Students, regardless of age, all have one in common: they have short attention spans and can’t sit around learning for long. Just 30 minutes into the lecture you may find them fidgeting, looking blankly at the ceiling, or asking trivial questions.
To keep students’ interests high and to avoid textbooks like your kids avoid vegetables, check these top 17 fun games to play in class. They are versatile, work great for both online and offline learning, and don’t require much effort to set up.
Let’s jump in!
5 Benefits of a Fun Classroom
Whether it’s online or offline, there is value in having a round of fun classroom games. Here are the five benefits of why you should incorporate games more than often in your lesson:
- Attentiveness: a handful of fun greatly increase students’ focus, according to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. It’s no hard science to see that your students are indulged in playing games in class, since classroom games are often upbeat and require a great amount of attention in order to win.
- Motivation: more than a dozen times, students often look forward to a lesson or a class if they include a fun game. And if they feel motivated, they can even overcome the hardest learning obstacles👏
- Collaboration: by participating in classroom games as pairs or in teams, your students will eventually learn to cooperate with others and work in harmony as there are no rights or wrongs, only achievable goals at the end of the route.
- Affection: playing games is a great way to form special bonds with your students. They will think you are the “cool teacher” that knows how to build a welcoming environment and have fun apart from teaching dry topics.
- Learning reinforcement: the prime purpose of classroom games is for the students to learn using non-traditional education methods. By putting hard knowledge into something enjoyable, your students will sprout positive memories of the learning process, which are much easier to recall during exams.
17 Fun Games to Play in Class for Students
Online Classroom Games
Battling through the silent void during virtual lessons is not a walk in the park. Luckily, it’s super exciting online classroom games to the rescue! Revive the class atmosphere and leave the brightest smiles on your students’ faces with this engagement first aid kit.
Here’s the full list 👉 15 online classroom games for every age.
#1 – Live Quiz
Quizzes make lessons easy-peasy. They help students retain the lesson learned and fire up their competitive spirit, which the traditional pen and paper method cannot accomplish.
There are tons of interactive online quizzes for you to try: Kahoot, Quizizz, AhaSlides, Quizlet, etc. Choose one that best fits your plan and budget, then start giving your class an exquisite time.
#2 – Charades
Whether online or offline, Charades is a fun physical game to satisfy your students’ urges to move around when stuck behind a computer screen.
You can let the students work in teams or pairs. The students will be given a word or phrase to demonstrate through actions, and their teammates will need to guess the correct word/phrase based on that description.
#3 – Time to Climb
Students absolutely love this game, especially the younger ones. We’ve had a couple of teachers sharing that their pupils beg them to play Time to Climb during class, and if you take a look through the game’s guide, you will see it’s the complete package and total education candy for youngsters 🍭
The game will transform your standard multiple choice quiz into an interactive game, where the students can choose their characters and advance to the top of the mountain with the fastest correct answer.
ESL Classroom Games
Learning a second language requires double energy to convert words and meanings, which might be why your class just sit there frozen in time. Worry not because with these ESL classroom ice-breakers, “timid” or “shy” will not be in your students’ dictionary 😉.
Here’s the full list 👉12 Exciting ESL classroom games.
#4 – Tell me Five
This is a simple vocabulary review game in which you can devise your own rules. In class, divide your students into groups and give each group a category (e.g. pizza toppings). They will have to come up with five things belonging to that category in 20 seconds (e.g. pizza toppings: cheese, mushroom, ham, bacon, corn) on the board.
For a virtual class, let the students write five things from the category on a whiteboard tool. The fastest among them is the winner!
#5 – Show and Tell
It’s great that your students can incorporate refined words in their writing, but can they do the same when speaking?
In Show and Tell, you give students a topic to work on, such as their favourite snack. Each person will have to bring an item that matches the topic and tell a story or a memory involving that object.
To add more spice to the game, you can let the students vote and compete for different prizes, such as the best story-teller, best story plot, most hilarious story, etc.
#6 – Word Chain
Test your students’ word bank with this simplistic, zero preparation game.
First, come up with a word, such as ‘bee’, then throw a ball to a student; they will think of another word that starts with the last letter, “e”, such as “emerald”. They’ll continue the word chain around the class until someone cannot shout the next word fast enough, then they’ll restart without that player.
For a more advanced level, you could prepare a theme and ask students to say words that belong to that category only. For example, if your theme is “animal” and the first word is “dog”, the players should follow up with animal words like “goat” or “goose”. Keep the category broad, otherwise this quick classroom game gets really hard!
#7 – Word Jumble Race
Word Jumble Race is perfect for practicing tenses, word order, and grammar.
It’s pretty simple. Prepare by cutting up sentences into a handful of words, then split your class into small groups and give them a batch of words each. When you say “GO!”, each group will race to put the words in the correct order.
You can print out the sentences to use in class or shuffle the words effortlessly using an online quiz tool.
Here’s how it works online
- Sign up to AhaSlides for free, create a presentation and choose the “Correct Order” slide.
- Add the words of a sentence. Each one will be shuffled randomly for your players.
- Set the time limit.
- Present to your students.
- They all join on their phones and race to sort the words the fastest!
