You found our list of fun and simple vocabulary games for adults.
Vocabulary games are activities that include language and wordplay. Example games include Word Association and Hang Man. Players can enjoy vocabulary games in person or online. The purpose of these games is to strengthen vocabulary skills. These games are also known as “vocab games”, “letter games” and “vocabulary building games.”
These games make great online classroom activities and communication games, and can be used as online fun activities for employees.
This list includes:
- vocabulary games for adults
- simple vocabulary word games for adults
- fun online vocabulary games and activities
- English vocabulary games
- vocabulary games in English
- games to improve vocabulary
- vocabulary building activities
- vocab review games
- vocabulary games for students
Get ready to play!
List of vocabulary games
From Pictionary to word scrambles to synonym memory, here is a list of fun word games to play in classrooms, at parties, or during meetings.
1. Vocabulary Pictionary
Pictionary is a game of charades where players draw words instead of acting them out.
- Split the group into teams.
- Each round, assign one team member to draw.
- Give the drawing team member a word.
- Allow up to sixty seconds for teammates to guess.
- If the team guesses correctly, then assign one point.
You can give other teams the opportunity to steal, or move onto the next team’s turn. The game is a great way to practice new vocabulary, as players connect the word with an image. Pictionary is a fun game for virtual parties or in-person affairs.
To play Pictionary online, draw on the whiteboard app feature on your online meeting software.
2. Word Association
Word Association is one of the best vocabulary games for kids and classrooms since playing does not require a large vocabulary. The rules are simple and easy to understand. Typically, the game involves two players.
- Player one says a word.
- Player two responds with the first word that comes to mind.
- Player one either chooses a new word or responds to player two’s word.
- The game continues until one player repeats a word or pauses too long.
The rapid pace of the game generates excitement and occasionally results in funny answers.
If a student makes a mistake, then the teacher can pause the game and ask the student to explain or find a more fitting word. Ideally, gamemasters should allow players a few extra seconds to respond. Players should never feel embarrassed. There are no wrong answers in word association, but the game can serve as a learning opportunity to find better words.
If playing via Zoom, then player one or the teacher speaks a word, and other students answer in the chat. The class counts up matching answers and discusses different responses, guessing the reasoning behind each answer.
3. Vocabulary Hangman
Hangman is a classic chalkboard word game that translates easily to online play, thanks to digital whiteboards.
- Assign a player a word.
- The player draws a series of blanks corresponding to the number of letters in the word.
- Other players guess letters.
- If the letter is in the word, then the “executioner” fills in the blank. If not, then the executioner draws one portion of the gallows.
- The game ends when players guess the word, or when the picture is complete.
The best words to use for hangman contain less-used letters like z, x, and q. Examples of hard hangman words include zigzagging, razzmatazz, and quadrants.
4. Word search
Word searches are common classroom vocabulary games. These activities work well for handouts, and you can play during video calls by using the whiteboard feature and enabling annotation.
We made a sample word search you can use.
To make the game more competitive and exciting, turn the challenge into a race and award prizes to the first players to complete the puzzles.
Crossword puzzles consist of a series of interconnecting boxes, each of which starts blank but contains one letter by the end of the game. Under the puzzle are two lists of clues, across and down respectively. Solvers need to consider the meaning of words, number of letters, and surrounding words, making the game strategic as well as literary.
Here is an example of a crossword puzzle you can use with your class or team.
Here is the answer key.
Crosswords are great word games for any age or skill level because puzzle makers can adjust the difficulty to suit players. To make your own crossword puzzle, use an online crossword creator.
6. Word Scramble
Word scrambles make great games for English class, and adults enjoy these language brain teasers as well. Simply mix up the order of the letters and ask players to unscramble and identify the original words.
Here is a sample to start with.
And here is the answer key.
To make your own word scrambles, use an online letter randomizer.
Scrabble is one of the most popular word games for adults or children. Players must use letter tiles to assemble words on the game board.
- Each player draws seven letter tiles.
- During turns, players can play tiles or exchange them for new letters.
- Players build words on the board, with each new word connecting to an existing word.
- Tiles have a point value assigned depending on the challenge of the letter. When a player makes a word, tally the letter and add the score to the point board.
More challenging letters have higher point values. For example, E is one point, while Z is ten. To find the point values for each tile and read more gameplay tips, check out this guide from Hasbro.
To coordinate the game for language lessons, assign higher scores for vocabulary words, and ask players to use the words in a sentence for extra points.
Scrabble is easy to play online, too, making it one of the best online vocabulary games. To play virtually, simply find a multiplayer online version of the game, such as Words With Friends.
