10 Best Fun and Interactive Vocabulary Activities

7 June 2021

Parents and teachers often struggle with keeping the vocabulary practice sessions fun and lively. If you ask the kids to go through word lists or flashcards every day, things would get very boring just within a few days. Moreover, they could lose interest in vocabulary practices entirely.

A great solution to this problem could be implementing vocabulary activities. You need to keep things fun and joyful so that kids love to take part in them.

The more interactive and intriguing the vocabulary activities are, the more kids will love partaking in them.

So, without any further ado, let’s jump onto some of the most fun vocabulary activities for kids.


Top 10 Fun and Interactive Vocabulary Activities

Drawing Sketchbooks

This is perhaps one of the most common yet most effective vocabulary activities out there. The idea behind the concept is quite simple — you need to draw the object or activity from any vocabulary list.

To make the best of it, the teacher or the parent needs to be more active.

Why? Because not every object or activity is easy to draw. For example, think of the word — anxious. This word is neither an object nor an activity, but an emotion. It could be very hard for a young kid to draw anything abstract.

So, the instructor should only include the words to the vocabulary list that are easy to draw. As an instructor, you could include words like — guitar, mango, truck, running, fishing, etc. A child should be able to draw these things with ease.

Also, don’t try to be judgmental about the quality of the drawing here. Remember, the main goal is to help the child relate the drawing with the words. The more they relate or associate the words with other things, the better they can remember them.

Plus, you should have a sketchbook to have all the drawings and the words in one place. It will help you keep track of the words that your child has mastered. Here’s a cool idea — try going for a DIY notebook. Things will become more exciting for the kids as they will feel eager to draw on the notebook that they’ve made by themselves.


Word Mapping

Word mapping can be an extended version of the previous vocabulary activity. You could even use a whiteboard. But with whiteboards, you can’t keep records of the words that our child has mastered.

That’s why a notebook is a better option to practice this vocabulary activity.

So, the basic idea goes like this — you’ll write a word and draw five (the number may vary) lines linked to it, like a spider web. Now, your child will have to write five words at the end of the lines that are linked to the primary word.

Still confused? Here, let me simplify it with an example.

First, write the word house and circle it. At the end of the five lines, your child could write — walls, windows, doors, roof, and fence.  

So, the kids are basically grouping and clustering words that are related to each other together. This holistic approach will help them memorize more words easily. Also, they will be able to remember them easily as they’re using others to create a connecting bridge.

Just like the previous activity, you could have a DIY notebook that will serve as a record book for future practices and revisions.   


The Detective or the Sherlock Method

The Detective is one of the most fun and creative ideas. Even the name of this activity sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

So, how do you play it?

First, you’ll need a text and go through it first by yourself. You could pick up any text, even from her favorite storybook. Then, you’ll set some questions, like —

  • What is the longest word in the text?
  • Which word has the highest number of consonants or vowels?
  • How many times the word apple (only as an example) in this text?

As you go, you can set different or more questions based on the text. The text will help come up with the questions.

Try to be creative.

After you’ve set the questions, your child will comb through the text and find the answers. To make things more interesting, you could even get her a magnifying glass. This will enhance the mood as she will feel like a true detective.

To improve spelling and reading fluency, one must work simultaneously work on both of the literacy skills. Curious to learn more? Check out this article now!


Make the Choice

I think the name of this game doesn’t truly give you an idea of the game. It goes like this — the participant will have to say a particular word or remain silent based on the predetermined conditions.

For example, you could set the rule like this — “Only say sad, if the situation will make you sad, otherwise remain silent.”  

Then, you’ll describe the situations —

  • Cleaning your bedroom.
  • Your ice cream dropped to the ground.
  • Getting a new toy as a gift.
  • Your new toy just broke down.
  • You won the first prize in the spelling competition.

Based on the situations, your student might speak out sad for the first, second, or the fourth option. For other options, she will remain silent.

This activity will help them implement words appropriately in different situations. Thus, they’ll connect more with the emotion that the word carries. Such practices are great for developing vocabulary.

This game becomes more fun with the increasing number of participants. That’s why you could consider this as one of the best classroom vocabulary activities.

We got the idea from the book Bringing Words to Life by Isabel L. Beck. You can find more vocabulary ideas from this book.


The Sorting Hat of Harry Potter

Are you a Potterhead? Well, we all love the fantastic world of Harry Potter, don’t we? This vocabulary activity idea is inspired by the sorting hat in the Harry Potter universe.

In Hogwarts, there is a sorting hat that decides the house of the students. Based on the characteristics and personal attributes, the sorting hat assigns the students to the houses — Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff.

So, how do you use this game in vocabulary practice?

You take several paper strips and write different characteristics attributes on each of those strips. For example, you could use words like — courage, cunning, intelligence, humble, etc.    

Then, put all of the strips inside a bag. You could use an actual hat to set the mood. The kids will pick one word and assign those words to the Hogwarts Houses. They will assume the role of the sorting hat. To make things more interesting, you could ask them why they have assigned a particular word to a house.

They will amaze you with their creativity and imagination!


Word Scavenger Hunt

This game shares some of the fundamentals with The Detective activity mentioned earlier. This game also requires a text. Rather than setting predetermined questions or clues, you’ll give them a wordlist.

The kids will have to find the words from the text. This technique will have a massive positive impact on their reading skills. That’s why this is one of the best vocabulary activities for ESL students.


Vocab Dice Rolling

This is another of the classroom vocabulary activities as kids in groups will enjoy this game greatly.

For this activity, you’ll need a wordlist and a die. You will disclose a word and ask the student to roll the die. Based on the result from the die, the student will perform either of these tasks —

  • Draw it on the board,
  • Determine the part of speech,
  • Rhyme it with another word,
  • Use it in a sentence,
  • Offer a definition, or
  • Act it out.

You could use other parameters like synonym and antonym. The choice is up to you. Also, you can divide the class into two groups and motivate them to compete against each other. You’ll see a clear increase in interest as you use it as a group competition.


Word Sneak

The credit for this vocabulary activity goes to Jimmy Fallon from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The game needs only two players and each is given a stack of random words. Then, the participants will have to carry out a conversation using those words.

Here’s the video where Jimmy plays the Word Sneak game with the British actor Ricky Gervais.


Using the Frayer Model

The Frayer Model is essentially a graphic organizer to identify and define unknown concepts. This model is applicable in many use cases. The original Frayer Model has four sections — definition, characteristics, examples, and non-examples.

You can easily modify the Frayer model and make it more usable in vocabulary activities. Just change the sections to — definition, part of speech, synonyms, and antonyms.

You may even use the Frayer model to create your custom-made dictionary. Surely, that would be a fun and educational experience.


Keeping a Vocabulary Journal

This not one of the vocabulary activities, but a vocabulary building strategy or a tip. As you practice the vocabulary activities, kids are learning a lot of new words. It’s better to record all the words in one place.

You can call it your vocabulary journal. This journal will help you keep track of the learning process and come up with new activities. You can also determine which teaching efforts are working and which are not.

Also, you can take a look at these educational websites, as they would help you with vocabulary activities online.

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