Before playing these noun games, review the definition of a noun and the different kinds of nouns. If nouns are still a new concept, start with common nouns. If your class is more advanced, you could classify further by proper and common nouns. A harder version of a game would be classifying by person, place, thing, or idea. The most advanced students could categorize the nouns by countable, uncountable, collective, concrete, and abstract. The first games will be games for the whole class.
The first game is Globe Trotter. The class stands in a circle and the teacher holds an inflatable globe. The teacher tosses the globe to a student and they have five seconds to think of a noun that is related to the world; animals, countries, weather, geography, etc. The teacher may want to help the students to start thinking about nouns of the world before starting the game. This could really cover any kind of noun, so it should not be difficult once they get going. When the student responds correctly, he or she tosses the ball to another student. It would be good to allow a “do-over” for those students who are struggling.
Another version of Globe Trotter would be using a stuffed animal and have nouns from things at a zoo or animals. Also, you could use a sports ball and have nouns from any sport, including where it is played, the spectators, etc.
Nouns Around the World is the next of the noun games. The teacher has a pile of alphabet flashcards and another set of cards with the words: “person”, “place”, “thing”, and “idea” on them. Two students stand and the teacher shows them one card from each stack and also reads the letter and types of noun. The student who answers first and correctly stands behind the other student’s desk. Then the winner competes with the next student and the game continues. A simpler version would just have flashcards and the students think of any noun that starts with that letter.
The next game is called Traveling With Nouns. The students can be in a circle or stay at their desks, depending on the layout of the room. One student starts by naming something that he needs on his trip, like: “I’m going on a trip and I am taking _____.” You may pick a destination if you wish. The noun must start with an “a.” The next student will repeat the sentence, repeat the first student’s noun, and add a noun that starts with a “b.” This could get quite long, so you may want to split the class into two groups.
Another version of the Traveling With Nouns game has the student saying a noun that starts with the last letter of the noun from the previous student and not have them repeat each one. This version would probably be easier for a large group. You could totally leave out the opening sentence and just have a simple noun game where you make a noun chain.
The last two noun games involve individual students or teams. Write a letter on the board and have each student write as many nouns as they can think of within a certain time frame. One or two minutes would be enough. Call on some students to read their list so the whole class can listen and make sure they have listed nouns. More advanced groups can do certain types of nouns.
A good team game has a chart for each group with four columns: “person”, “place”, “thing”, and “idea.” Give them a certain amount of time; then each group shares with the whole class. Reward the team with the longest list. You could reward for each type of noun, too. Rewards can be free time, being first in line, treats, stickers, etc.