as possible.

I’ll go into a few apps that can help you  incorporate (include) SRS into your vocabulary studies later. But if you’re not using apps for any reason, you can also use what I call the “double-time” technique.

Basically, it goes like this:

  • Start with repeating the words 12 hours after you first learn them.
  • Then, repeat them after twice that time has passed (one day or 24 hours), then double the time again (two days or 48 hours) and so on.

If you use this technique, you should be repeating the words after 12 hours, one day, two days, four days, eight days, etc. have passed since you started. The same can be done with whole exercises: Choose three to five vocabulary exercises that are challenging (difficult) for you, and do them again after 12 hours, one day, two days and so on.

You’ll be very impressed with the results!

word-search-puzzle-on-white-walls

In a word search exercise, you’ll be given a box or grid of random letters  jumbled (mixed) together, and you have to find certain words according to the instructions.

For example, you may be asked to find words related to the months of the year or animal sounds . Not only are they great for testing the vocabulary you’ve just learned, but they’re also fun to do!

scrabble-tiles-spelling-out-the-words-salt-fat-heat-acid-and-wine

If you’re an intermediate or advanced learner, you can try doing some crosswords in English. You can find these in physical newspapers or even online .

As you can see above, crossword puzzles are made of boxes arranged either  horizontally (lying down) or  vertically (standing up). You have to fill out the boxes based on the clues you’ll be given. The clues have numbers that correspond to (match) groups of boxes.

What makes this game challenging is that:

  • the word’s number of letters has to match the number of boxes; and
  • if any letter intersects with (goes across) another group of boxes, the intersecting letter has to be the same between the two words

multicolored-scrabble-tiles-with-the-letter-l-at-the-center

There are many types of word games available. Some come in the form of board games (like Scrabble ), others can be played in your browser (like Spellbound ) and still others can be downloaded to your phone as apps (like CodyCross ).

If you’re serious about practicing the vocabulary you learn, you should definitely give word games a try, no matter your level of English.

If you have a smartphone and internet connection, you can access thousands of vocabulary building exercises at your fingertips—literally! Here are a few of the best ones.

vocabulary improvement activities

Price: See pricing page here

Available on: iOS | Android

FluentU has many features that can help you learn English vocabulary without even realizing you are actually studying.

Every video comes with subtitles that are interactive and contextual. That means all you have to do is move your mouse over or tap on any word or expression and to get its translation. This will save you a lot of time because you will not have to look words up in a dictionary.

If you need more information about any word, just click on it while you are watching a video. This will open the interactive flashcard system.

FluentU’s flashcards include information such as the different meanings of a word, grammar info, audio recorded by native speakers, sample sentences with audio to see and listen to the word in context and a list of videos where you can find the word being used by native users of English. These flashcards will be all you need if you want to learn everything about any word you hear in the videos.

duolingo

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)

Duolingo is an app that’s  packed with (full of) exercises to help you build your English vocabulary.

Think of all the traditional exercises we talked about earlier combined into one  handy (useful) tool. It’s that powerful! Plus, it’s a gamified app, meaning it’s designed to make learning feel more like a game and less like another boring thing you need to do.

Of course, Duolingo isn’t perfect. You can read an honest review of the app here .

drops

Like Duolingo, Drops is a gamified app that features a ton of exercises to help you practice your English vocabulary. The lessons feature beautiful images for each word or phrase, making them easier to remember. And if you’re interested in the differences between American and British English , Drops features both of those English dialects!

Drops allows you to learn 3,000 words and phrases, which is enough to help you become conversational, but may leave you wanting more if you want to become fluent. For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of Drops, read this .

busuu

Go to the “My Vocabulary” section of your Busuu app, and you’ll find the “trainer” feature. This feature allows you to test how well you remember the words you learned through the app.

You can choose to take a quiz on all of the vocabulary words you’ve studied so far, or just the ones that you feel you’re having a little more trouble with. If you choose the latter option, your best bet is the “Strengthen Vocabulary” feature, which will test the words you previously got wrong.

Before you download this app, make sure to read this Busuu review first.

wordup

Available on:  iOS | Android

WordUp is one of the newer English vocabulary apps as of this writing. It can get you closer to native fluency than most apps, as it features 25,000 of the most “useful” English words. These are ranked according to how often they appear in real-world media like movies and TV shows .

WordUp uses  artificial intelligence (AI) to help you identify the words you already know and the words you still need to work on. Visual learners in particular will benefit from this app, because it creates “knowledge maps” where you can see your progress  at a glance (with one look).

4-pics-1-word

If you’re ready to take it up a notch (level up or make something more difficult) without losing the fun factor, there are few better games out there than 4 Pics 1 Word.

As its name suggests, you’ll be given four pictures, and you have to guess the one word that all those pictures have in common. For example, if you see four pictures of crying people, then the answer is “cry.” Of course, not all of the questions are as easy as that, so depending on your level, this could make the game either more interesting or more  intimidating (scary).

anki

Price: $24.99 for iOS; free for Android

Anki is probably the most popular flashcard app for learning languages. That’s because their flashcards are highly customizable , meaning you can create them to fit your learning style, study needs, etc.

You can tag words based on how easy (or how difficult) they are to remember. And if you don’t want to go through all the trouble of making flashcards on your own, you can always download entire decks made by other users!

For more information on how to use Anki for learning languages, go here .

quizlet

Like Anki, Quizlet is a flashcard app. If you type “english vocabulary” into the search bar, you’ll come up with over 600 pages of flashcard sets related to English vocabulary . Note that some of them are from English to other languages, however, so make sure you’re only using the ones labeled “English-English.”

Quizlet flashcards can be filtered according to the number of terms, the type of user who made them (random user or a teacher) and whether they contain additional features like images and diagrams. If you have an account, you can take advantage of the “Test” feature on each flashcard set to find out how many of the terms you can recall.

vocabulary

Price: Free

Vocabulary.com offers plenty of options for helping you learn vocabulary. You can go the traditional route and use their built-in dictionary and vocabulary lists. Or you can play their vocabulary games to your heart’s content (as much as you’d like)!

I especially like their English VocabTrainer . Using that, you can answer questions in a variety of formats—choosing the picture that best fits the word, choosing the best word to complete a sentence, choosing the synonym or antonym of a word and so on. This is one of the most comprehensive resources for English vocabulary exercises, in my opinion. 

johnny-grammar-word-challenge

This app from the British Council features 10 English vocabulary topics, including food , travel and small talk . If you want to practice vocabulary in particular, choose the “Words” quiz category, and pick one of three difficulty levels: Easy, Medium and Hard.

The nice thing about this app is that, if you get any answers wrong, you’re going to get detailed feedback. That way, you’ll know not to make the same mistake next time!

speakspeak

Available on: Website

SpeakSpeak sorts English vocabulary exercises according to difficulty level. Those marked A1/A2 are for beginners, those labeled B1/B2 are for intermediate learners and the C1/C2 exercises are for advanced students.

You can choose vocabulary exercises on specific topics like animal body parts, phrasal verbs and plural nouns. Not sure which topic to choose? No problem—just take the general knowledge quizzes for your level.

englishclub

Similar to SpeakSpeak, the vocabulary exercises on this website are sorted according to topic and difficulty level. They have some fun topics like movies, music and sports. And if you want to try out your mastery of adjectives , idioms and confusing words , the site covers those, too.

To take the quizzes appropriate to your level, scroll down until you find the section called “Graded Vocabulary Quizzes.”

learnenglishfeelgood

Unlike some of the other websites and apps listed so far, this one doesn’t sort quizzes according to difficulty level. Instead, they’re sorted according to topic.

For visual learners or those who like their quizzes with pictures, there are the “Visual Vocabulary Tests.” Those who want to brush up on their knowledge of holidays in the English-speaking world can scroll down to “Holidays.” And again, if you’re not sure what topic you want to work on right now, you can try any of the exercises under “Other Vocabulary Topics.”

There are also many books specifically designed to teach you vocabulary . This is arguably the most traditional way of getting your vocabulary practice. But I assure you that once you try it, you’ll fall in love with it!

Basic Vocabulary in Use: 60 Units of Vocabulary Practice in North American English With Answers

“Basic Vocabulary in Use” is the first in a three-book  series (group of things related to each other) called “English Vocabulary in Use.” Each book will teach you about 1,000 words appropriate for your level.

The format of the book is pretty intuitive (easy to understand without prior knowledge). You have the vocabulary words you’re studying on the left and the exercises on the right. That means you can easily check your answers after you’re done with the exercises—as long as you remember to cover the left side of the book while doing the quizzes.

Word Power Made Easy: The Complete Handbook for Building a Superior Vocabulary

I know English vocabulary books can get dry and boring at times. Luckily, “Word Power Made Easy” isn’t one of them. 

The words are defined in a way that’s  accessible (easy to understand) for most people. The author also writes  humorously (in a funny way), so you’ll  chuckle (laugh softly) as you go through this book.

Most importantly, the book is packed with quizzes and other review materials, ensuring that you’ll never forget anything you’ve learned from it.

Practice Makes Perfect: English Vocabulary for Beginning ESL Learners, Premium Fourth Edition

You can think of this one as the physical equivalent of the vocabulary exercise websites I just mentioned earlier. The words are grouped into topics and  accompanied by (come with) over 200 exercises.

Best of all, the exercise answers have audio that you can access using the free McGraw-Hill Language Lab app (available on iOS and Android ). This allows you to strengthen and practice your pronunciation of the new words you learn.

Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder | Perfect for prepping for SAT, ACT, TOEFL, & TOEIC

If you’ve ever searched for the meaning of any English word online, chances are you’ve come across a definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. That’s because the company is  reputable (well-respected), having had a long history of publishing dictionaries all the way back from 1847 !

The cool thing about this one is that, aside from definitions, it also teaches you the Latin and Greek roots of words. This helps you identify their meaning and easily spot similar words in the future.

