Games to revise vocabulary in the English classroom

Best games for recycling vocabulary

Best games for recycling vocabulary


  • Vocabulary
  • Teaching qualifications
  • Activities
  • Tips & Strategies
  • Methodology

The famous linguist David Wilkins said, “While without grammar little can be conveyed, without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed”. Do you agree that we see the most progress in our students when they learn new words and expressions rather than grammar?

Learning new vocabulary is always a challenge for any speaker because it is necessary to remember not only the meaning, form, and pronunciation of the word itself but also new word combinations, word formation, and grammatical function.

Repetition, use, visualization, and personalization are the most effective ways to remember all these things. Teachers should regularly create such opportunities for students in class.

We have collected some games to help make vocabulary recycling in class more interesting.

What every teacher needs to know to teach vocabulary effectively

Find out


You can play this game in different ways during the lesson. For example, the teacher divides the class into small groups or partners. Students pronounce certain words together in English, complementing them by clapping their hands.

Watch the video to see how such a game is played.


Divide students into groups of 4-5 people. Each group lines up in front of the board.

The teacher says a word, and the first student from each group has to run to the board and write the sentence with it. When the sentence is written, the teacher says, “Stop.”

If there is a mistake in the sentence, the teacher can give a hint. For example, to indicate a mistake with the wrong tense.

Other students can help friends at the whiteboard. Also as a variation to this game, the teacher can say two or three words, each of which must be used in one sentence.

How to create exciting lessons and engage your students using flashcards

Practical ideas


The teacher writes two separate lists of words on the board: A and B. Then he assigns list A to one half of the class and list B to the other half. Students have to write questions with each word from the list.

Ideally, this question should demonstrate some understanding of words.

If students need help, they can consult the teacher, notes, or textbook. When they have finished writing questions, students from teams A and B pair up and exchange lists of questions.

They should read each question and write their answer on the same sheet of paper.

In their answers, they should use the same word that is underlined in the question. After that, the participants exchange and read each other’s answers again. For example:

  • Student A’s question: Are there any skyscrapers in New York City?
  • Student B’s answer: Yes, New York City has several skyscrapers.

Spark your English lessons with flashcards

Activities with flashcards

Flashcards are one of the classic teaching tools. They promote learning according to the method of active recall, which is one of the practices by which our brain learns most effectively.

For teachers who want to use flashcards as an effective tool in their teaching practice, there is an online self-study course on this topic.

Vocabulary Bingo

There are several ways to play Vocabulary Bingo. One of them looks like this: the teacher dictates new words, and the students have to look at their Bingo cards and cross out the corresponding words.

One of the advantages of such an activity is that it can be organized during online teaching. Watch the video for details on how the teacher should prepare for the game.

Hot seat

The teacher selects vocabulary for revision and makes a list that can be relied on during the lesson. Students should be divided into two teams.

One member of each team stands with their back to the board and facing their team.

The teacher writes a word on the board, and the other players must help their teammate guess the word before their opponents do.

Students can name synonyms or antonyms, describing what can be done with this object, or in what contexts it can be used. The first person to guess the word gets a point for their team.

Continue until you have used all the words on the list or until you get bored!

Developing listening skills

10 activities

We hope your students will like such games for learning new words and will remember them better.

You can find even more interesting activities for your lessons by following the links: vocabulary review, games with word combinations, 18 activities for recycling vocabulary.

Article authors & editors
  • Yulia Chorna

    Yulia Chorna


    DELTA Module 1, CELTA certified teacher of General & Business English



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