Antonym Activities & Games

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

Antonyms are opposites, and students love opposites. Take advantage of their enthusiasm by trying some of these games and activities with your students. Pretty soon they'll be antonym experts.

Learning Antonyms

Antonyms are valuable things for students to practice and learn. It helps them get a better sense for the meaning of words and the wide range of things they can describe with language. And when taught in the right way, antonyms can also be a lot of fun. Check out a few of these ideas for activities and games for helping students learn antonyms.

Opposite Day

Antonyms are basically opposites - they have opposite, or close to opposite meanings. So why not declare an official opposite day for your class? Kids will actively get excited in advance and prepare for the day where everything they say is the opposite to their intended meaning. As the teacher, you can either do the same, or be the exception (which might be easier). This activity has the benefit that it gives a huge amount of practice with antonyms without students knowing they're doing any work.

Antonym Pairs

This game requires nothing more than index cards. Get a large set of small index cards, and write a different word on each one. Every word should have an antonym of itself on a different card. Create a deck of cards like this for every pair or group that will be playing. Then, shuffle them up, and have students lay the cards face-down on the table without looking at them.

The game works like this: students must take turns to turn over any two cards of their choice. If the two cards are antonyms of each other, they keep that set of cards as a 'point'. If the two cards are not antonyms of each other, they turn them face down again. This continues until all the pairs have been found. The winner is the student with the most points. The great thing about this game is that it helps improve your students' memory (remembering what the cards they already turned over were), while they're practicing their antonyms at the same time.

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