11 Vocab Review Games to Make the Learning Stick

by WeAreTeachers Staff


Sarah Ressler

How do you make those vocab words stick—not just for the quiz tomorrow but for the long term? Practice, practice, practice! And the only way your students will want to do that practice is if you make it too much fun to resist! It doesn’t matter whether your students are learning about Native American tribes, the cell or John Steinbeck, word knowledge impacts comprehension and overall learning. Here are 11 classroom games with free downloadable reproducibles perfect for practicing new vocabulary or test facts. Hope you find them useful! And if you have review games that your students love, tell us about them in the comments!

Oranges to Oranges: Quick, define “chimerical”! Based on the popular game Apples to Apples, this is a great way to practice and expand on weekly vocab words or terms from your latest unit.

Fun With Synonyms: Guess That Word: Can your students guess a word by its synonym? They can after playing this game! Having students create the cards—researching the synonyms—is an important part of the learning too!

Vocab-Categories: Just like with Scattergories, kids have to think and use vocab words creatively to win the game. The download includes letter cut-outs, vocab-category lists and make-your-own list cards.

Vocabulary Land Game Board: This is one of my favorites—I loved creating this board game! If you have access to a laminator, print and laminate 8 to 10 boards for your classroom and use dry-erase markers. Instant classroom game or language arts station!

You’re on a Roll Dice Game: This game gives students the chance to improve their vocabulary skills while playing with their friends.

Vocabulary Checkers: To move checkers on the board, players must use the vocabulary word in the square correctly in a sentence. Challenge students to build on one another’s sentences to tell a quick story or to make up the silliest sentences that they can.

Bracket Battles Vocabulary Game: With bracket battles, the best word always wins. Students have to sort the words into parts of speech to play. So you sneak in a little categorization practice at the same time!

Bingo Vocabulary Game: Admit it, everyone secretly loves bingo. Now your students can play while simultaneously enhancing their vocabulary skills. Give away new pencils as the prize and maybe your students will finally give up those tiny stubby ones.

Color Your Vocabulary Activity: Challenge students to creatively use their vocabulary words to label pictures. It’s harder than it looks!

Picabulary Vocabulary Game: Divided into teams, students have to creatively draw out vocabulary word meanings for their teammates to guess. Chances are, they are going to make you draw too. Be forewarned!

Think-Tac-Toe: To execute their tic-tac-toe strategy (three in a row), students must complete the vocabulary activity within each square. Two students (or two halves of the class) can take turns choosing squares. If it ends in a draw, that means you snuck in more vocab practice!