Vocabulary Classroom Games
These vocabulary classroom games are similar to the ESL classroom games, but focus more on individual words than sentence structures. These are some non-intimdating classroom games that can boost your students’ self-esteem and energy levels.
Here’s the full list 👉 10 fun vocabulary games for the classroom
#8 – Pictionary
Time to let their students practice their doodling skills.
Playing Pictionary in class is super simple. You assign one to read the word you’ve prepared and they will have to sketch it quick in 20 seconds. When time’s left, others will have to guess what it is based on the doodle.
You can let them play in teams or individually, and increase the challenge according to the level of the students. To play Pictionary online, make sure to either utilise the Zoom whiteboard or one of the many great Pictionary-type free apps out there.
#9 – Word Scramble
Nothing is more enjoyable than unscrambling the words and figuring out what they might be. You can make some Word Scramble worksheets ready with different themes such as animals, festivals, stationary, etc. and roll them out during class. The first student who successfully decodes all the words will be the winner.
#10 – Guess the Secret Word
How can you help the students to memorise new words? Try the word association game, Guess the Secret Word.
First, think of a word, then tell the students some words associated with that. They will have to use their existing vocabulary to try guessing the word you’re thinking of.
For example, if the secret word is “peach”, you could say “pink”. Then they might guess something like “flamingo” and you will tell them it’s not related. But when they say words like “guava”, you can tell them that it is associated with the secret word.
#11 – Stop the Bus
This is another great vocabulary revision game for class.
Start by preparing some categories or topics that conmtain the target vocabulary your students have been learning, such as verbs, clothing, transportation, colours, etc. Then, choose a letter from the alphabet.
Your class, which should be divided into teams, will have to write each word as quickly as possible from each category that begins with that specific letter. When they complete all lines, they will have to shout “Stop the bus!”.
For example, there are three categories: clothing, countries, and cakes. The letter you choose is “C”. The students will need to come up with something like this:
- Corset (clothing)
- Canada (countries)
- Cupcake (cakes)
Classroom Board Games
Boardgames make great classroom staples. They increase students’ collaboration and vocabulary skills by means of fruitful competition. Here are some quick classroom board games that can be played virtually or in a physical class, and by all ages.
#12 – Hedbanz
Taken from the family-classic board game, Hedbanz is an atmosphere raiser and is super easy to play.
Print out some cards that belong to the animal, food, or object category, then stick them onto your students’ foreheads. They will have to ask “Yes” or “No” questions to figure out what the cards are before the time run out. Playing in pairs is optimal for Hedbanz.
#13 – Boggle
On a jumbled grid of 16 letters, the goal of Boggle is to find as many words as possible. Up, down, left, right, diagonal, how many words your students can come up with on the grid?
There are many free Boggle templates online for distance learning and physical classroom. Stack up some and give them out to your students as a pleasant surprise at the end of the class.
#14 – Apples to Apples
Excellent for students’ vocabulary development, Apples to Apples is a hilarious board game to add to your classroom collection. There are two types of cards: Things (which generally feature a noun) and Descriptions (which contain an adjective).
As a teacher, you can be the judge and pick the Description card. The students will try to pick, from the seven cards in their hands, the Thing they feel that best matches that description. If you like that comparison, they can keep the Description card. The winner is the one who collects the most Description cards in the game.
Classroom Maths Games
Has learning maths ever been fun? We dare to say YES, because with these short but mighty maths games, your students will so be adding math to their all-time favourite subject list. It’s also scientifically proven that lessons built around game-based activities generate more maths enthusiasts. Check it out!
Here’s the full list 👉10 best maths video games for bored K12 students?
#15 – Would you Rather – Maths Edition
Would you rather buy packages of 12 cookies for $3 each or packages of 10 cookies for $2.60 each?
Not sure what answer your students will choose, but we do love cookies 🥰️ In the standard edition of Would you Rather, students are given a scenario with two choices. They will have to choose which option they’ll go for and justify it using logical reasoning.
In the maths edition, all students play at the same time and race to choose the best deal out of the two options.
The game can be played both online and offline to as a quick ice breaker or lesson ender. Let’s play Would you Rather with AhaSlides!
#16 – 101 and out
Ever worry that your maths lessons end on a bit of a dull note? How about initiating a few rounds of 101 and out, a fun activity for class in which the goal is to score as close to the number 101 as possible without going over. Divide your class into groups, and have a spinner wheel representing a dice (yes we figure not every class has a couple of dice ready).
Each group will take turns spinning the wheel, and they can either count the number at face value or multiply it by 10. For example, if they roll a five, they can choose to keep that number or turn it into 50 to quickly get to 101.
For older students, try giving an awkward multiply number, such as 7, to make decisions more difficult.
💡 Want more spinner wheel games like this? We’ve got a free interactive template for you! Just find ‘class spinner wheel games’ in the template library.
#17 – Guess my number
From 1 to 100, which number is on my mind? In Guess my number, students will have to guess what the number you are thinking of. It is a good math game to practise everyone’s logical thinking. They can ask questions such as “Is it an odd number?”, “Is it in the nineties?”, “Is it a multiple of 5?”, and you can only answer “Yes” or “No” without giving any other clues.
Learn how to have Fun Picture Round Quiz Ideas with AhaSlides!