12 Great Vocabulary Games To Make Learning Words More Fun

12 Great Vocabulary Games To Make Learning Words More Fun

Memorizing new words for your language study can be very uneventful and tedious. To spice things up, we compiled the best vocabulary games to get.

Language study is all about learning a new alphabet, grammar rules, refining pronunciation, and improving your vocabulary. Almost all of these learning areas use hands-on learning. However, we cannot say the same with learning vocabulary. 

In its simplest form, learning vocabulary is just memorizing tons of words or phrases. It might be fun for a while, but it gets tedious once the student learns the basic terms. Unsurprisingly, this is the part where most students procrastinate and get bored. Educators and self-learners opt to use fun vocabulary games to combat this problem. 

Improvements are achieved in different forms when it comes to language learning. Some students can achieve growth by studying alone, while others can perform better with friends and classmates. And others would enjoy the learning experience more if the experience is interactive. 

And when it comes to interactive experiences, playing fun games with other people is still a good option. When it comes to vocabulary games, players have many options to choose from: the classic Scrabble to the newer Pictionary. We compiled the 12 most common vocabulary games used by self-learners and language teachers. 

Should You Use Games To Expand Vocabulary? 

Heavily-debated grammar vs. vocabulary is a common question in a lot of language learning communities. Should you master your grammar first, or is it better if you improve your vocabulary first? The answer to this is entirely in a gray area. But there is no doubt that memorizing new words is not as fun as practicing grammar to many learners. 

With this in mind, educators and self-learners started incorporating fun games and activities in their lessons. It can create motivation for self-learners, as well as friendly competition in a classroom. Additionally, according to a Takming University of Science and Technology study, learners usually felt less afraid and more confident while speaking with their L2 language during vocabulary games. 

To add up to this, a study from the Education Resources Information Center recommends using games for teaching a new language. Games are very useful during the initial stages of second language acquisition. Hence, interactive activities during the first language study stages are vital in learning an L2. 

In addition to the friendly competition, using vocabulary games encourage the whole team to work together. Students are more willing to use natural opportunities to show what they learned during these friendly competitions. Overall, games make learning way more engaging and enjoyable. And when students enjoy the activity, they tend to get motivated and learn quickly. 

What About Other Apps?

Methodical repetition is a part of expanding one’s lexicon.  With this in mind, developers of language learning apps use the “Spaced Repetition,” in which the learner is re-introduced to words and phrases after memorizing the terms for the first time. 

Although these apps are not “games” in the traditional sense, they are still helpful in memorizing foreign words. Most learners recommend these apps when learning alone or when memorizing more words. But when they get stuck in a hard lesson or are learning with a group, they tend to enjoy interactive games more. 

12 Games For An Enjoyable Vocabulary Learning

The constant effort for learning a language can give burnout and unrewarding progress for the learner. That’s why it is an excellent idea to invigorate and relax with your study if you have a chance. But if you want to do both studying and relaxing, that’s also possible. You can try out these easy yet fun vocabulary games and see if games can work with your learning style.

1. Scrabble

Scrabble is quite a popular game for language learners. It is a board-and-tile game with 100 tiles that can be filled with letters. Up to four players can play all at once, taking turns to put their notes on the board. To get a score, the player must place letters that form a word. 

Each letter has its own score value: common letters have smaller points while the rarely used ones (like Q, J, and X) gets more points. On each turn, the players need to find a word by placing their letter tiles on existing ones. When the board is full of letter tiles, the game ends. Whoever gets the highest score wins the game. 

2. Hangman

Hangman is a word-guessing game that can be played alone or with other players. Unlike Scrabble, the game only needs a piece of paper or chalkboards to start the game. The game host will draw a hangman stick on the board or paper. He or she will then think of a word in which the players will need to guess. 

The host needs to add dashes under the drawing, representing the number of letters to be guessed. Players will take a turn in guessing possible letters while the host fills up the dashes if the players guessed the right letters. This goes on until the word is revealed, or if the players used up all their guesses. 

3. Word Search

Word Search is quite a popular word enjoyed by a wide age range. The players with better knowledge in vocabulary (and eyesight) usually get the win. A grid of letters is placed inside a box. The player’s task is to find the words that appear in the grid. Only vertical, horizontal, and diagonal words are allowed. 

