Proper Adjectives Activities for Kids

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.

While learning about proper adjectives may seem daunting, it's actually quite simple. In this lesson, teachers will learn about a couple of proper adjective classroom activities specifically designed for kids.

What Is a Proper Adjective?

If proper adjectives are an entirely new topic for your young learners, you may want to go over the following information before using the activities. To begin, ask the class to define proper adjectives. If you're met with blank stares, write the following information on the blackboard as part of an active classroom discussion.

  • What is a proper noun?
    • A proper noun is a specific name for a person, place, company or thing. Proper nouns are capitalized.
  • What are some examples of proper nouns?
    • Mary, America and Dell are all proper nouns
  • What is an adjective?
    • An adjective modifies a noun. For example, big cat or beautiful Mary.
  • What is a proper adjective?
    • A proper adjective is formed from a proper noun. Proper adjectives are capitalized.
    • America (proper noun) - American (proper adjective): American movies are the most popular.
    • China (proper noun) - Chinese (proper adjective): The Chinese restaurant makes the best noodles.
  • Proper adjectives are used to describe nationalities and also how some things are related or connected to each other. For example, George Orwell was a writer who wrote stories about a specific type of future. So, if someone says an event is Orwellian (proper adjective), that person means that event is similar to George Orwell's stories.

If you feel proper adjectives, such as Orwellian and Shakespearean, will confuse your students, feel free to stick to simpler proper adjectives like nationalities for the exercises.

Convert & Insert

In this exercise, your students will turn proper nouns into proper adjectives and then place those proper adjectives into a corresponding sentence. To begin, divide the blackboard into two columns and write the following in each column (answers are in parentheses):

  • Column 1
    • America (American)
    • Japan (Japanese)
    • Mexico (Mexican)
    • Nigeria (Nigerian)
    • Australia (Australian)
  • Column 2
    • Sushi is a popular _____ food. (Japanese)
    • The _____ outback has many kangaroos and koalas. (Australian)
    • The _____ soccer team is from Africa. (Nigerian)
    • New York is a big _____ city. (American)
    • The _____ flag is green, white and red. (Mexican)
  • Ask for volunteers to come up to the blackboard and change the proper nouns into proper adjectives.
  • Next, ask for a different set of volunteers to insert the proper adjectives into the blank in the correct sentence.
  • Review the answers and correct any errors.
  • To extend the activity, add more sentences or ask students to create their own proper noun lists to turn into proper adjectives and sentences to share with classmates.

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