Action Verb Games & Activities

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Proper use of action verbs can do wonders in terms of enhancing a student's vocabulary. This lesson provides teachers with classroom games and activities designed to help students identify and use action verbs.

Action Verb Games and Activities

Using action verbs effectively can enable your students to increase the potency and variety of their vocabulary. The following activities can be used with students of varying levels and in a variety of classroom sizes.

Two Or More

In this game, students try to use as many action verbs as possible to describe a specific topic or situation. This activity can be utilized as a speaking or writing game. For example, if you say basketball, a student could respond with, run, jump, shoot, dribble, pass, sprint, throw, etc.

If you have a larger class, set a time limit and have students write down as many action verbs as they can. When the time is up, find out who has the most action verbs and ask them to read the verbs out loud. If the student has made any mistakes, move on to the student with the next highest number of verbs.

Try to use the following list of words and phrases the first time you use this activity in class.


  1. Basketball (Run, jump, shoot, dribble, pass, sprint, throw, etc.)
  2. Soccer (kick, slide, pass, etc.)
  3. Ice Hockey (skate, shoot, score, etc.)
  4. Track and Field (hurl, toss, etc.)
  5. Swimming (stroke, dive, turn, etc.)

At Home

  1. Reading
  2. Watching TV
  3. Browsing the Internet
  4. Housework
  5. Landscaping

Everyday Activities

  1. At work
  2. At school
  3. Hobbies
  4. Driving
  5. Shopping

To increase the difficulty of this game, tell students they cannot repeat the same action verbs in the same category. For example, if a student used pass as a basketball verb, he cannot also use pass as a soccer or ice hockey action verb.

Find the Verb

This activity engages students with contemporary material and encourages the development of active reading skills. In preparation for this activity, you will need to print and copy a current news article. Sports stories are ideal because they typically contain a significant amount of action verbs.

At the beginning of this activity, give each student a copy of the article and instruct him to find and circle every action verb he can find. Alternatively, you can pair students up and place a time limit on the reading to create more of a competitive atmosphere. The winning team will be the one who found the most action verbs in the article in the shortest amount of time.

Resume Writing Exchange

In this activity, students will learn how to spruce up their resumes with the effective use of action verbs. If they do not already have one, instruct your students to write simple resumes that include their educational and professional credentials. Be sure to tell them to include specific descriptions of any employment activities.

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