Of course, the book wouldn’t be featured on this list if it doesn’t have exercises. In fact, it has those in spades (to have a large amount of something). And if you’re preparing for standardized English proficiency exams like the TOEFL and TOEIC, this is a handy resource to have with you.

  • They help you remember words and expressions more easily. If you’re only reading a list of words and their translations over and over again, you’ll get bored very fast and learn only a few words (if you learn anything at all). But if you try to learn the same list of words with the help of exercises, you’ll have more fun and learn many more new words. When you learn new words in context, you’re more likely to enjoy what you’re doing and have a greater chance of reaching your goal of increasing your English vocabulary.
  • They help you improve all four of the main language skills: listening, writing, reading and speaking. Many exercises concentrate on the written form, but others (especially those from apps or websites) have other features. Some of them have audio, others have reading comprehension exercises and still others encourage you to say the new words you learned out loud using speech recognition.
  • They help you break the  infamous (famous for being terrible) “Intermediate Plateau.” Also known as the “language learning plateau,” this is where you feel like you’re not learning fast enough or at all. Since this is often caused by the lack of vocabulary, it makes sense that exercises that build your English vocabulary can help you break the plateau and go to the next level.
  • Keep a notebook. I’m a huge fan of writing new words in a notebook and creating sentences with them. This is a  superb (great) exercise that will help you practice vocabulary and grammar at the same time. Plus, since you’re writing, you’ll be practicing one of the four major language skills and better remember what you’ve learned.
  • Choose the right level for you. If you’re a beginner, you’ll get discouraged if you try to do exercises meant for advanced learners. Likewise, if you’re an advanced learner, you’ll get bored with exercises that are too easy for your level. Ideally, you should take exercises that are one level above yours, but no higher than that. This will challenge you enough to grow, but not scare you enough that you’ll give up altogether.
  • Use the newly learned words in context. No matter how many words you memorize, you’ll eventually forget them if you don’t use them. So take advantage of these exercises to use your newly  acquired (gotten) vocabulary as much as possible.
  • Create your own vocabulary exercises. If none of the available exercises quite fit your needs, you can always make your own! All you need are a list of words you want to study, your imagination and a type of exercise. The exercise might be your own invention, or you could take inspiration from the existing ones above. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works for you!
  • Mix things up. To mix things up means to change or add something to what you’re currently doing. Instead of doing the same types of exercises, you can do things like learn English vocabulary from memes , choose five words for the day and use them to greet your friends and family, or do all of these other things to help you learn English vocabulary .

Now, you’re ready to use English vocabulary exercises in a way that will allow you to get the most out of them.

As you can see, the options are practically endless. You just have to choose the methods and techniques that work best for you.

Remember that learning English vocabulary can be fun and enjoyable if you do it correctly.

Use the tips included in this post, and you’ll feel the difference.

Happy English vocabulary learning!

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vocabulary improvement activities

Wonderful World English

Fun Vocabulary Activities: 10 Ways to Boost Word Skills

David De' Ath

Meet  David De’ Ath , founder, editor, and writer at Wonderful World English. With his extensive background as an English teacher, David provides valuable insights and practical tips on ESL for students and teachers alike.

Engaging students in the development of their vocabulary can be a challenging endeavor.

Traditional methods like memorization may not always resonate with every learner.

However, by integrating fun vocabulary activities into the learning process, educators can enhance students’ engagement and help them make meaningful connections with the words they’re learning.

Activities that are both enjoyable and educational can transform vocabulary learning from a tedious task into an exciting adventure that students look forward to.

To effectively expand a student’s lexicon, an array of activities that cater to different learning styles can be employed. 

Vocabulary games, interactive strategies, and creative learning tools introduce new words and reinforce their meanings and usage in various contexts.

The goal of these activities is not just to broaden students’ word banks but also to deepen their understanding and ability to apply vocabulary in real-life situations.

Through the deliberate use of these methods, vocabulary acquisition becomes a dynamic aspect of everyday classroom activities, promoting better communication skills across all subject areas.

Key Takeaways

  • Variety in vocabulary activities boosts engagement and understanding.
  • Games and interactive strategies support diverse learning styles.
  • Continuous application of vocabulary enhances real-world communication skills.

vocabulary improvement activities

Foundations of Vocabulary Activities

Students’ success in developing vocabulary skills hinges on systematic instruction and engaging activities.

This section explores the foundations that are integral for learning and boosting student confidence in vocabulary mastery.

Understanding Vocabulary Instruction

Vocabulary instruction goes beyond mere memorization of word meanings. 

Effective vocabulary teaching  involves strategies that encourage deep understanding and usage of words in various contexts.

Such instruction offers students the essential tools to interpret and convey nuanced meanings, leading to more precise and powerful communication.

Activities are designed to expand a student’s lexicon and enhance their ability to apply vocabulary knowledge practically.

Educators must select  activities  that facilitate repeated exposure to new words across different settings.

This reinforces word learning and helps integrate new vocabulary into a student’s active language repertoire.

For example, having students use new words in original short stories or discussions can solidify their understanding and retention.

For some insights into how to teach vocabulary to students, the guide below has you covered!

Related: How to Teach Vocabulary to ESL Students: Teacher’s Guide

Key Principles of Engaging Vocabulary Activities

When curating vocabulary activities, engagement, and interactivity are key principles.

Activities that encourage active participation will lead to higher levels of student engagement and, ultimately, greater learning outcomes.

  • Involved in collaborative tasks that require communication and peer interaction.
  • Challenged with creative and context-rich exercises like writing prompts or role-playing scenarios.
  • Provide immediate positive feedback to affirm correct usage.
  • Offer varying levels of difficulty to cater to diverse learning abilities.

Educators must thread these principles into the fabric of their vocabulary teaching methodologies to create an environment where students thrive.

Engaging vocabulary activities are potent tools that teach students new words and empower them with the confidence to use their expanding vocabularies effectively.

The goal is to transform passive learners into active users of language, enabling them to articulate their thoughts and ideas with clarity and precision.

vocabulary improvement activities

Effective Vocabulary Games and Activities

Educators often integrate games that make the learning process dynamic and engaging to enhance students’ word mastery.

These activities enrich students’ vocabularies and sharpen their recall and application skills in a lively, interactive setting.

Vocabulary Bingo and Jeopardy

Vocabulary Bingo  melds the thrill of competition with learning.

Students mark their bingo cards with the correct vocabulary words as definitions or synonyms are called out.

This game enforces not only word recognition but also comprehension.

Adapted from a traditional format, Vocabulary Bingo can be tailored to suit any grade level vocabulary list.

In a similar vein,  Vocabulary Jeopardy  challenges students to apply their knowledge in a game-show-style format.

Categories can range from word definitions to usage in context, broadening students’ understanding and retention.

Classroom Pictionary and Charades

Transforming vocabulary review into an artful activity,  Classroom Pictionary  has students illustrate vocabulary words, promoting a deeper connection between the word and its meaning.

As they draw, fellow pupils wager on the intended word, intertwining learning with creativity.

This visual approach often suits visual learners and adds an element of fun to the learning process.

Vocabulary Charades  takes a kinetic approach by having students act out words for their classmates to guess.

This activity is especially beneficial for kinesthetic learners and helps anchor word meanings with physicality, making vocabulary recall more instinctive.

Roll-a-Word and Vocabulary Relay

With  Roll-a-Word , students cast dice to engage with vocabulary in various ways—defining it, using it in a sentence, or identifying synonyms or antonyms.

This randomness injects an element of surprise into vocabulary practice, ensuring that students remain attentive and invested in the activity.

Vocabulary Relay  brings movement into the learning process.

Students race to a board to write sentences incorporating a vocabulary word, fostering quick thinking and teamwork.

The competitive element encourages speed and accuracy, and physical activity aids in memory retention.

Check out the guide below for our list of some of the BEST classroom games to play!

Related: Fun Classroom Games: Engage and Educate with These Ideas

Kids playing charades

Creative Vocabulary Learning Tools

In today’s classrooms, educators emphasize the importance of enhancing vocabulary through interactive and visual methods.

These tools enrich the students’ understanding of new words and encourage creativity and critical thinking.

Word Walls and Word Maps

Word Walls  and  Word Maps  transform passive learning into an active exploration of language.

A Word Wall is a visual collection of words displayed on a classroom wall, categorically or alphabetically, to enhance a student’s vocabulary knowledge.

Students absorb words and their meanings subconsciously by frequently interacting with the Word Wall. 

Word Maps , on the other hand, visually depict the relationship between a word and its features like antonyms, synonyms, and sentences, further cementing its usage and context.

Semantic Maps and Graphic Organizers

Semantic Maps  and  Graphic Organizers  are pivotal in organizing thoughts and relationships between words.

Semantic maps graphically represent the meanings and relations of words, allowing students to see connections and hierarchies.

This encourages deeper understanding as students link words to concepts and categories.

Graphic organizers can vary in complexity, from simple Venn diagrams to intricate flowcharts, which serve to visually represent ideas and definitions, guiding students through the process of integrating new vocabulary into their existing knowledge base.

Frayer Model and Crossword Puzzles

The  Frayer Model  is a type of graphic organizer tailored for vocabulary acquisition.

It typically consists of a square divided into four sections, where students note a word’s definition, characteristics, examples, and non-examples.

This structured approach aids in comprehensive understanding and retention of words.

Crossword Puzzles  blend the challenge of problem-solving with vocabulary practice.

As students fill in the blanks with correct words based on clues provided, they engage in critical thinking and apply their knowledge of sentence formation and word meanings.

Crosswords not only reinforce vocabulary but also make the learning process enjoyable.

Crosswords are just one of many excellent games for learning English.

For a complete guide of the BEST games to learn English, check out the link below!

Related: Best Games to Learn English: Ultimate Guide

vocabulary improvement activities

Interactive Vocabulary Instruction Strategies

Engaging students effectively in vocabulary learning can be a key factor in language acquisition and comprehension.

These interactive strategies reinforce word knowledge and enhance retention through playful and focused activities.

