Using Games to Teach Parts of Speech

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I just can’t wait to teach grammar?” I mean, we know that grammar is important and that we do need to teach it, but let’s be honest…It’s not usually one of the more exciting subjects to teach.

That’s why I came up with some games, to make teaching parts of speech more fun. Ready for seven of them?

1. Nouns – I Spy and I’m Thinking Of Someone Who…

These two games are great for teaching nouns. You could choose either of them, do them on different days, or maybe do one for common nouns, and one for proper nouns.

For I Spy…Find an item from the classroom to “Spy” and then give clues like “I spy something green (plant), or I spy something moving (clock). Kids guess the noun you described. Simple!

In I’m Thinking of Someone Who (or of a place that…) for proper nouns, you can describe students in the classroom using clothing or physical appearance kinds of clues, or you could describe them using things you know about them, like which musical instruments the child plays or which sports he/she enjoys.

You could also expand this to include well known historical characters your kids might know, like George Washington or Martin Luther King, Jr. Famous or not, your clues might be, “I’m thinking of someone (in our classroom or famous) who wears glasses/has a yellow shirt/plays lacrosse/plays the flute/was the first president…”

 

2. Verbs – Charades

Okay, here’s one my kids LOVE to do, the little hams… and it’s charades! To play this game, I use a small whiteboard to show the acting volunteer (but not the class) clues for the verb he/she is going to act out.

I try to choose verbs that are more interesting than just run or hop and include clues like make a pizza, mix a cake, lift a weight like an Olympic weightlifter. The ideas are endless, which is a good thing because their desire to play this game also seems endless!

 

3. Adjectives – 5 Clues

Here’s one I really like. I have the kids sit in a circle in our meeting area. They need to be sitting close enough so that their criss-crossed legs almost touch. I have a shopping bag full of the most interesting or the weirdest items I could find from home or school and then call on a child to be “It.” The person who is “It” sits in the middle of the circle.

I dramatically pull an item out of the bag and that person has to describe the item using 5 different adjectives before time is up. While the person is trying to describe the object, I have passed the ball (or bean bag or small stuffed animal) to the first child and then he/she gives it to the next (no throwing involved) until it goes around the circle as quickly as possible without skipping anyone.

If we get the ball around the circle before 5 adjectives are listed we win! If “It” names 5 adjectives before the ball gets around the circle, he/she wins. Exciting game!

 

4. Adverbs – How Would You…?

For this game, you need another acting kind of volunteer (never hard to find in my classes!). This time, everybody will know what the child is acting out. I may say, “How would you act if you were sneaking out of the kitchen with a cookie?” The child acts this out and then calls on a child to tell which adverb was acted out.

In this case, the adverb would be quietly or sneakily. Again, there are so many possibilities for scenarios here. Like how would you yell if a rattlesnake was near you (loudly)? Or how would you move if you were a turtle (slowly)?

 

5. Conjunctions – FANBOYS Team Race

This one can be played two different ways. Regardless of which version you play, kids need whiteboards and need to be in teams of seven. In the first version, I assign one of the letters (FANBOYS) to each child in every team.

When I say go, each child must write a short sentence that has that conjunction (For example, Do you want milk or water?). As soon as the whole team is done, they raise their hands and are the winners. In another version, you have each letter of FANBOYS on slips of paper in a bucket or basket and only choose two teams to go against each other at a time.

Kids stand in the back of the room and the first child from each team, runs to the front of the room, chooses a letter from the bucket and must write a short sentence using the conjunction that starts with that letter. When he/she is done, the whiteboard is turned around so I can see it (I’m in the back of the room too). If I give the thumbs up, that child runs to the back and the next child on the team runs forward to repeat.

 

6. Prepositions – Movement Game

For this listening game, I have all of the kids start by standing behind their desks. I will call out a certain category (kids with braces/kids who rode a bike to school/kids who like broccoli/kids who are an only child… and then I will give them a prepositional type direction to tell that group where to go.

For example, by the table, on the rug, near the bookcase, etc. and ONLY that group that I called is able to move there. Those kids then wait there until they are included in a new category and have a different place to go.

 

7. Interjections – What Would you Say When…? Scenarios

For this game, I give the kids different scenarios and ask them which interjection they would use for that situation. For example, What would you say when you dropped a double scooped ice cream cone on the ground? (Interjections only, no cuss words of course!). So Grrr…Ugh!…Oh brother… and so on would work well.

For some reason, these clues don’t come as easily to me, as the other categories, so this is one game that I make myself a list of scenarios to jog my memory, rather than coming up with them on the spot.

Btw…if you’re looking for a game for pronouns, you won’t find one here! I’ve never been able to quite master that one in game form, other than task cards. let me know if you have an interactive game for the whole class for this one!

 

Other Resources That I Use for Grammar:

I love to use Language Assessments and Practice Pages. Each unit has a full-page assessment for every single common core language standard, as well as an additional page for each standard that can be used as a practice page (think morning work/homework/centers) or as a pre-test. These are no-prep packs that are perfect for the busy teacher! These come in a 4th grade and a 5th grade version.

I am super excited about these print and digital Grammar Game Bundles! For years I thought about how awesome it would be to have a grammar game for every standard. Finally, I decided since I couldn’t find it, I would just make it. I ended up making a complete set of 30 games for 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade too. These games come in a variety of formats to make grammar extra fun!

What kinds of things do you do to make grammar more fun?

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Hi, I’m Jenn! I love to create resources that hit standards, are engaging for students, and save teachers time. It’s my goal to help you help your students have fun while learning! Thanks so much for joining me here!

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