Fun Ways to Teach Vocabulary Words

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  • 0:02 Vocabulary Words
  • 0:45 Using Games
  • 3:17 Other Ideas
  • 4:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Harkema

Becca teaches special education and is completing her doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Teaching vocabulary words to students doesn't have to be boring and repetitive. In this lesson, you will learn methods to energize your classroom during vocabulary instruction. Afterwards, test your new knowledge with our quiz!

Vocabulary Words

When it comes to teaching vocabulary words, having students copy definitions from the board into a notebook week after week can become boring for both the students and the teacher. Wouldn't it be great if your students actually looked forward to learning new vocabulary words? With a little creativity, vocabulary instruction can become an exciting time in the classroom for all involved.

Students need to learn vocabulary words, which are sets of unfamiliar words about a topic, in every subject area. In this lesson, you will learn innovative ways to teach vocabulary words by creating games for your students or engaging in some other outside-of-the-box lesson planning.

Using Games to Teach Vocabulary Words

It can be overwhelming to think about creating new games to use in your classroom. After all, there is a lot involved in that process. However, by modifying some existing games to include a focus on vocabulary words, the game-making process is easy. Let's take a look at how the following popular games can be tweaked to teach vocabulary words.


In this classic card game, participants race to collect four similar cards and then grab a spoon before they are all taken.

To modify this game, simply make a set of four cards for each vocabulary word. For each set of four, one card should have the definition of the word and the other three should name the vocabulary word. In order to get four of a kind, students need to collect the definition card and the three word cards. Once students collect four of a kind, they grab a spoon. If students see a spoon being taken, they also need to grab a spoon before they are gone!


Concentration is a great game for students to play individually or with a group. To create a game, write one vocabulary word on a notecard and its matching definition on another notecard. To play, turn all the notecards upside down. Taking turns, students flip over two notecards at a time to try to match the vocabulary word with the correct definition.

Draw, Act, or Sculpt

Divide your class into teams. Write the vocabulary words on notecards and place into a hat. To play, you should pick one vocabulary per round. Each team sends one player to view the vocabulary word. These students have the option to draw the vocabulary word, act it out, or sculpt it using clay for their team. The first team to guess the vocabulary word wins the round.


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