Learning about verbs throughout elementary school is fun for students who play verb games in class. Teachers use these games to introduce new grammar concepts as well as strengthen old concepts that students have about verbs: what they are, how they work in a sentence, and other grammatical elements of this part of speech. Below are a few games that teach about verbs which your students will love. Take these ideas and adapt verb games for the students in your classroom so that they are appropriate for their age and learning limitations.
One of the most popular verb games for kids learning about grammar is called SWAT, and you can play this game with verbs very easily. You need a blackboard, chalk, and two fly swatters. Before the game begins, brainstorm as many sentences as you have students so that everyone in the classroom will play twice.
Break the room up into two teams. Make three big boxes (about 2’x2’) and inside of them, write “helping,” “action,” and “linking,” which are the three kinds of verbs. Designate one student from each team to be a team secretary, tallying up the points their teammates earn.
For each turn of SWAT, have two students (one from each team) come up to the board. Have them each hold a fly swatter in hand. Then, read aloud one of your sentences. Their job is to swat at the correct box as soon as possible, identifying correctly whether the verb is a helping, action, or linking verb.
Make sure to finally reveal the right answer and confirm who (if anyone) earns a point from the turn. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
This game, called Jumping for Joy, is incredibly fun for students of all ages because it allows you and your students to have a good discussion about grammar.
Before the game, brainstorm several sentences that have one verb in the sentence – be it linking verb or helping verb or action verb, there should be one main verb that is the predicate of the sentence.
On your list of sentences, take a note of how many words are in each separate sentence. When it is time to play the game, each turn is played sentence-by-sentence. Using paper and a bold marker (big enough that all students sitting at their desks can see the words clearly), write one of the sentences such that there is one word on each piece of paper.
Bring the number of students to the front of the room so that there all of the words of the sentence are represented. Mix up the papers, and have each student take a word and tell them to organize themselves in a sentence in a line in front of the class, holding their papers out for their classmates to see. Then say to your students, “If you are holding the verb, jump for joy.”
You may have a few students jump or none at all. This is a great chance for your students to begin a discussion of what a verb is and how it functions in the sentence. Students have fun playing this game and can be adapted to serve specific kinds of verbs (“Jump for joy if you are a helping verb”) or other parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and articles).
This does not require much supervision or help from you but it requires that you build a deck beforehand. Buy a pack of index cards. On the front of each card, write a different sentence, and underline a verb in that sentence. On the back of each card, write whether the underlined verb is a linking, helping, or action verb.
If a student gets the answer right, they keep the card, and if they do not, they can put the card under the deck. The students with the most cards at the end of the game wins. These kinds of verb games are for two students to play, and they ensure that students get a lot of individual practice while learning about verbs.