No-Prep, No-Excuses, No-Hassle Vocabulary Games

Ready to make mastering vocabulary fun?  Then, check out this set of 3 No-Prep Vocabulary Games!  Students love them!  Plus, there's an exclusive FREEBIE with everything you need to play!
As the old adage goes, if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. It turns out the same can be said about a student’s vocabulary: Teach her what a word means, and she’ll become a stronger reader.

Even better, say researchers, teach your students what eight to 10 words mean, over the course of 37 to 50 weeks, and even your lowest readers could experience a 30 percent increase in word knowledge… And the more words your students know, the more likely they are to comprehend what they read.

But as any of us who has memorized lists of vocabulary words knows, it can be – well, boring. As with many things school-related, the key to your students’ success with building their vocabularies is to make it fun!

Check out these three No-Prep, No-Hassle, No-Excuses Vocabulary Games you can use with any sets of words. Tip: These work best as a review, after students have already heard the words and had a chance to use them (either during class warm ups or in homework). And...great news!  I've compiled everything you need to play the games in an EXCLUSIVE FREEBIE!

Guess Who?
Write the vocabulary words on index cards (or have students do this). Here's a set of figurative language vocabulary cards...
Play "Guess Who?" to review critical figurative language vocabulary in a fun way!

Without letting the students see, tape the cards to their backs. 
Just write important vocabulary words on cards and then place them on the students' backs.  Then, have partners give each other clues while they play this fun and easy vocabulary game!

Have the students walk around the room and give clues to one another about the word on their backs. (For example, if Sam is wearing the word “onomatopoeia,” his partner may say, “The bacon sizzled in the frying pan.” Sam then takes a guess at what the word is. And so on.)

When In Doubt, Bluff
Divide your class into two teams. Write a vocabulary word on the board or write the words on cards and just display them inside this poster...
Play "When in Doubt, Bluff" to review vocabulary words from any unit!  Easy and fun vocab game!

This game is not only fun, it's also a great way to review vocabulary!  Play this vocab game with any set of words!

Students who know the definition should stand up. Students who are bluffing and don’t know the definition also should stand. (Students who are unsure also may remain seated.) Call on a student at random to define the word. If the student gets it, his team gets points for every team member that is standing. If the student does not get it, the team loses points for every team member standing. The team with the most points at the end wins.

Fast Talker
Type the vocabulary words onto a SmartBoard or Powerpoint template (or use a visualizer) and project each word, one at a time, so the class can see it. Or, write the words on strips of paper for students to pull out of a bag or basket.
Have students pick a vocabulary word and roll their "vocabulary fate" with this super fun and easy vocab game!

Once students have a word, instead of asking for the definition of the word, call out alternative commands:

·         Part of speech
·         Synonym
·         Antonym
·         Roots
·         Use in a sentence

(You can also write those commands on a beach ball and have students toss it to each other as you go through the words.) Or, you can put the commands on a paper cube that students roll for their "vocabulary fate."
Make learning and reviewing vocabulary games super easy with this set of 3 no-prep, no-excuses, no-hassle vocab games!

See how quickly the students can come up with an answer as you randomly call on them.

It's a great idea to keep throwing in old words as the year progresses, so your students have a better shot of retaining the vocabulary words. Consider giving points or prizes when students identify vocabulary words in their reading material or outside of class.

They’ll have fun. They’ll become better readers. And you won’t break a sweat! Everyone wins!

Since we're on the topic of vocabulary, I thought I'd share my favorite way to teach vocabulary words.  It's through doodling!

  Yes, doodling!  I've found that combining vocabulary instruction with doodles...and then writing, is an amazing way to expand students vocabulary.  

I even created a set of 160 Daily Doodle Vocabulary words for grades 3-5 and grades 6-8

Just click and print a set of 3 fun vocabulary games.  Use in any classroom.  Use with any set of vocabulary words.  Make learning vocabulary so much more fun with these easy vocab games!

Thanks for stopping by!
Mary Beth

Teach and review critical vocabulary with this fun and educational vocabulary games!  Easy to set up!  Easy to play!  And the best part?  Students are excited about learning vocabulary!  Oh, and there's an exclusive FREEBIE, too!


  1. Love these resources. Thank you. However, your example for onomatopoeia is incorrect. You've actually given an example of alliteration.

  2. Yikes! You're right! Thanks so much for letting me know about that mistake! I just updated the post!


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