Tic-Tac-Toe and Concentration Games

Tic-Tac-Toe  can be adapted for vocabulary instruction by requiring students to define or correctly use a vocabulary word in order to place their X or O on the game grid.

This method turns a simple game into a powerful tool for reinforcing word meanings and usage.

A classic game of  Concentration , also known as Memory, can be played using pairs of vocabulary words and their definitions.

Students flip cards over, trying to find matching pairs, which promotes memorization and recall of vocabulary terms.

Vocabulary Hangman and Word Search

Vocabulary Hangman  encourages students to remember the spelling and meaning of words through a process of elimination and strategic guessing.

In a classroom setting, this classic game can be played with a focus on new vocabulary, providing an entertaining way to reinforce word learning.

Similarly,  Word Search  puzzles serve as a fun way for students to become familiar with the appearance and spelling of new vocabulary.

They must sift through a grid of letters, finding terms from their vocabulary list that can improve their ability to recognize these words in other contexts.

vocabulary improvement activities

Assessing Vocabulary Progress

Educators implement systematic assessments that measure a student’s command of academic language to ensure effective vocabulary growth.

These assessments not only gauge retention but also help in forming strategies to enhance word comprehension and usage.

Vocabulary Quizzes and Tests

Vocabulary quizzes  and  tests  serve as traditional tools to assess a student’s grasp of  vocabulary words .

They may come in various forms, including:

  • Multiple-choice questions, where students choose the correct definition or usage of a word.
  • Fill in the blanks, encouraging students to select the appropriate  vocabulary word  to complete a sentence.

Such assessments can highlight the direct  relationship  between the student’s  comprehension  of vocabulary and their overall  communication skills .

Performance-Based Assessments

Performance-based assessments  move beyond written tests to evaluate a student’s practical application of  academic vocabulary .

Examples of these might include:

  • Students engage in role-plays or debates using specific vocabulary words, which shows the integration of language into  communication skills .
  • Creating presentations or writing essays that make use of academic and content-specific terms to demonstrate  comprehension  and  success  in language mastery.

These methods emphasize the dynamic use of vocabulary as part of expressive language skills, presenting a more holistic view of student  assessment .

vocabulary improvement activities

Integrating fun and interactive activities into vocabulary learning transforms it from a mundane task to an engaging adventure, significantly enhancing student engagement and understanding.

Employing a variety of strategies, such as games, creative exercises, and technology-enhanced tools, caters to different learning styles and helps students make meaningful connections with new words.

This approach enriches students’ vocabularies and boosts their ability to apply language in real-life scenarios, improving communication skills across all subject areas.

The shift towards dynamic vocabulary instruction emphasizes active participation, collaboration, and creative expression, fostering a deeper appreciation for the nuances of language.

As educators adopt these innovative methods, they offer students a more rounded and enjoyable learning experience, preparing them for future success in communication.

Ultimately, the move from traditional memorization to engaging vocabulary activities marks a positive evolution in teaching methodologies, setting the stage for lifelong curiosity and growth in language acquisition.

We hope you find value in this guide; you can contact us if you need any assistance.

Have a wonderful day!

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7 Effective Vocabulary-Building Activities

vocabulary improvement activities

“I love the taste of words. They have a taste and a weight and a colour as well as a sound and a shape.”

—Philip Pullman

A 2008 article from  The   Washington Post showed how “ Students Dig Deep for Words’ Origins .” The article noted that Phil Rosenthal was one of the few high-school instructors in the United States teaching an etymology course. According to Rosenthal, students take the class because they want to brush up on their vocabulary skills before taking the ACT or SAT, and/or because they have a genuine interest in the history of words. (It was also reported that a few students sign up for the course thinking they will be studying insects.)

This article brought to mind my failed attempt at introducing middle-school students to the study of words. I took too much ownership of the unit. If I had approached word study as a process of shared inquiry, my students and I would have had a much more meaningful experience.

Here’s what we know about vocabulary development: There is a strong connection between a student’s vocabulary and his or her reading ability. The same is true for a student’s ability to listen, speak, and write. In fact, we now recognize that each person actually has four vocabularies, one each for reading, listening, speaking, and writing (listed here from largest to smallest). Obviously, there is much overlap, but students will always be able to recognize more words than they can produce.

In addition, giving students long lists of vocabulary words with little or no context is not an effective way to teach vocabulary; students must be actively involved in word study for it to mean anything to them. Simply put, if students don’t use the words they are studying, those words will not become part of the students’ “producing” vocabulary. To develop an effective vocabulary program, consider the following types of student-friendly activities:

Vocabulary-Building Activities

Previewing in context.

  • Select 5-6 words from a chapter or selection students are about to read.
  • Have students turn to the page in which each word is located. Ask the students to read the word in context and try to figure out its meaning.
  • Have students write down what they think each word means.
  • Discuss possible meanings and arrive at a definition in this context.

Self-Collection

  • Have students collect interesting words from different sources, preferably non-school sources.
  • Have students identify each word and the context in which it is used.
  • Next, have them analyze the word using its context, word parts, and dictionary definitions.

Language Families

  • Divide the class into eight groups, and have each group research one of the Indo-European language groups (Albanian, Armenian, Balto Slavic, and so on).
  • Afterward, have each group present their findings to the class. (Let the groups choose how they want to present their findings.)

See minilesson for "Discovering Word Origins (Etymology)."

Prefix, Suffix, Root Study

  • Assign students 3-4 word parts (prefixes, suffixes, roots) each week.
  • Give students strategies for learning these word parts.
  • Assign students one word part daily. As you take roll, have students write the word part, the definition, a sample word, and a sentence using the word.
  • Then have them brainstorm for familiar words that will help them remember the meaning of each word part.
  • Challenge them to combine the word parts they have studied into as many words as possible (perhaps in 5 minutes’ time or as a challenge assignment for the next day). Special cards can be used for this purpose.
  • Also challenge them to create “new” words using the word parts they have learned. To qualify, a new word should make sense and might be actually used.
  • Ask students to share their new words; partners should try to guess what each one means.

Special Note: Thoughtful Learning's writing handbooks contain extensive lists of prefixes, suffices, and roots.

Word Sleuthing I

  • On a regular basis, present students with a list of five or six mostly familiar words that contain the same root, prefix, or suffix. (Make the last one or two more challenging than the other words.)

Note: For extra credit, encourage students to provide some of these lists of words.

Word Sleuthing II

  • Provide students, on their own or in pairs, a word to investigate on the Internet. They should try to find as much as they can about the word, starting with its etymology. Instruct them to find information about the word from at least _________ sources (you determine the number) in addition to online dictionaries.
  • After their research, have students present their findings to the class. (Let students choose how they want to present their findings.)

Word Contest

  • For an end-of-the-week activity, have students, on their own or in pairs, be ready with pen and paper. Then give them 3-5 minutes to list as many words as they can containing a particular prefix or root. (Suffixes may not work as well.)
  • The winner is the individual or team listing the most words. (But make sure that each word is real.)

Reading is far and away the primary way for students to build their vocabularies, so encourage them to read all sorts of print and online materials. Along with that, employ a variety of activities (like the ones above) to help students appreciate the richness of the language. The combination should produce positive results.

Want more vocabulary-building activities?  

  • Explore 12 Vocabulary Activities for High School !

Teacher Support:

Click to find out more about this resource.

Standards Correlations:

The State Standards provide a way to evaluate your students' performance.

  • LAFS.K12.L.3.4
  • LAFS.K.L.3.4
  • LAFS.K12.L.3.5
  • LAFS.K.L.3.5
  • LAFS.K12.L.3.6

Upper Elementary Snapshots

23 Effective Vocabulary Activities

vocabulary improvement activities

  • Grades 6-12
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52 Words of the Week: Definitions, Activities, and Google Slides

Boost student vocab with versatile word activities.

vocabulary improvement activities

Want to start teaching your students a unique word every week? Word of the Week is a fun and easy way to build student vocabulary and expand language skills. Learn how to introduce the words and check out the activity ideas below. Plus, be sure to download our free Google Slides deck featuring 52 words —one for each week of the year!

Introducing Word of the Week

Word of the Week is a fantastic way to build vocabulary, especially at the elementary level, by introducing students to a new word each week. This practice expands their language skills and encourages them to express themselves more precisely and creatively. Plus, it’s fun to challenge students with intriguing and uncommon words.

Fun fact: Word of the Week is often referred to by the acronym WOW, reflecting the excitement it brings to the classroom!

Below, you’ll find engaging vocabulary activities that teach word meanings, expand vocabulary, and improve reading and writing skills. Experience the perks of classroom games as students engage in learning disguised as fun .

Word of the Week Activities

Explore interactive exercises that ignite students’ interest in expanding their vocabulary, and boost excitement for language learning while you’re at it. Studying a new word each week is not only beneficial for elementary students, it’s also fun! From interactive games to hands-on projects, these activities foster creativity and deepen students’ understanding of language. 

Roll the Die

Give this engaging dice game for kids a try with your students. Offering six thought-provoking activities to do with the weekly word, there’s all sorts of learning to be had here. Players eagerly anticipate their task with each roll, adding excitement to their exploration of the new word.

Here’s an example of six tasks students can do with the word they are focusing on, one for each roll of the dice.

Roll 1 – Write the word in a sentence using more than six words.

Roll 2 – Draw a picture to express the word.

Roll 3 – Write a newspaper headline that includes the word.

Roll 4 – Write the definition of the word in your own words.

Roll 5 – Find the Scrabble score of the word.

Roll 6 – Count the number of vowels and consonants in the word.

And why settle for one die when you can roll two dice? It’s double the fun for students as they take on the tasks assigned from each roll. 

However you choose to play, your students will benefit from the experience.

Scavenger Hunt

Everyone loves a fun scavenger hunt ! This one takes some prep work, but it’s worth it for all the learning involved.

Start by writing down and then hiding the weekly word in a creative spot within the classroom or designated play area. Next, write a series of 5 to 10 clues that will lead children to other clues, eventually arriving at the hidden word. 