Scattergories is one of the most fun and simple word games for adults. The game challenges players to think up words all starting with the same letter.
- One player rolls a letter die or uses a letter generator to pick the first letter.
- The timekeeper puts 60 seconds on the clock.
- Players write down one answer per category starting with the letter.
- When time runs out, players read the answers.
- Players receive a point for every answer.
Alliterative phrases count for double or triple points. If two players have the same answer, then they must cross it out and neither receives points. Of course, a player will not receive points for blank answers either. At the end of each round, the player with the most points wins.
Here is a list of sample Scattergories categories:
- A boy’s name, girl’s name, or gender neutral name
- Capital cities
- Four letter words
- Types of drinks
- Careers or professions
- Cartoon characters
You could create more inventive categories for the game, or challenge players to make up prompts.
To play virtually, use the chat, screen-share, whiteboard functions in your virtual meeting platform. You can also share a Google Doc or Form, or join a multiplayer online Scattergories game together.
9. Tree or Bob Ross
Tree or Bob Ross is a fun video conference game that challenges players to guess a word by asking questions.
The player who conjures the word is The Post. The Post answers This or That questions whose answers help players narrow down the word.
The first question of the game is usually “is it more like a tree, or more like Bob Ross?” and The Post must answer accordingly. For instance, a rose is probably more like a tree, but Pinnochio presents an interesting challenge.
Each turn, the guesser adds a new word. For example, the second question might be, “is it more like a tree or a fern?” The game continues until players guess correctly. For more excitement, introduce a time limit, or award more points if players guess the word during earlier rounds.
10. Vocabulary Pyramid
Pyramid challenges players to guess words from context clues. The pyramid is a collection of six words, arranged with three on the bottom, two in the middle, and one at the top. To win, teams must guess all words within the pyramid in the allotted time.
- Divide the group into teams.
- Give one player on each team the pyramid.
- The pyramid holder must give hints to teammates describing each word without using the actual name of the item.
- When players guess correctly, the pyramid master can move to the next word. Or, players can say “pass,” and return to the word later.
- Teams receive a point for every correct guess.
When determining the time limit, consider the age of your players and the difficulty of the words. In general, 30 seconds per word, or three minutes total, is a good place to start, but add or take away time to increase or decrease the challenge.
11. Invisible Bridge
Invisible Bridge is similar to six degrees of Kevin Bacon. In both games, you must figure out a way to connect two seemingly distant concepts. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon uses actors, while Invisible Bridge uses words.
- A player suggests two unrelated words.
- Player one gives a number of planks. This is how many steps other players must use to relate the two words.
- The other players think up words that share similar traits, synonyms, or connector words to move from one term to another.
An example round might look as follows:
Tiger, Astronaut, eight planks
Tiger – Balm – Lip – Service – Customer – Happy – Pills – Capsules – Space – Astronaut
Meanwhile, Tiger, Astronaut, two planks might look like this:
Tiger – meat eater – meteor – Astronaut
One fun aspect about this game is there can be more than one correct answer, and opposing teams can dispute far-reaches. Invisible bridge encourages players to think about the nature of language and the relationship between words.
12. Poetry Improv
Poetry Improv is an exercise that challenges participants to craft verses on the spot.
- Pick a poetry style, such as sonnet, haiku, acrostic, limerick, or free verse.
- Give participants vocabulary words to use within the poem.
- Allow five or ten minutes for groups or individuals to complete the verses. If playing online via meeting software, then send groups to breakout rooms to work.
- Ask poets to share the masterpieces aloud.
For extra fun, turn other players into judges by asking them to rate the poems by holding up scorecards. To make the game more fast-paced, ask players to finish each others’ phrases on the spot for a true poetic improv.
13. Synonym Memory
The rules of Memory are easy: flip over two cards at a time and look for matching pictures or words. When players find pairs, they take the cards off the board. The player with the most pairs of cards at the end of the game wins.
Synonym Memory puts a challenging spin on the simple game. Instead of hunting for exact matches, players pair up words with synonyms.
Here are some sample matches:
The game encourages players to think in different ways, as participants will need to remember the location of the cards as well as consider meanings of words.
To play online, make your own virtual synonym memory game with an online tool and share screens to play, with one player flipping over the cards at other players’ request.
List of words to use for vocabulary games
Here is a list of great words to use in word games:
For further inspiration, use a random word generator or consult online lists of difficult or intersecting words.
