When I was a new teacher I wanted to know the best activities to teach adjectives in a classroom. I did a little research to see what more experienced teachers were doing. This is what I found out and have used in my time teaching.
Introducing adjectives to young learners is one of the most enjoyable areas of teaching English. It is important to gather all the resources and make a plan making sure that your classroom is ready. Students, especially younger learners, benefit so much by being able to add depth and meaning to both their communications and their written work by using adjectives.
Adjective activities can include, card games, riddles, worksheets, comparison activities physical or TPR activities and worksheets. These can cover the complete range of descriptive adjectives. Diversifying instruction will ensure that students with differing learning styles are able to participate equally.
One of the most effective ways to improve learner confidence and language retention is to encourage the use of adjectives. There are many effective to teach adjectives: Classroom Activities that involve the whole class, or individual activities, card games, matching exercises, and big adjective activities you can hold outside. We have these an the more traditional worksheet and paper activities as well. We will highlight and offer resources to each below.
There are many card games for children most of them can be adapted to use in English classrooms we made one called Adjective Uno. Which has an adjective on each card. This adjective card game is similar to the Uno Card game or you can use the cards as flash cards for other games. One of the games that we have used is an Adjective matching game. The teacher hands the cards to groups of students and they have to match each adjective to its opposite. With a set of cards you can do almost anything we find it’s better to work in groups but they can be used and played with individually as well. The picture below will lead to the page for these card games. We also have them for action verbs as well. The premium version, which is editable is also here as well.
I am sure we have seen or used these ourselves in classrooms or homes. They provide an excellent way for teachers to practice both reading and grammar. Students must read the description and work out which picture the text is describing. We have made numerous versions of these craft activities. These are one of our most popular activities and one of our most popular downloads. We have, at the moment, holidays Christmas, Easter and Halloween and we’ve also got them for animals, food, weather. jobs and even natural disasters. It is worth a search to find more if you need them. We have an example on the picture below.
For whole class environments we have Jeopardy style quizzes that can be used by teachers for whole class activities. At the moment they are two versions, a ‘‘what is the animal riddle” PowerPoint, this is also in the form of a jeopardy game and is fully editable. The other is a vowels jeopardy game, again editable so you can adapt to the requirements of your students. They are a great way to keep the whole class engaged and motivated and of course have fun along the way.
Sometimes so that the students have some thing more tangible to take home and practice we return to the tried and tested worksheet. This doesn’t mean they cant be fun here as well though. There are hundreds of worksheets for Adjectives on google, and we have our share of ours on the site. We have free samples, examples and a premium pack with the games we have as well. They are great for consolidation, and for keeping things fresh in your students memory. Feel free to take them try them, and if you want to help feel equally free to buy them 🙂
It is important for students to be introduced to English grammatical terms as soon as they can understand. They will become more familiar and use these terms much more frequently as they progress through their school years but developing their knowledge between the difference between verbs, nouns and adjectives’ (to start) will be of immense benefit. teaching this can be done actively or passively, and in our opinion most effectively, by mixing the two approaches. Where as this topic demands a post of its own, and its will get one, we will highlight a couple of ideas that you can use quickly and efficently.
Using an activity to teach the difference between adjectives, nouns and verbs: If you have time you can ask your students to prepare this for you activity, if not you can download a word list, or pictures to use. Either way the idea is to have about 10 examples of each grammar term prepared, pictures or words ( or even better both). Then you can play the game.
To do this more passively, or as a consolidation exercise you can use the selection of worksheets we have here as well. We have samples and examples on the site, but if you wanted a selection to cover different learning styles and abilities then we also have a full pack that includes action verbs and adjective worksheets and activities. The task follows the same ideas as the activity above. how it reverses it. Students read the sentence and then have to spot the adjectives, verbs and nouns and circle, highlight or color them.
Another great way to teach adjectives, and as a by product teach antonyms, and even synonyms, is to introduce the concept of opposites. There are loads of way to teach these, from playing Simon says type games where the teacher says Simon says cold, and the students have to do the opposite action, to playing matching games as described above. We have an opposites set of cards on the site for free download as well if you need. These can be printed and cut out. Then simply give to a student of group of students to sort into their matching pairs. These can then also be reviewed as a whole class activity by asking students to give the answer as a sentence and then put the pictures on the board as they go.
This is a classic children’s party game that can be changed to suit a variety of teaching subjects. The game requires a little, very little, preparation and pre teaching before you can play it. However the idea is simple enough. All the students are onboard the adjective adventurer ship and have to obey the orders of the captain (you!) when the captain yells out a command all the shipmates have to follow the command by following the action.
Download the full Game pack here for free
Now instead of saying the a nautical command ( the original game has walk the plank, climb the rigging etc.) you can supplement adjectives into the mix. Be beautiful, its cold, hot, warm, cool, I see a big whale, a little fish, scary shark, pirate and many, MANY more. The last one to do the action has to sit out till the next round, or has to do a forfeit ( its a teaching exercise not the Olympics!!) Children love this game and as mentioned it can be used for many different topics. We have prepared some activities to get you started for free, if you want the full set and the other adjectives games and worksheets we have them as premium set. ( cheap of course)
This game is actually from Girl Guiding (I used to teach there a long time ago) and it was played outside so only consider this if you have a large space. One where tables, chairs and bags are unlikely to be tripped over. The game starts with the fours points of the compass. In our adjective version we can change these for adjectives.
The teacher then can chose a picture or a word and show it or shout it out. For these I use adjectives that are pretty much opposites. So if I have a picture of a fluffy kitten I would have the adjective cute, scary, big, small or similar up on the four points. Students then have to run ( why a large space is needed) to the adjective they think describes the picture the best. They can be changed from time to time as you add more pictures, and we have a selection of words and pictures in our card game on this page that can be printed and stuck up. As students progress or if you have higher ability students you can change these for synonyms or add points to the compass ( South West North East etc.) Needless to say its a great little activity if you have the space to try it.
This is a picture of a cute cat, not its a picture of a zany cat, no no its a picture of a grey cat. You get the idea, we created this from an idea we saw years old. It is great as a warm down activity after one of the more high paced activities on this page, and stretches the mental muscles after the physical muscles have had their work out! If you get an adjective for the letter X let us know!! We have a worksheet for this here.
This is great for listening and speaking exercises. If your school shreds documents, or papers for recycling then grab some bags before they go to their new home and put them in a big bin. Then..
We haven’t got round to making this yet, although you can pick it up off Amazon pretty cheaply. However this game is made for adjective practice. Students have two boards and through a process of elimination have to guess who the other person has on their board. They do this by asking questions like to they have brown hair, are they young, do they have blue eyes etc. Then as they reduce the number of options they will end up with one person. the aim is to be first. If you don’t have the budget, I know the feeling, then there are free printable versions here. They also have Dinosaurs, Sports and more. It is from the actual makers, presumes you have bought the game already, but can still be used with a little tape and teacher creativity!
Teaching adjectives is a lot of fun for both teachers and students. We feel it is important to try to use different methods to both teach and consolidate the information. Our resources aim to do that. We incorporate different tasks to appeal to as many learning styles as possible, and therefore make them not only fun, but effective as well.
Hope you enjoy teaching these as much as we do!
Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, I have taught English all over the world. I thought it was about time to start sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children. Feel free to take a look at our resources, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or jump on the Facebook group to ask questions. Happy learning, teaching or playing!