Divide students into teams and distribute a different clue to each group. This way, they will follow different paths and the scavenger hunt will be more engaging and challenging for everyone involved.

As students progress through the scavenger hunt, moving from clue to clue, they eventually reach the final destination where the concealed Word of the Week awaits. Once found, students are tasked with making a sentence, written or verbal, that showcases the word’s meaning in context. Finally, gather the group for sentence sharing, reflection, and discussion, reinforcing the word’s meaning and proper use. 

This activity builds grammar and reading skills and fosters teamwork and critical thinking.

Word of the Week Relay Race

Relay races are a hit with elementary kids, blending teamwork and excitement into one thrilling activity.

To begin this vocabulary relay race, split the class into teams. To start the race, one student from each team will hop over to the board or a designated writing area with a writing utensil in hand. Once there, they write a sentence using the Word of the Week, demonstrating their understanding and creativity under pressure. They then speed-walk back to their team to pass the writing utensil to the next student, who continues the process. This creates a collection of sentences using the same word.

With each team member’s turn, the momentum builds as students create pretty impressive sentences. The race continues until each team member has contributed one sentence, culminating in a thrilling display of teamwork and linguistic agility. 

Through this activity, students reinforce their understanding of the word and hone their writing skills. Transform vocabulary practice into an exciting event that leaves students eager for more challenges with this relay race.

Vocabulary Notebook

Students can add the Word of the Week and its definition to a designated vocabulary notebook weekly. This simple practice helps them remember and incorporate these new words into their everyday language.

Encourage students to deepen their understanding by noting the word’s part of speech and a couple of its synonyms. They can also practice using the word in sentences to grasp its usage better. As a bonus, challenge students at the end of the month to use their newly acquired words in a paragraph.

Using a vocabulary notebook helps students learn new words, improve their writing, and foster a genuine appreciation for language. 

Word Collage Bonanza

To start this activity, students explore the meaning of the Word of the Week. Then, equipped with scissors, glue, and a colorful array of materials such as magazines, newspapers, stencils, vibrant paper, and writing utensils, students set off on the process of creating collages that visually represent the word they are studying. 

As they carefully cut out words, letters, and images, students are prompted to think deeply about how each piece contributes to the overall portrayal of the word’s meaning. They can use synonyms, related words, images, and even drawings to craft a beautiful collage, but there’s a twist: They can’t use the actual Word of the Week itself.

Not including the word in their collages encourages students to think creatively and critically about its meaning, helping them better understand and engage with the vocabulary concept.

Once the collages are complete, display them in the classroom as a visual reminder of the word’s meaning and the classroom’s artistic talent, reinforcing vocabulary retention and promoting a vibrant learning environment. 

Synonym Scramble

Students are invited to explore the vast landscape of language by creating a dynamic word web of synonyms. 

Starting with the Word of the Week, students research synonyms for that word and keep building a web that shows the richness of language.

Word connections will be mapped out as students construct an intricate web of words that highlight the richness and diversity of the English language.

This engaging synonym activity not only expands students’ vocabulary but also deepens their understanding of word relationships. Making synonym exploration fun turns learning new words into an exciting adventure, leaving students eager to expand their vocabulary.

Compose an Acrostic Poem

Add a splash of creativity and vocabulary building to your poetry unit with this activity. 

Students will write an acrostic poem using the Word of the Week. An acrostic poem is a form of poetry where the first letter of each line spells out a word or message vertically.

Encourage students to share their poems with classmates, sparking discussion to deepen everyone’s understanding of the word. Hearing peers’ perspectives opens their minds to the beauty of poetry, fostering an appreciation for language and creativity.

52 Word of the Week Picks

Ready to expand your word collection? We’ve compiled an amazing list of words, perfect for boosting elementary learning and great for middle and high school too.

Explore our list of 52 words, one for each week of the year. Plus, make teaching a breeze with our convenient Google Slides download for seamless integration into your classroom activities.

curious (adjective) [cu-ri-ous]

curious

Eager to learn more about something; inquisitive.

Miss Jenkins has a class full of curious 5th grade students who love to ask questions about everything.

wander (verb) [wan-der]

wander

Move about without a specific destination or with no purpose; stray, roam.

Violet wanders freely in the library, exploring shelves and discovering new books.

scrumptious (adjective) [scrump-tious]

scrumptious

Extremely delicious and enjoyable to eat; tasty.

The cookies were so scrumptious that they were gone soon after they came out of the oven.

fortnight (noun) [fort-night]

fortnight

Fourteen days and nights; two weeks.

In just a fortnight, I’ll be having tons of fun with my family on vacation.

impeccable (adjective) [im-pec-ca-ble]

impeccable

Flawless or perfect in quality, without mistakes or faults; immaculate.

The chef’s impeccable pancakes were fluffy and scrumptious.

strew (verb) [strew]

strew

Scatter or spread untidily over an area; sprinkle.

Papers were strewn across the desk, making it difficult to find the eraser.

supervision (noun) [su-per-vi-sion]

supervision

The action of watching over someone or something; oversight.

With proper supervision, children are allowed to swim in the pool all day.

gleeful (adjective) [glee-ful]

gleeful

Extremely happy or joyful; merry, cheerful.

Jonah was gleeful when he finished building his model spacecraft all by himself.

jeopardy (noun) [jeop-ar-dy]

jeopardy

Being in a risky situation where something bad could happen; danger, risk.

Climbing trees without supervision puts you in jeopardy of getting hurt.

empire (noun) [em-pire]

empire

A large group of territories or countries ruled by a single leader or government.

The king ruled over his empire as he saw fit. 

spunky (adjective) [spun-ky]

spunky

Lively, energetic, full of spirit.

Diego’s spunky personality shines through in everything he does, bringing joy to those around him.

tycoon (noun) [ty-coon]

tycoon

A very rich and powerful person in business or industry; mogul.

Opening several new stores this month, the spunky supermarket tycoon continues to build his empire.

peculiar (adjective) [pe-cu-liar]

peculiar

Strange or unusual, different from what is normal or expected; odd, bizarre.

The peculiar house on Maple Street had a neon-green door and a roof shaped like a cowboy hat.

succumb (verb) [suc-cumb]

succumb

To give in to something strong or tempting; surrender.

Despite his best efforts, Hersh eventually succumbed to the temptation of eating the entire cake.

authentic (adjective) [au-then-tic]

authentic

Real or genuine, not fake or copied; actual, true.

The pizza from the Italian restaurant tasted authentic, as if it came straight from Italy!

vigilant (adjective) [vig-i-lant]

vigilant

Alert and careful to avoid danger; on the lookout.

The tycoon’s security guard remained vigilant throughout the night, ensuring the safety of her empire.

prolific (adjective) [pro-lif-ic]

prolific

Marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity; fertile, productive, bountiful.

The prolific author wrote so many books that the library couldn’t fit them all on one shelf.

summon (verb) [sum-mon]

summon

To ask to come to a specific place for a specific purpose; send for, invite.

The coach will summon the players to the field for practice after school.

conceal (verb) [con-ceal]

conceal

Keep from sight, prevent from being known or noticed; hide, cover up, disguise.

During the spelling bee, Sophie tried to conceal her nervousness with a confident smile.

vibe (noun) [vibe]

vibe

The feeling or atmosphere that you get from a person, place, or situation; aura.

The party had a good vibe, with music playing and everyone laughing and having a good time.

ambition (noun) [am-bi-tion]

ambition

A strong desire to achieve something or to succeed; drive, aspiration.

Our science fair project won because we worked with ambition, setting high goals and doing our best to reach them.

tranquil (adjective) [tran-quil]

tranquil

Peaceful and calm, without any disturbance or noise; quiet.

During the art activity, the classroom was tranquil as everyone focused on their drawings.

versatile (adjective) [ver-sa-tile]

versatile

Able to do many different things well; adaptable.

The versatile artist could paint, sculpt, and even play music, showing skill in many art forms.

affirm (verb) [af-firm]

affirm

To confirm that something is true or correct; declare, assert.

Completing your chores without being asked will affirm you’re responsible.

dynamic (adjective) [dy-na-mic]

dynamic

Full of energy and excitement; energetic, lively.

The dynamic dance performance by the students brought the entire audience to their feet.

affable (adjective) [af-fa-ble]

affable

Friendly and easy to talk to; likable.

Sidney’s affable vibe made it easy for her to make friends at her new school.

intuitive (adjective) [in-tu-i-tive]

intuitive

Understanding something without needing to be told; instinctive.

The intuitive boy was able to understand the advanced board game after playing only one round.

radiant (adjective) [ra-di-ant]

radiant

Shining brightly or emitting light or heat; glowing.

The stars were radiant in the night sky, twinkling brightly above us.

cantankerous (adjective) [can-tan-ker-ous]

cantankerous

Bad-tempered, argumentative, uncooperative.

The cantankerous cat hissed at everyone and refused to be friendly.

oblivious (adjective) [o-bliv-i-ous]

oblivious

Not aware of or not noticing what is happening around you; unaware.

Enthralled by her video game, Sheila was oblivious to everything around her and didn’t hear her mom summoning her for dinner.

quadruped (noun) [quad-ru-ped]

quadruped

An animal that has four feet.

As the cat raced around the room on all fours, the kids learned a lot about this amazing quadruped.

enthusiastic (adjective) [en-thu-si-as-tic]

enthusiastic

Having excitement for and interest in something; eager, excited.

Ava was enthusiastic about organizing a fundraiser for her favorite charity.

remnant (noun) [rem-nant]

remnant

A small part that is left over after the main part has gone or been used; remainder.

The remnant of his birthday cake was just enough for Tyrone to enjoy a small slice after the party.

zeal (noun) [zeal]

zeal

Eagerness and enthusiasm for something; passion.

Sacha approached his project with zeal, eager to explore and make discoveries about outer space.

oblige (verb) [o-blige]

oblige

To do something because you have been asked to or because it is polite or right to do so; require. 

Peter felt obliged to help his friend with a challenging math question, so he explained the problem step-by-step.

tarnish (verb) [tar-nish]

tarnish

To make something less bright or clean, often due to exposure to air or other substances; discolor.