This game can be played in two easy variants: listless or time-based variation. In the traditional version, the player needs to find the words listed in a paper as soon as possible. If no word list is given, the team who finds the most letters within a specific period will be the winner. 

4. Vocabulary Checkers

The Vocabulary Checkers is played the same as the usual checkers. Two players will be playing on a board, and whoever gets all the pieces of the enemy wins. But because this is vocabulary checkers, there is a twist. Each black tile has a word attached to it. Before any player can claim a square, they need to define the word or use it in a sentence. Hence, each move you make is also a vocabulary practice. 

5. Vocabulary Bingo

This game is aimed at beginners who are studying their first set of words. On a piece of paper, the students would need to draw a 4x4 grid. Teachers would write words on each box and distribute bingo markers. After the preparations, the teacher will start the game by reading the definitions of the words out loud. Students who have those words on their card should mark them up. Whoever fills the card first will win.  

6. Pictionary

Pictionary is a vocabulary game that needs two groups to play. The facilitator can decide on whether they will use a specialized Pictionary game board or not, but it can be played without it nonetheless. After grouping the class, a group representative will go to the board and receive a word. He or she will draw what the word represents, and the group would need to guess what it is. To win, the group should guess the word correctly within a certain time limit. 

7. Headbanz

If you have a small group, you can try Vocabulary Headbanz instead. To play this game, you need flashcards and a headband. One player would wear the headband and will guess the word attached to it. To guess the mystery word, the player will ask questions about vocabulary, such as “Is the word a verb?” Meanwhile, another player will answer “yes” or “no” to the queries. To get a point, the headband player needs to guess the word before the time runs out. 

8. Crossword

The classic crossword puzzle is a fun vocabulary game for solo players. You probably tried this game once or twice when you found a random newspaper. Fortunately, you can find unsolved puzzles online to practice and improve. Crosswords don’t only test your vocabulary skills. It can also test your general knowledge about other topics. Filling a crossword without cheating is the most satisfying thing about this game. But you also learn new things when you look up words that you don’t know, so it’s still a win-win situation. 

9. 20 Objects

Another game for classroom setup, 20 Objects is easy to set up and easy to check. It can also be played regardless of the number of players. First, pick 20 objects and show them to your class. Make sure that these objects are easily recognizable and are commonly known. 

Give your students a minute to memorize as many objects as they could. After this initial minute, the students need to write down the objects they remember in their target language. The player with the most correct answers wins the game. 

10. Chalkboard Acronym

In Chalkboard Acronym, the game facilitator will write down a word on a board vertically. The class must come up with words for each letter on the board. Each word should still be related to the original word from the facilitator. 

Despite its name, the Chalkboard Acronym game can be played on paper or another medium. But for classroom settings, using a board is necessary. The goal for this game isn’t to win. Instead, the whole class needs to come up with words to show their vocabulary skills. 

11. Popsicle Vocabulary

What sets this game apart from the other games above is the fact that you can modify this game as a routine. To play this game, write down words to popsicle sticks. Get one stick from the container, and give its definition. This is also a great way to learn new words or new phrases. 

By the end of the day, put the popsicle stick back to the container. Once you picked it up again, instead of defining it, you need to give both a synonym and an antonym for that word. If you’re confident with your answers in the current batch, it’s time to replace your popsicle sticks. 

12. Classic Charades

And last but not least, the classic charades should also bring good fun as a group activity. In this game, a group representative will be given a word to act out in front of his or her groupmate. The groupmates should guess the right word before the timer runs out.  

Looking for other ways to master a new language? Try these top online learning platforms:
Begin your journey with Babbel, where you can enjoy user-friendly, enriching lessons tailored to fit seamlessly into your daily routine, complete with interactive exercises and cultural insights. For a deeper dive into language mastery, Udemy offers detailed courses that cover all proficiency levels from beginner to advanced.

Additionally, Preply provides personalized sessions with native speakers to refine your conversational skills. Get started on Preply with a 50% discount on your first session through this link.

Releated Articles

April 26, 2024
What are the Basic Tenses in English?
April 26, 2024
What is the Longest Word in English?
April 25, 2024
Learn Basic Japanese Grammar

Daily learning tips directly in your inbox