Games and activities are great ways to inject some excitement and enthusiasm into what might otherwise be a tiring day. Younger learners, teens, and even adults will often jump at the chance to mix things up a bit. Not only are games useful for energising the room, but they can be great educational tools and a means for people to learn in a slightly more unorthodox manner.
So, now you may be scratching your head and wondering which games would be best to implement into your schedule. Luckily for you, we have compiled a list of several of the best games to get your students’ cogs turning: read on for more.
Simple, easy, fun. Crosswords are known universally and are fantastic for remembering keywords, phrases, and figures no matter what subject you teach: English? Find the words ‘punctuation’, ‘grammar’, ‘comma’; for maths, find ‘algebra’, ‘rhombus’, or ‘Pythagoras’ – you get the idea. Definitely better geared towards younger students as older teens and adults may not take it as seriously. Also, the information that you can transfer on to your students is fairly minimal and best for lower levels of whatever subject you teach.
Resources: enough paper to print a sheet for each student, pens.
Another really easy one that can make use of phrases and terms that your class has studied. In case you don’t know the rules: think of a word, markdown one blank space for every letter in your chosen word, your students then have to guess your word. For every wrong guess, you add on to your hangman (draw a head, then torse, limb, etc.) until you get a full-body, in which case your students lose. Again, this is more suited to younger students, but older students love it as a way to end a long day’s work.
Resources: a white/blackboard; smartboard.
3. Words in conversation
This game works better in advanced classes. Small groups get together and members of the group are each given a number of words that they must use purposefully and correctly. It is a handy way of testing your students’ depth of knowledge on the subject – if they don’t know what they’re talking about then it will really show here. As I said, this is better for more advanced groups so make sure to use equally advanced terms.
Resources: at most, bits of paper with phrases and terminology on them.
4. Hot potato
This fast-paced, energetic game is a great way to warm up your class for the day ahead. Think of a topic related to what your class has been studying, throw the ‘hot potato’ (doesn’t actually have to be a hot potato, anything chuckable will do!), and the catcher has to quickly shout out a phrase relevant to the theme. The first person unable to do this within three seconds is out. Play a process of elimination until the final winner. It’s quick, wakes everyone up, and tests whether the knowledge is at the front of their minds. Fun for all ages and levels.
Resources: a ball, beanbag – anything light and cactable!
5. Just A Minute
Directly inspired by the BBC Radio 4 game of the same name, Just A Minute is a true test of knowledge, wit, and public speaking ability. The aim of the game is to speak for an entire minute about a chosen subject without hesitation or repetition of a word. The rest of the classroom will act as judge and jury, able to call out if they spot what they deem is a breaking of the rules. This game works particularly well for English teachers if either they are working on their students’ public oratory skills or vocabulary. However, it can be used in all subjects and really encourages the speaker to expand upon their understanding of the topic. Moreover, it forces the rest of the classroom to improve their listening skills and, in turn, lead to their own deeper understanding. Truly a win-win game.