Leaving the silver necklace out made it tarnish, and now it doesn’t look shiny.

dwindle (verb) [dwin-dle]

dwindle

To gradually become smaller, fewer, or less, often to the point of disappearing; reduce.

The stack of cookies on the tray started to dwindle as the enthusiastic kids grabbed one after another.

prohibit (verb) [pro-hi-bit]

prohibit

To not allow something to happen; disallow, forbid.

The sign on the door prohibits pets from entering the store, so Reggie had to leave his dog outside.

askew (adjective or adverb) [a-skew]

askew

Not straight or not level, usually because something is not in its correct position; crooked.

She wore her hat askew, and this new look caught everyone’s attention.

xanthic (adjective) [xan-thic]

xanthic

Having a yellow or yellowish color; golden.

The xanthic flowers bloomed brightly in the garden.

clamor (noun) [clam-or]

clamor

A loud noise that goes on for some time; brouhaha, uproar.

The clamor of cars honking created chaos on the busy street.

experiential (adjective) [ex-pe-ri-en-tial]

experiential

Learning by doing or discovering things through hands-on activities and adventures; exploratory.

During a beach field trip, students took part in experiential learning as they looked at marine life in tide pools.

ominous (adjective) [om-i-nous]

ominous

Giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen; unfavorable.

The dark clouds looked ominous, like a sign that a storm might come soon.

chortle (verb) [chor-tle]

chortle

To laugh in a breathy, gleeful way; chuckle, giggle.

As the funny cartoon played on-screen, the children erupted into chortles of delight.

dormant (adjective) [dor-mant]

dormant

Temporarily inactive or asleep; resting, sleeping.

During the winter months, bears go into a dormant state, sleeping through most of the season.

mend (verb) [mend]

mend

To repair something that is broken or damaged; restore.

Theo is going to mend his torn shirt by sewing it back together with a needle and thread.

quarrel (noun) [quar-rel]

quarrel

An angry argument or disagreement between people; fight, squabble.

Nick and Marco had a quarrel about whose turn it was to use the swing, resulting in raised voices and hurt feelings.

zephyr (noun) [zeph-yr]

zephyr

A gentle, mild breeze; wind.

The zephyr lifted the kite into the sky.

distribute (verb) [dis-trib-ute]

distribute

To give out or deliver something to several recipients; dispense.

Taylor stood at the entrance, eager to distribute party hats to each of her friends as they arrived.

crucial (adjective) [cru-cial]

crucial

Of great importance or significance, especially in the success or failure of something; critical.

Water is crucial for plants to grow.

modest (adjective) [mod-est]

modest

Being humble, not showing off or bragging about yourself.

Even though he got the lead role in the school play, Ben remained modest and thanked his friends for their support.

sympathy (noun) [sym-pa-thy]

sympathy

Understanding and caring about someone’s feelings when they’re sad or going through a tough time; compassion.

Penny hugged her sister when she felt sad about losing the race, showing sympathy for her feelings.

Get Your Free Word of the Week Google Slides

Just fill out the form on this page to get our free Word of the Week Google Slides featuring all 52 of the words and definitions above.

Check out our list of teen slang words for even more definitions!

Do you have more good word of the week definitions join our we are teachers helpline group on facebook to let us know, you might also like.

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vocabulary improvement activities

Improve vocabulary with fun brain games

As you go through life, there comes a point when you realize that the vocabulary flash cards you considered dreadful in grade school might be more important than you originally thought. 

It’s true: Having a rich vocabulary is essential in both academic and professional settings. It helps you communicate effectively, express your thoughts and ideas, and better understand others. However, building vocabulary skills can be a daunting task—especially if you're not sure where to start.  

The good news? Vocabulary games and exercises can make learning new words much more fun and enjoyable. So keep reading to understand how and why, and learn our favorite tools for getting started.

How fun brain games help you improve your vocabulary

Vocabulary building games are fun and interactive activities designed to improve your vocabulary skills by teaching you new words in a way that’s actually engaging. 

Here are a few of the benefits of vocabulary games:

  • They make learning enjoyable and help you retain new words more effectively since they're motivating and engaging. (Who doesn’t love a fun game?)
  • They are adaptable to different learning styles and skill levels, making them a great resource if you’re looking to build your vocabulary skills.
  • They reinforce spelling, pronunciation, and word usage, all while building your vocabulary library.

Vocabulary building games often come in the form of puzzles, quizzes, or word games that challenge you to apply new words in a variety of contexts. In contrast to traditional methods of vocabulary learning, vocabulary games offer a fresh take on learning that can increase your motivation and break up the monotony of traditional study methods.

Improving vocabulary takes more than just flashcards

Flash cards are a traditional method for learning new vocabulary words, but we’ll be the first to admit: They can be dull and monotonous. 

There are many other more fun exercises that can be just as effective, including the following:

  • Writing sentences using new words: This exercise helps reinforce the meaning and usage of new words by placing them in context. By writing—or typing—sentences that incorporate new words, you can practice using them in a variety of situations and recognizing the words written elsewhere.
  • Creating a story that incorporates several new words: Similarly, creating a story that incorporates several new words can help you remember those words more effectively. By associating the words with a narrative, you can create a mental picture that makes the words more memorable. To learn more about this method of memorization, read about mnemonics . 
  • Using new words in everyday conversations or writing: One effective way to learn new words is to use them in your everyday conversations or writing. This helps you practice applying the words in real-life situations and reinforces their meaning and usage.

So, what makes these exercises so effective? 

The science behind why these exercises are effective for learning is based on the principles of active recall and spaced repetition . Active recall involves actively retrieving information from memory, which has been shown to improve long-term retention. And spaced repetition involves spacing out learning over time, rather than cramming information all at once. 

Language games can also improve your vocabulary

Now that you know about the benefits of vocabulary and language games, let’s discuss a few that you can play, from classroom vocabulary games that help keep students engaged, to games you can play with small groups on a Friday night. There are several language games that are effective for building vocabulary skills. Here are a few popular ones: 

  • Guess the Word: To play this vocabulary game, one person thinks of a word and gives hints while the others try to guess it in a certain amount of time. This game helps develop critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills, as players must use clues to infer the correct answer.
  • Throw the Ball: To play this vocabulary game, players take turns throwing a ball and saying a word that's related to the previous word listed, creating a chain of related words. This game helps players make connections between different words and expand their vocabulary in a more natural way.
  • Sticky Note: To play this vocabulary game, players write down vocabulary words on a sticky notes and then place them in various locations around the classroom or home. This game encourages learners to associate new words with their surroundings, making them more memorable.
  • Board Game: To play this vocabulary game, players move around a board while answering questions or solving puzzles related to vocabulary words, helping to reinforce word meanings and usage.

The best fun brain games for learning

Some light-hearted competition can also motivate you to boost your vocabulary. Grab your friends, then try these other word games that can help you learn new words while also have fun:

  • Scrabble: Scrabble is a popular word game that involves using letter tiles to create words on a board. The goal is to score points by creating high-scoring words and strategically placing tiles on the board. Scrabble helps you expand your vocabulary and improve your spelling skills, all while engaging in friendly competition.
  • Boggle: Boggle also involves creating words from letter tiles. But in this game, players shake a cube with lettered faces and then try to create as many words as possible from the letters shown. It’s a fast-paced game that helps you build your vocabulary and ability to think quickly under pressure.
  • Crossword puzzles: Crossword puzzles are a classic word game that involves filling in a grid with words that intersect at certain letters based on various clues. Crossword puzzles can be challenging, but they’re an effective way to expand your vocabulary while also improving problem-solving skills.
  • Word ladder: Word ladder is a word game where players try to turn one word into another by changing one letter at a time, with each intermediate step being a valid word. This game helps you develop your vocabulary and creative problem-solving skills.
  • Mad Libs: Mad Libs is a fun word game that involves filling in blank spaces in a pre-written story with different types of words, such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives. This game helps you learn new vocabulary words by allowing them to see how different words can be used in a silly context.

How play has been known to enhance learning

At this point, you might be wondering: What is it about great vocabulary games that makes them so effective? Research has shown that learning through play improves mood and engagement, and it also has many other psychological advantages :

  • Boosts positive emotions: When you’re engaged in a fun and interactive activity, your brain releases dopamine, which is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. This positive emotional response can increase motivation and help us remember new information more effectively.
  • Reduces stress: Learning new vocabulary through play can also reduce stress and anxiety. When you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, your brain is more receptive to new information, making it easier to remember and retain new words.
  • Increases social connection : Playing games with others can also enhance social connection and accountability for learning. By engaging in word games with friends or family members, you motivate each other to improve vocabulary skills and provide encouragement along the way.
  • Engages active learning: Learning vocabulary through play is an active form of learning that engages multiple senses and cognitive processes. By actively engaging with new words through games, you can reinforce your understanding of their meanings and usage.

Use the Elevate app to improve vocabulary

Want to know our favorite way to learn vocabulary skills and have fun in the process? Enter: The Elevate app. Elevate is a brain training app that includes a variety of engaging games and challenges designed to boost your cognitive abilities—including enhancing your vocabulary.

With several games designed to improve your vocabulary skills , Elevate helps you learn new words, practice using them, and increase your ability to communicate effectively. Plus, you’ll learn at your own pace, so you can build your confidence with new words as you strive to beat your high scores. 

What’s more? Elevate’s brain games aren’t, well, just fun and games. They deliver real results, with 90% of members reporting their vocabulary has improved. Pretty cool, right?

Start building your vocabulary today

So if you've decided that it’s time to ditch the flashcards and dictionaries and start building your vocabulary the fun way, go ahead and begin playing games with friends and download the award-winning Elevate app on iOS or Android . 

In no time, you’ll be able to impress everyone with your expanded vocabulary, all while having fun. That’s what we like to call a win-win.

Boost your word power

  • Discover fun and practical ways to build your internal word bank and improve your vocabulary.

