Vocabulary Games & Activities

Here is a terrific collection of fun and original vocabulary games and activities. Each game is completely free and requires very little in the way of preparation time or material resources.

Quick Quiz

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Flashcards like these are my favorite way to learn new words. There are quite a few programs and courses out there you can use to build your vocabulary this way, but if you want to know my absolute favorite Click Here.

Some of these games are created for the classroom, others are ideal for more casual settings like car trips or parties.

And don't think vocabulary games are just for kids — some of these games are perfect for adults, as presentation ice-breakers or dinner parties.

If you enjoy these games, please take a moment to see if you can help build this free resource by telling us about one of your own favorite word games or activities.

Here's how!

Before you browse the full collection, here are a few of the most popular games submitted so far...

Chalk Down, Turn Around

I am a foreign language teacher and I made this one up for my students. It is called "Chalk Down, Turn Around" and I like it because it is very simple, requiring only chalk and a chalkboard and no advance preparation on the teacher's part. Students like it because it moves fast and is competitive.


Pass the Dictionary

"Pass the Dictionary" is a suitable game for any age, as long as the participants can read or write. But the game is most entertaining when the competitors are closely matched in skill. Contests between generations are a source of hilarity and good-natured fun too - especially when parents are pitted against school-aged kids.


Funny Phrase

This game is really fun for all ages and can also be a good ice breaker in some contexts. I really enjoy this game and it's a lot cheaper than going out to buy a game at the store. It's simple to set up and can provide hours of entertainment.


Do You Know a Fun Vocabulary Game?

Do you know of a vocabulary game or activity that is always good fun? Maybe it was one you used to love to play as a child? Or maybe you are a parent or teacher and play it with your own children or class? Or maybe it's a game that's perfect for adults rather than children, and can be used to spice up dinner parties? If so, please tell us about it!

Your vocabulary game should be:

  • Non-commerical — This isn't the page for games like Scrabble and Balderdash that have to be purchased.

  • Uncommon — The game or activity does not have to be totally original, but it can't be one like 'Hangman' or 'I Spy' that everybody already knows.

  • Easy to organize — Putting together some basic resources is fine, but it shouldn't take a whole evening to prepare.

  • Fun to play — The game should be entertaining and mustn't feel like a typical vocabulary quiz or boring drill.

Your description should include:

  • A title for your game — Make it as catchy as possible.

  • A brief overview of the game — Include the reasons that you really like it.

  • The target group — For example, '5 to 8 year olds', 'adult dinner party', 'presentation ice-breaker', 'students of English as a 2nd language', 'ideal for car trips' etc.

  • Resources needed to play the game — Preferably nothing too complicated, but paper, pens, cards, dictionaries, and so on are fine.

  • The game duration — An estimate of how long the game usually takes to play.

  • Step-by-step instructions — This is the most important one! It's crucial that your instructions don't lead to confusion about how to play the game.

Vocabulary Games by Other Visitors

Click below to see all the cool vocabulary games and activities submitted by other Word Buff visitors...

Word Bag 
This is a fun game that we play sometimes at Toastmasters Meetings. Toastmasters International is where people go to improve their public speaking skills. …

Express Yourself! 
Resources : Some plain A3 cards, a selection of coloured card, some form of 'marker' to use for moving around the board, a dice and a stopwatch. …

STOP! is a very fun vocabulary game for everyone, from children to grown ups. You can play this game at school, home, parties... Everywhere! You …

The Good Egg 
This was a popular game to play with the neighborhood kids when I was little. It is used to learn colors. I remember how we used to beg our parents to …

Who doesn’t love family game night?! Nothing beats having your family and friends gathered together to have some fun. There are tons of games to choose …

Word Blast 
This is a fun and challenging game that invites laughter and discussion. People can learn from it, too. Because of the nature of the game, it's best for …

Chalk Down, Turn Around 
I am a foreign language teacher and I made this one up for my students. It is called "Chalk Down, Turn Around". I like it because it is very simple, …

Name, Place, Animal, Thing 
Let me introduce you to a fun activity that I used to engage in pre-mobile, pre-computers, pre-internet days when our options for indoor fun were severely …

Verbal Charades 
Who said learning cannot be fun? I personally believe that when lessons are taught in a way that the learners enjoy, they are more likely to remember what …

Secret Word Not rated yet
This is a game which we used to play in the school when we were kids. Since the game is played by dividing the kids into two teams, it brings some sort …

What’s That Word? Not rated yet
Who is it good for? Anyone, but especially helpful for people who want to learn the English language as a second language. It helped me to learn English …

Higgly-Piggly Not rated yet
As the children of an elementary school librarian and a high school science teacher, and the grandchildren of grandparents who loved nothing more than …

Word Hat Not rated yet
Object of Game: Words picked from a Dictionary (answer sheet is provided as a reference - we used to write them out because this game was played where …

Diction Not rated yet
Alright, I’ll bite: Here’s a game I used to play with my brothers in those long, boring days of rainy limbo. We never named it, or at least I never caught …

Two For One Word Game Not rated yet
We all know that there are times when two or more names are squashed together to form a new name such as Labradoodle or cockapoo. This vocabulary game …

Funny Phrase Not rated yet
This vocabulary game is really fun for all ages and can also be a good ice breaker in some contexts. I really enjoy this game and it's a lot cheaper than …

Leminitions Not rated yet
This game is called Leminitions, which comes from the art of lemming, or taking from another. This game is fun because it's all about being creative, …

Pass the Dictionary Not rated yet
Long before Parker Bros. and other board game biggies got in on the act, our extended family loved to get together with nothing more than a dictionary …

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