Vocabulary games and activities test and strengthen players’ communication skills. These word games minimize frustration by disguising language lessons in the form of an exciting challenge. Not to mention, simple word games are fun for adults and kids alike, and make great icebreaker activities during meetings. Most games only require words and a way to share them, so playing word games online via Zoom or similar platforms is easy.
For even more smart fun, check out our posts on problem solving games, question games and team building brain teasers.
FAQ: Vocabulary Games
Here are answers to common questions about vocabulary games and activities.
What are vocabulary games?
Vocabulary games are word and language games you can play with students, coworkers, or family and friends. These games challenge players to hunt for words or definitions, brainstorm terms, deduce phrases based on clues, or create words under certain conditions. Language games are a great way to teach new vocabulary and help students practice recognizing and using new words. These activities are also known as “vocabulary building games” and “vocab games”, and are similar to “word games” and “letter games”.
What are some fun word games for groups?
Some fun word games for groups include Pictionary, Tree or Bob Ross, and word scrambles.
What are some online vocabulary games?
By using virtual meeting software like Zoom, you can play any word game online. Some good virtual vocabulary games include Scrabble, Scattergories, and online crossword puzzles.
What are good ESL word games?
The best ESL word games are easy to understand and play yet expand the vocabularies of participants. Good ESL word games include word association, word searches, and hangman.
What are fun ways to teach vocabulary?
Word games are one of the most fun and easy ways to teach vocabulary. While some kids get frustrated with straightforward reading or language exercises, word games disguise vocabulary lessons as a fun challenge. Plus, playing language games together is a great teamwork exercise.
How can I improve my English vocabulary games? ›
- Word of the Day. Learning a new word every day is one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary. ...
- Word to Word. ...
- WordUp. ...
- Magoosh Vocabulary Builder. ...
- Vocabulary.com. ...
- Words with Friends. ...
- PowerVocab. ...
Pictionary Vocabulary Game is an excellent game that improves vocabulary. The game works great for visual learners. The player has to describe the word with the help of a drawing, and the team has to guess the word. This is a simple game, where you can write a word vertically on the board or a paper.How do you play English vocabulary game? ›
Divide the class into two teams and have one person from each team choose a piece of paper and act out the word. The teams must guess the correct word before three minutes run out. For each correct word, that team receives a point. The team that hits ten points first is the winning team.What are 5 activities for teaching vocabulary? ›
Many “real” games work well for vocab play and practice. Games such as Balderdash, Taboo, Scrabble, Blurt, Bananagrams, word bingo, and others are fun. There are online games as well, such as Scholastic's Synonym Toast.What is a fun word game? ›
Word games are fun activities that test vocabulary, spelling, and language skills. Examples include Hangman, Skribbl, and Crosswords. These games aim to ensure that teammates have fun, interact and unwind while improving communication skills.Which English speaking game is best? ›
- Human Brain Cloud.
- Scrabble Online.
- Word Games by Learn English Today.
- 7 Words.
- ESL Crossword Puzzles.
- 6 Ways To Improve Your Speaking Fluency In English. Home. ...
- Let go of your ego. The first and most important thing you can do as a language learner is to let go of your ego. ...
- Practise, practise, practise. ...
- Prepare for conversations. ...
- Brush up on your conversational phrases. ...
- Attend a language exchange. ...
- Introduce each new word one at a time. ...
- Reflect. ...
- Read the text you've chosen. ...
- Ask students to repeat the word after you've read it in the text. ...
- Use a quick, fun activity to reinforce each new word's meaning. ...
- Play word games. ...
- Challenge students to use new words.
Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, chess and other problem-solving and memory games that stimulate your brain aren't just fun—they may produce lasting benefits. A 2014 study found brain exercises helped older adults maintain reasoning skills and speed of cognition 10 years after the research period came to an end.What is the best word game for brain? ›
- Crosswords. ...
- Elevate. ...
- Peak. ...
- Happy Neuron. ...
- Braingle. ...
- Queendom. ...
- Brain Age Concentration Training. ...
- Wordle. This web-based puzzle game from The New York Times exploded in popularity in early 2022 and now counts millions of users worldwide.
What are vocabulary exercises? ›
Vocabulary exercises are activities focused on understanding and memorizing the vocabulary words better. With these activities, students can have a clearer idea about the meaning, usage, pronunciation etc. of a word.What is simple English game? ›
A game is an activity or sport usually involving skill, knowledge, or chance, in which you follow fixed rules and try to win against an opponent or to solve a puzzle. ... the wonderful game of football. ... a playful game of hide-and-seek.How can I teach English games with fun? ›
- Board Race.
- Call My Bluff / Two Truths and A Lie.