10 overused words to avoid

  • Learn what overused words you should banish from your vocabulary to improve your communication.  

Improve vocabulary and memory with mnemonics

  • Mnemonics can boost memory and enrich vocabulary. Learn how to apply them in your everyday life. 
  • Our Mission

4 Activities to Boost Target Language Vocabulary Acquisition

To give his students repeated exposure to relevant vocabulary terms, the author relies on a tried-and-true tool: index cards.

Student reading a Spanish language dictionary

The wide scope of topics typically covered in intermediate to high-level world language classes requires students to master a lot of meaningful new terms. Given the time constraints students face and the virtually endless number of relevant lexical items, teachers often struggle to integrate vocabulary-developing activities into their daily practice. The problem becomes even more serious when we consider that for vocabulary instruction to be effective it needs to be not just explicit and engaging but frequent—which means running up against those time constraints repeatedly.

Developing a vocabulary deck can be a great way to keep a growing number of terms in learners’ lexical repertoire. A deck is an easy-to-create resource that can be exploited in numerous ways with minimal preparation. The following activities allow teachers to promote students’ vocabulary acquisition naturally by consistently drawing on different language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—at the same time.

Building a Vocabulary Deck

In each print or audio text we cover in my classes, I select several keywords that are important for students to know. I add only five to eight terms at a time—early in a course there may be more new words than that in a single text, but emphasizing too many new terms at once may overwhelm most learners.

The items I select are often associated with formal contexts, and they may appear frequently in the authentic materials students deal with in class, regardless of the topic—terms such as to carry out , achievement , scarce , on average , and findings . Sometimes the terms are specific to a certain field; for these words, I try to involve students by asking them to imagine they are specialists in that field (biology, technology, art, etc.) about to travel to a country where the target language is spoken. They need to select and learn vocabulary that will be useful for them to do their work in the target culture.

World language vocabulary cards

I write each word on a four-by-six-inch index card in large enough letters to be read from all the way across the classroom. As the year goes on, the deck grows and is gradually purged of words that my students and I deem too easy. Still, it’s valuable to keep a certain amount of unchallenging terms because they’re reminders of what students know and they help keep all students engaged.

4 Vocabulary Deck Activities

1. Source retelling: I summarize out loud ideas from a source text we’ve covered in class, leaving out keywords that students, working in groups, need to guess. This is a more complex exercise than it may seem: Students need to use their background knowledge and their listening skills as they recall fairly complex content and mobilize their lexical knowledge, and they have to use the target language when conferring in their groups.

Once the correct answer is provided, I hold up the card for everyone to see. Since students work in groups and anyone in the class can call out an answer, the stakes are very low. As an alternative, you can designate an official speaker for each group. At the end of the class, as a review activity, I may ask one or two students to play the role of the teacher, which has the bonus of fostering a cohesive and inclusive learning community.

2. Quickfire rounds: Divided in teams of three or four members, students take turns trying to have their teammates guess as many words from the deck as possible in 30 to 60 seconds by writing a sentence with a blank space where the keyword would go. To ease anxiety, I sometimes let students skip one or two cards. Some groups may be more engaged if I keep score, but this is not always the case.

On occasion I may challenge students to make up original sentences (not definitions), and I push them to venture outside the original context and discover the potential semantic range of each term. For example, if they learn a Spanish word such as nivel (level) in a text that deals with waste management, I might require them to use the word in a sentence that deals with a different topic.

3. Whiteboard descriptions: In this activity, one or two students stand in front of the room while I display for the rest of the class a word from the deck. The group tries to lead the standing student or students to guess the word by writing definitions on their whiteboards.

This activity provides a valuable opportunity to informally assess written accuracy, especially if learners are directed to use only one specific structure or tense. With these constraints, both the student who needs to guess the word and the ones writing definitions receive repeated exposure to a certain language feature, which promotes grammatical awareness.

4. Vocabulary sweep-up: Students lay out all the cards on a table or other large surface and then take 30- to 45-second turns picking them up after using a card’s word in a sentence that shows they understand the meaning of it. They use, or sweep up, as many words as they can during the allotted time. This activity can be done with groups each working on their own or as a competition between groups.

In order to get students to speak spontaneously in this activity, I may call on them randomly. If I do this, I work to reduce students’ anxiety by making it clear that any inaccuracies carry little consequence as long as speakers manage to produce meaningful stretches of language.

Seeing which words are the last to be swept up shows me which vocabulary words may need to be reviewed. For students, it’s often empowering to see how many words they’re able to sweep up in just a few minutes.

12 Great Vocabulary Games To Make Learning Words More Fun

12 Great Vocabulary Games To Make Learning Words More Fun

Memorizing new words for your language study can be very uneventful and tedious. To spice things up, we compiled the best vocabulary games to get.

Language study is all about learning a new alphabet, grammar rules, refining pronunciation, and improving your vocabulary . Almost all of these learning areas use hands-on learning. However, we cannot say the same with learning vocabulary. 

In its simplest form, learning vocabulary is just memorizing tons of words or phrases. It might be fun for a while, but it gets tedious once the student learns the basic terms. Unsurprisingly, this is the part where most students procrastinate and get bored. Educators and self-learners opt to use fun vocabulary games to combat this problem. 

Improvements are achieved in different forms when it comes to language learning. Some students can achieve growth by studying alone, while others can perform better with friends and classmates. And others would enjoy the learning experience more if the experience is interactive. 

And when it comes to interactive experiences, playing fun games with other people is still a good option. When it comes to vocabulary games, players have many options to choose from: the classic Scrabble to the newer Pictionary. We compiled the 12 most common vocabulary games used by self-learners and language teachers. 

Should You Use Games To Expand Vocabulary? 

Heavily-debated grammar vs. vocabulary is a common question in a lot of language learning communities. Should you master your grammar first, or is it better if you improve your vocabulary first? The answer to this is entirely in a gray area. But there is no doubt that memorizing new words is not as fun as practicing grammar to many learners. 

With this in mind, educators and self-learners started incorporating fun games and activities in their lessons. It can create motivation for self-learners, as well as friendly competition in a classroom. Additionally, according to a Takming University of Science and Technology study, learners usually felt less afraid and more confident while speaking with their L2 language during vocabulary games. 

To add up to this, a study from the Education Resources Information Center recommends using games for teaching a new language. Games are very useful during the initial stages of second language acquisition. Hence, interactive activities during the first language study stages are vital in learning an L2. 

In addition to the friendly competition, using vocabulary games encourage the whole team to work together. Students are more willing to use natural opportunities to show what they learned during these friendly competitions. Overall, games make learning way more engaging and enjoyable. And when students enjoy the activity, they tend to get motivated and learn quickly. 

What About Other Apps?

Methodical repetition is a part of expanding one’s lexicon.  With this in mind, developers of language learning apps use the “Spaced Repetition,” in which the learner is re-introduced to words and phrases after memorizing the terms for the first time. 

Although these apps are not “games” in the traditional sense, they are still helpful in memorizing foreign words. Most learners recommend these apps when learning alone or when memorizing more words. But when they get stuck in a hard lesson or are learning with a group, they tend to enjoy interactive games more. 

12 Games For An Enjoyable Vocabulary Learning

The constant effort for learning a language can give burnout and unrewarding progress for the learner. That’s why it is an excellent idea to invigorate and relax with your study if you have a chance. But if you want to do both studying and relaxing, that’s also possible. You can try out these easy yet fun vocabulary games and see if games can work with your learning style.

1. Scrabble

Scrabble is quite a popular game for language learners. It is a board-and-tile game with 100 tiles that can be filled with letters. Up to four players can play all at once, taking turns to put their notes on the board. To get a score, the player must place letters that form a word. 

Each letter has its own score value: common letters have smaller points while the rarely used ones (like Q, J, and X) gets more points. On each turn, the players need to find a word by placing their letter tiles on existing ones. When the board is full of letter tiles, the game ends. Whoever gets the highest score wins the game. 

Hangman is a word-guessing game that can be played alone or with other players. Unlike Scrabble, the game only needs a piece of paper or chalkboards to start the game. The game host will draw a hangman stick on the board or paper. He or she will then think of a word in which the players will need to guess. 

The host needs to add dashes under the drawing, representing the number of letters to be guessed. Players will take a turn in guessing possible letters while the host fills up the dashes if the players guessed the right letters. This goes on until the word is revealed, or if the players used up all their guesses. 

3. Word Search

Word Search is quite a popular word enjoyed by a wide age range. The players with better knowledge in vocabulary (and eyesight) usually get the win. A grid of letters is placed inside a box. The player’s task is to find the words that appear in the grid. Only vertical, horizontal, and diagonal words are allowed. 

This game can be played in two easy variants: listless or time-based variation. In the traditional version, the player needs to find the words listed in a paper as soon as possible. If no word list is given, the team who finds the most letters within a specific period will be the winner. 

4. Vocabulary Checkers

The Vocabulary Checkers is played the same as the usual checkers. Two players will be playing on a board, and whoever gets all the pieces of the enemy wins. But because this is vocabulary checkers, there is a twist. Each black tile has a word attached to it. Before any player can claim a square, they need to define the word or use it in a sentence. Hence, each move you make is also a vocabulary practice. 

5. Vocabulary Bingo

This game is aimed at beginners who are studying their first set of words. On a piece of paper, the students would need to draw a 4x4 grid. Teachers would write words on each box and distribute bingo markers. After the preparations, the teacher will start the game by reading the definitions of the words out loud. Students who have those words on their card should mark them up. Whoever fills the card first will win.  

6. Pictionary

Pictionary is a vocabulary game that needs two groups to play. The facilitator can decide on whether they will use a specialized Pictionary game board or not, but it can be played without it nonetheless. After grouping the class, a group representative will go to the board and receive a word. He or she will draw what the word represents, and the group would need to guess what it is. To win, the group should guess the word correctly within a certain time limit. 

