Activities for Teaching Vocabulary
Here are some fun activities for teaching vocabulary during English lessons when revising new words, phrases and idioms. These activities are challenging because the students have to either combine more than one new word together, combine new words with grammar practice, or produce the word as part of everyday conversation.
These activities for teaching vocabulary should only be done with students that are very good at learning their vocabulary and memorizing new words.
- Play the memory
game with matching sets of words. They could be collocations, synonyms or
antonyms. Write the words onto cards, and place the cards face down and spread
out across the table. The students need to take turns turning over pairs, in
order to find the matching sets. If they find a matching pair, they can keep
the cards. If they do not find the matching cards, they can use the words they
have turned over, either to give definitions, make sentences or ask the other
- Place the flashcards face down on the table. The students have to pick up 2 words and
make up a sentence, or ask another student a question, using both words.
- The first student
picks up a word and asks another student a question with that word. The student
who has been asked the question has to pick up a word, and give an answer using
- Place the
vocabulary face down on the table. You
choose a particular grammar point that you would like them to practice eg
indirect questions. The students have to pick up a word, and then ask another
student a question using their word, but in the grammar structure you have
indicated eg. I was wondering If you could tell me…. .This can be used for
other grammar structures including conditionals, passives, modals, tenses,
indirect questions etc
- Place the flashcards face down on the table. The first student chooses one word and starts a story
with that word. The next student picks up another word and has to continue the
story using their word, BUT the students also have to repeat all the previous sentences given prior to their contribution.
- The students need
to do a role play that is relevant to the lesson. During the role play, each
student needs to pick up one of the vocabulary words and use it in their part
of the dialogue. The dialogue needs to continue until all the words have been
- This method can
be used for advanced conversation classes. Tell the students that they need to
use the vocabulary sometime during the course of the lesson during normal
conversation. For every word that they manage to use, give them an m&m or a
smartie J You may need to give them a few minutes at the
beginning of the lesson to revise the vocabulary (it depends on how studious
they are with self-study!).
I hope you enjoy doing these activities for teaching vocabulary as much as I do!
If you are interested in some more ideas, then take a look at Vocabulary Activities - Easy and Activities for teaching vocabulary - Moderate.
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