- Simon Says.
- Word Jumble Race.
- The Mime.
- Hot Seat.
- Improve English: Vocabulary. ...
- WordUp. ...
- PowerVocab. ...
- Anki. ...
- 7 Little Words. ...
- Reverse Dictionary. ...
- Penny Dell Daily Crossword. ...
- Vocabulary.com. Vocabulary.com combines a dictionary and a learning game that helps you discover and memorise new words.
Vocabulary refers to the words we must understand to communicate effectively. Educators often consider four types of vocabulary: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.What are the 6 classroom activities that teachers could use in order to improve their speaking skills? ›
- Encourage conversation. ...
- Model syntactic structure. ...
- Maintain eye contact. ...
- Remind students to speak loudly and articulate clearly. ...
- Have students summarize heard information. ...
- Model and guide sentence construction. ...
- Explain the subtleties of tone.
Use your logical thinking skills to win! Wordle is a free online puzzle game where players try to guess a valid five-letter word in six tries or less. Wordle can be played on a computer or mobile device.What is the new 5 word game? ›
What is Wordle? This game is so good. Wordle gives players six chances to guess a randomly selected five-letter word. As shown above, if you have the right letter in the right spot, it shows up green.What is the popular word game everyone is playing? ›
Wordle is owned by The New York Times and has a huge fan following. It's free, so it's perfect for those lazy days when you want to relax on your couch and play a quick game or two. Wordle is a new, fun, and engaging app that comes with a puzzle daily to guess a five-letter word in 6 chances.What activities help you memorize things better? ›
- Try to understand the information first. Information that is organized and makes sense to you is easier to memorize. ...
- Link it. ...
- Sleep on it. ...
- Self-test. ...
- Use distributed practice. ...
- Write it out. ...
- Create meaningful groups. ...
- Use mnemonics.
How can I help my child remember vocabulary? ›
- Use a Notebook. ...
- Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check. ...
- Learn Words in Groups and Chunks. ...
- Give Spelling Tests. ...
- Write Sentences Using Target Words. ...
- Play Games. ...
- Stick Words on the Wall. ...
- Repeat, Review, Recycle.
- Eat right.
- Drink water.
- Get a good night's sleep.
- Take Omega-3.
- Learn a new skill.
- Read the whole answer only to understand.
- Don't think of memorizing in one go.
- Break the question in parts( as many u wish.. ...
- Now go through one part and learn it loudly.
- Now check whether u have learned by hiding the answer.
- If yes: repeat processes 4 and 5 till u complete the answer.
Memorize with the help of repetition
One effective way to do this is to write out the information you need to remember and then read it aloud. This can help to reinforce the information and make it easier to recall at a later time. You can also try to write it down many times until the data is memorized.
And the five types are academic words or multi-syllabic words, phrases, phrasal verbs, idioms and collocations. So these five things, these five vocabulary types are best learned through listening actually, not through reading.What is the best way for students to learn vocabulary? ›
Vocabulary instruction must include multiple practice opportunities for using words within and across subjects. That is, instruction must be extended over time with opportunities for students to hear, speak, read, and write words in various contexts. This builds students' breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge.What are 7 ways to improve your memory? ›
- Be physically active every day. Physical activity raises blood flow to the whole body, including the brain. ...
- Stay mentally active. ...
- Spend time with others. ...
- Stay organized. ...
- Sleep well. ...
- Eat a healthy diet. ...
- Manage chronic health problems.
- Green, leafy vegetables. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. ...
- Fatty fish. ...
- Berries. ...
- Tea and coffee. ...
Rehearse information over and over, either by writing it down or reading it aloud. Studies suggest that spaced repetition—spacing out learning over a longer period of time—is a more effective way to memorize information than trying to “cram” a lot of information into your brain over a short period of time.
- Encourage questions.
- Create rhymes and songs.
- Make learning exciting.
- Encourage active learning.
- Use visual aides.
- Have your child make his or her own examples.
- Create mind maps.
- Make a list of keywords for an idea or subject.
How can I improve my 10 year old's vocabulary? ›
Introducing a new word each day will boost your child's vocabulary by 365 (or 366!) words every year, and is an activity that the whole family can get involved with. You could use a word-a-day calendar or a website or app to suggest new words, or pick them out of a dictionary.How can I improve my 11 year olds vocabulary? ›
Select interesting texts, model excitement, encourage collaboration and fun (including idioms and jokes), use technology (but don't get carried away), include problem solving and practice activities, and award points for spotting target words outside of class (e.g. on TV, in movies, the Internet).