7. Headbanz

If you have a small group, you can try Vocabulary Headbanz instead. To play this game, you need flashcards and a headband. One player would wear the headband and will guess the word attached to it. To guess the mystery word, the player will ask questions about vocabulary, such as “Is the word a verb?” Meanwhile, another player will answer “yes” or “no” to the queries. To get a point, the headband player needs to guess the word before the time runs out. 

8. Crossword

The classic crossword puzzle is a fun vocabulary game for solo players. You probably tried this game once or twice when you found a random newspaper. Fortunately, you can find unsolved puzzles online to practice and improve. Crosswords don’t only test your vocabulary skills. It can also test your general knowledge about other topics. Filling a crossword without cheating is the most satisfying thing about this game. But you also learn new things when you look up words that you don’t know, so it’s still a win-win situation. 

9. 20 Objects

Another game for classroom setup, 20 Objects is easy to set up and easy to check. It can also be played regardless of the number of players. First, pick 20 objects and show them to your class. Make sure that these objects are easily recognizable and are commonly known. 

Give your students a minute to memorize as many objects as they could. After this initial minute, the students need to write down the objects they remember in their target language. The player with the most correct answers wins the game. 

10. Chalkboard Acronym

In Chalkboard Acronym, the game facilitator will write down a word on a board vertically. The class must come up with words for each letter on the board. Each word should still be related to the original word from the facilitator. 

Despite its name, the Chalkboard Acronym game can be played on paper or another medium. But for classroom settings, using a board is necessary. The goal for this game isn’t to win. Instead, the whole class needs to come up with words to show their vocabulary skills. 

11. Popsicle Vocabulary

What sets this game apart from the other games above is the fact that you can modify this game as a routine. To play this game, write down words to popsicle sticks. Get one stick from the container, and give its definition. This is also a great way to learn new words or new phrases. 

By the end of the day, put the popsicle stick back to the container. Once you picked it up again, instead of defining it, you need to give both a synonym and an antonym for that word. If you’re confident with your answers in the current batch, it’s time to replace your popsicle sticks. 

12. Classic Charades

And last but not least, the classic charades should also bring good fun as a group activity. In this game, a group representative will be given a word to act out in front of his or her groupmate. The groupmates should guess the right word before the timer runs out.  

Looking for other ways to master a new language? Try these top online learning platforms: Begin your journey with Babbel , where you can enjoy user-friendly, enriching lessons tailored to fit seamlessly into your daily routine, complete with interactive exercises and cultural insights. For a deeper dive into language mastery, Udemy offers detailed courses that cover all proficiency levels from beginner to advanced.

Additionally, Preply provides personalized sessions with native speakers to refine your conversational skills. Get started on Preply with a 50% discount on your first session through this link .

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Reading Worksheets, Spelling, Grammar, Comprehension, Lesson Plans

Vocabulary Worksheets

Vocabulary is a fundamental learning concept but covers many different areas. We've developed hundreds of practice activities to help your student improve their vocabulary skills. You'll find worksheet activities around the alphabet, dictionary skills, Fry sight words, Dolch sight words, phonetics, homographs, homophones, prefixes, proverbs and adages, root words, shades of meaning, suffixes, synonyms and antonyms! All of our printable worksheets are designed around common core standards and cover a broad range of skill levels from kindergarten through high school.  Feel free to print copies for your classroom or at home.

Alphabet Worksheets

Cursive Z - Printable Alphabet Letters Practice Activity

Dictionary Skills Worksheets

Using the Dictionary Worsheet Activity - Using Guide Words

These worksheets help students to learn how to effectively use a dictionary. All worksheets are free to use at home or in the classroom. Just print and duplicate!

Fry Word List - 1,000 High Frequency Words

Sight Words List - Free, Printable Fry Word List - Third 100

Homograph Worksheets - Learning About Homographs

What are Homographs - Free, Printable Worksheet Activity

Homophone Worksheets

Correct the Homophones - Free, Printable Homophone Worksheet

Phonics Worksheets | Phonetics

Blended Consonants Worksheet - Creating New Words with ST

Prefix Worksheets

What is the Prefix Worksheet - Free, Printable Activity

Proverbs and Adages Worksheets

vocabulary improvement activities

These worksheets hep students to understand the meaning of proverbs and adages, looking into the deeper meaning of these phrases.

Greek and Latin Root Words

Printable Root Word Worksheet - Adding S, ED, and ING

Shades of Meaning Worksheets

Shades of Word Meanings Worksheet - Strong Versus Weak

These worksheets help students learn to interpret the shades of meaning behind specific words, in order to help with reading comprehension and writing.

Suffix Worksheets

What's the Suffix Worksheet - Free, Printable Worksheet Activity

Synonym Worksheets and Antonym Worksheets

Printable Parts of Speech Activity - Synonyms or Antonyms?

vocabulary improvement activities

Engaging Vocabulary Games: 25 Must-Try Activities for English Language Learners

vocabulary games for ELLs

  • December 8, 2023
  • Lesson Planning , Newcomers , Podcast

On the Equipping ELLs podcast we’ve been delving into the world of vocabulary development, and the topic of episode #104 is a personal favorite – using games to enhance vocabulary learning among ELLs. nike air max 90 carhartt uk μπουφαν γυναικειο speed x cordura ćwiczenia na rowerze köröm díszítő szalagok logitech c270 microphone not working nike air max ivo black and white μπουφαν γυναικειο speed x cordura nfl jersey sales polaroid κάμερα ipad 2019 hülle mit tastatur und stifthalter nike air max 90 carhartt uk golf d Purchase college team jerseys at a discounted price and of high quality

The Power of Games in Vocabulary Learning

Before we dive into our list of 25 vocabulary-boosting games, let’s explore why games are incredibly beneficial for ELLs:

  • Enhanced Concentration: Games naturally boost students’ ability to focus and concentrate while learning.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Through games, students develop logical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  • Vocabulary and Memory Improvement: Games offer a platform for practicing and applying learned vocabulary while improving memory skills.
  • Improvement in Speaking and Reading: Depending on the game, students can enhance their speaking and reading skills in a fun setting.
  • They’re fun. Games encourage social interaction, excitement, and peer-to-peer communication, making students happy and engaged in the learning process!

Now let’s check out these 25 games to support your students’ vocabulary development! To make these even easier to use, I’ve categorized these games based on different language proficiency levels!

Games for Newcomers:

  • Bingo: A classic game with various versions, adaptable to different vocabulary learning styles. You can use pictures, words, or a combination of the two. Students can even create their own BINGO card.
  • Word Searches: Remember to adapt font size and complexity to not overwhelm your newcomers.
  • Headbands: A fun vocabulary description game adaptable to different language levels. You can buy the game, or just use post-it notes! Describing is a great skill to practice!
  • Pop: A thrilling word guessing game that adds excitement with the “pop” element! Check out the freebie in the resources below.
  • Pictionary: An excellent way for newcomers to practice vocabulary through drawing. This takes the pressure off of the artist to speak!
  • Memory: Versatile game adaptable to different levels – picture-to-picture, picture-to-word, word-to-sentence matching.
  • Dominoes: Create customized game pieces for pairing homophones or related words.
  • Tic-Tac-Toe: An adaptable game where learners use vocabulary to play strategically. Listen to the episode to hear how students could utilize literacy or oracy skills when playing this classic game!

Games for Intermediate Learners:

  • Apples to Apples: This game encourages discussion and expanding adjective use. It also gets students talking to share their opinions and to explain why they chose the word they did. Try the Apples to Apples Junior or BIG PICTURE versions!
  • Guess in Ten: Students guess a word based on questions to expand vocabulary and critical thinking. This is so easy, and can be played while you walk a student back to class, or played between students during class.
  •  Scategories: Enhancing vocabulary by thinking of words that fit into given categories that begin with the letter rolled on the die.
  • Guess Who: Encourages detailed description, questioning, and analysis skills. (Guess Where is another great version of this classic game!)
  • Blurt!: Helps develop auditory comprehension, word recall and vocabulary!

Games for Advanced Learners:

  • Taboo: A guessing game challenging students to describe words without using specific terms.
  • Catchphrase: Students will love this hot-potato style vocabulary game that will stimulate quick-thinking and quick-responses!
  • Tribond: A challenging game requiring finding commonalities between three words. This game works great in groups!
  • Upwords: A word-building game, similar to Scrabble but with added complexity. It works great to practice word families!
  • Banana Grams: A fast-paced spelling and word-forming game.

Quick and Completely Prep-Free Games for All Levels:

  • 20 Questions: A guessing game where students ask questions to identify a word.
  • Categories: You throw out a sentence and they shout out words that go in that category!
  • Charades: Act out vocabulary words for others to guess.
  • Team Vocabulary Races: Vocabulary-based races to encourage quick thinking.
  • Switching Places: Students will match definitions with words in this game that has everyone moving and on their feet!
  • Inside-Outside Circle: A game involving word swapping and movement. There are so many variations for this Kagan strategy!
  • Vocabulary Roll-a-Word: A dice-based game encouraging varied word use and understanding.

Games are powerful tools for making language learning engaging and fun. They not only facilitate vocabulary acquisition but also provide a delightful way to reinforce lessons and foster a love for language exploration. Be sure to get your free sample pack of Pop below in the Resources! And then show us some love on social media! Post a picture of your class enjoying the Pop games from Inspiring Young Learners and tag us on Instagram!

  • ⁠⁠⁠Join the Equipping ELLs Membership (We have everything you need for your school year!)
  • Shop our TpT Store for Hundreds of ELL Resources
  • [FREEBIE] Pop! Printable Game
  • Check out this episode for great tech tools for vocabulary development

Connect with Beth:

  • Follow Equipping ELLs on Instagram

More about Equipping ELLs:

We all know that teaching isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be this hard. Equipping ELLs is a podcast for both ESL specialists and homeroom teachers who are looking for effective and engaging ways to support their English Language Learners without adding to their endless to-do list. Tune in each week to hear tips, strategies, and inspirational stories that will empower you to better reach your ELL students, equip them with life-long skills, and strengthen relationships with colleagues and parents.

Your host, Beth Vaucher, is the founder of Inspiring Young Learners. She is an ESL certified homeroom teacher with over 10 years of experience teaching in the US and internationally. Her background of M.Ed in ESL and Curriculum and Instruction combined with her experience has led her to develop a bestselling newcomer curriculum that has sold in over 90 countries around the globe. She brings a different perspective to teaching ELLs from her years teaching and living abroad and working with ELLs from around the world. You will walk away from each episode with the ideas and tools you need to transform your experience as a teacher and cultivate a thriving and welcoming environment for your ELL students.

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NYT Connections Answers And Hints - May 27, 2024 Solution #351

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Category hints, today's answers.

It's a new day and that means a new puzzle wall to solve in the New York Times's Connections game. If you're looking to save your streak and only want to nail down that last pesky category, don't worry - we have all the hints you could need.

10 Best Indie Puzzle Games

If you like some innovative and original puzzle-solving games, you can't go wrong with our selection of indie titles.

You'll find everything you need below, from vague hints as to what you should be looking for to the outright answers. Whether you're looking for a nudge in the right direction or a sneaky way to preserve your blemish-free record, you've come to the right place.

If you're here by mistake and instead need the answers for May 26 , click here .

Today's puzzle is a fun one.

We'll present these hints from the easiest category to the hardest , as prescribed by the puzzle itself - Yellow, Green, Blue, then Purple.

If you want today's category hints, click below ! These will not spoil the actual names of the categories but will nudge you in the right direction.

Today's yellow category is what you have when you have a role in something. People will listen to you.

Today's green category is related to ordering a pet to do something.

Today's blue category relates to music and singing. 'Sharp' would also fit here.

Today's purple category has words that can all be followed by a hard metal.

Herring Watch : Be careful that you don't put 'Flat' in the purple category, know that the blue category is more specific than 'sound-related words', and ignore the various round things.

We were a bit distracted by a red herring on this one.

If you want today's answers, click below !

Today's answers are listed below:

Yellow Category : Agency In Decisionmaking

Choice, Say, Voice, Vote

Green Category : Dog Commands

Down, Heel, Shake, Speak

Blue Category : Kinds Of Notes

Flat, Natural, Quarter, Whole

Purple Category : _____ Iron

Pump, Steam, Tire, Waffle

Mobile Games That Can Improve Your Vocabulary

These mobile word games can help you learn new words and expand your vocabulary.

  • Indie Games

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COMMENTS

  1. 36 Meaningful Vocabulary Activities for Every Grade

    Southern Fried Teachin'. 4. Sketch up word maps. Creating word maps from vocabulary words encourages students to find the relationships between the vocabulary word and other words. Have them include words, pictures, examples, real-world connections, definitions, descriptive words, etc. Learn more: Word Map.

  2. Vocabulary Building Exercises: 31 Resources to Boost Your ...

    Vocabulary.com offers plenty of options for helping you learn vocabulary. You can go the traditional route and use their built-in dictionary and vocabulary lists. Or you can play their vocabulary games to your heart's content (as much as you'd like)! I especially like their English VocabTrainer. Using that, you can answer questions in a ...

  3. Fun Vocabulary Activities: 10 Ways to Boost Word Skills

    Tic-Tac-Toe and Concentration Games. Tic-Tac-Toe can be adapted for vocabulary instruction by requiring students to define or correctly use a vocabulary word in order to place their X or O on the game grid. This method turns a simple game into a powerful tool for reinforcing word meanings and usage.

  4. VocabTrainer

    Build a better vocabulary! Try VocabTrainer, a fun, daily exercise with 17000 learnable words and 253000 questions for a better way to learn. SKIP TO CONTENT. ... 35,000 worksheets, games, and lesson plans. Marketplace for millions of educator-created resources. Fun educational games for kids. Spanish-English dictionary,

  5. 10 Ways to Build a Strong Vocabulary

    Vocabulary.com; Word up; 4. Play Word Games. One of the most effective ways for young children to gain knowledge and develop crucial abilities is through play, so word games make it fun and easy for kids to build a larger vocabulary. Work games such as crossword puzzles, Scrabble, and Boggle are fun and challenging ways to improve vocabulary.

  6. Vocabulary Improvement Games & Classroom Vocabulary Games

    The Rules: Divide the class into two teams. Each member of the team is asked a vocabulary question (definition, spelling, pronunciation, etc.). If the student gets the answer right, he wins a point for his team, and he has the chance of getting another question if he's able to make a basketball shot. If the student makes the shot, he's ...

  7. 5 Vocabulary Games That Build Content Knowledge

    5. Mind Meld. This two-to-eight-minute game gets students verbalizing and making links between vocabulary words. It works well at the end of a lesson when you have a couple of spare minutes. How it works: Students are put into pairs, and on the count of three, they say a word related to a given subject or unit.

  8. 7 Effective Vocabulary-Building Activities

    Select 5-6 words from a chapter or selection students are about to read. Have students turn to the page in which each word is located. Ask the students to read the word in context and try to figure out its meaning. Have students write down what they think each word means. Discuss possible meanings and arrive at a definition in this context.

  9. Best Ways to Build Vocabulary

    Specially created for students ages 8-12, Puku is an app that makes learning vocabulary words into a game. Players help Puku, a virtual pet, grow by mastering new words from any of three sources: ongoing leveled lists, custom collections related to a category of interest, like Food or Mythology, or user-created lists easily populated with ...

  10. How to Improve Your Vocabulary: 7 Ways to Expand Your Vocabulary

    1. Develop a reading habit. Vocabulary building is easiest when you encounter words in context. Seeing words appear in a novel or a newspaper article can be far more helpful than seeing them appear on vocabulary lists. Not only do you gain exposure to unfamiliar words; you also see how they're used. 2.

  11. 23 Effective Vocabulary Activities

    Here are 23 vocabulary activities you can use with your students to help reinforce vocabulary. Most activities may be played as a whole class, in small groups, or for center times. 1. Roll the Dice. Students choose a word (from a list, from the board, from a card) and the first student rolls a dice.

  12. 52 Words of the Week: Definitions, Activities, and Google Slides

    Here's an example of six tasks students can do with the word they are focusing on, one for each roll of the dice. Roll 1 - Write the word in a sentence using more than six words. Roll 2 - Draw a picture to express the word. Roll 3 - Write a newspaper headline that includes the word.

  13. Games and Exercises to Boost Your Vocabulary

    Scrabble helps you expand your vocabulary and improve your spelling skills, all while engaging in friendly competition. Boggle: Boggle also involves creating words from letter tiles. But in this game, players shake a cube with lettered faces and then try to create as many words as possible from the letters shown.

  14. 4 Activities to Boost Target Language Vocabulary Acquisition

    4. Vocabulary sweep-up: Students lay out all the cards on a table or other large surface and then take 30- to 45-second turns picking them up after using a card's word in a sentence that shows they understand the meaning of it. They use, or sweep up, as many words as they can during the allotted time. This activity can be done with groups ...

  15. Vocabulary.com

    A scientific and fun way to improve vocabulary. Play games and compete in activities on your own or with participants from around the globe. With our advanced teaching algorithm and study tools, get ready for your vocabulary to expand! Subscribe now. FOR EDUCATORS. A better way to teach words.

  16. 6 Online Games to Sharpen Your English Vocabulary

    Improve your English vocabulary with these six online games. In this article, we share some of our favorite online games for learning.

  17. 12 Great Vocabulary Games To Make Learning Words More Fun

    But if you want to do both studying and relaxing, that's also possible. You can try out these easy yet fun vocabulary games and see if games can work with your learning style. 1. Scrabble. Scrabble is quite a popular game for language learners. It is a board-and-tile game with 100 tiles that can be filled with letters.

  18. How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

    Do you want to improve your vocabulary and have fun at the same time? Take the How Strong Is Your Vocabulary? quiz from Merriam-Webster and see how many words you know. You can also compare your score with other players and learn new words every day.

  19. Vocabulary Worksheets

    Vocabulary is a fundamental learning concept but covers many different areas. We've developed hundreds of practice activities to help your student improve their vocabulary skills. You'll find worksheet activities around the alphabet, dictionary skills, Fry sight words, Dolch sight words, phonetics, homographs, homophones, prefixes, proverbs and ...

  20. Engaging Vocabulary Games: 25 Must-Try Activities for English Language

    Enhanced Concentration: Games naturally boost students' ability to focus and concentrate while learning. Problem-Solving Skills: Through games, students develop logical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Vocabulary and Memory Improvement: Games offer a platform for practicing and applying learned vocabulary while improving memory skills.

  21. 12 Best Vocabulary Builder Apps & Games to Learn New Words

    3. WordUp. WordUp uses examples from movies, songs, famous quotes, and more to help you learn new words. It utilizes repetition to make remembering them easier. Available for iOs, free download with in-app purchases. 4. Magoosh Vocabulary Builder.

  22. Vocabulary.com

    Whether you're a teacher or a learner, Vocabulary.com can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement. Get started. Vocabulary.com - learn new words, play games that improve your vocabulary, and find easy-to-understand definitions in our super-fast dictionary.

  23. 10 Fun Ways to Build Kids' Vocabulary

    Explain new definitions and encourage your child to guess the meaning based on the surrounding text and illustrations. 3. Playing Description Games. Classic games like "I Spy" and "20 Questions" are fun ways to build vocabulary. In "I Spy," take turns providing clues about an object in the room using descriptive vocabulary.

  24. Glossary of video game terms

    1CC. Abbreviation of one-credit completion or one-coin clear. To complete an arcade (or arcade-style) game without using continues. [1] 1-up. An object that gives the player an extra life (or attempt) in games where the player has a limited number of chances to complete a game or level. [2] 100%.

  25. How To Solve Today's Connections Puzzle

    Today's Answers. It's a new day and that means a new puzzle wall to solve in the New York Times's Connections game. If you're looking to save your streak and only want to nail down that last pesky category, don't worry - we have all the hints you could need. If you like some innovative and original puzzle-solving games, you can't go wrong with ...