Classroom word games for learning English vocabulary

Crossword Puzzles

classroom games tips and ideas

learning and teaching resources

Crossword puzzles are popular classroom games, useful for vocabulary teaching and revision. There are 36 topic-based crosswords to choose from. If your students enjoy this activity, you could expand it by playing related word games.

Fun, interactive, great tools for learning. Who doesn't like to play classroom games? Here are some ideas to inspire you. These activities can be used in any topic!

The suggested games focus on spelling, writing and vocabulary building. They require minimal preparation and can be used just to practise any vocabulary.

Below you will find descriptions of the following classroom games:

• draw and guess
• what's this
• guess and spell
• draw it
• across or down
• circle the words
• noughts and crosses

To browse all of our crossword puzzles with picture clues sorted alphabetically by topic, use this resource guide. Also, we offer a variety of online word games that go well with these printables.

ideas for extra classroom games

Below you will find some classroom games that go well with our crossword puzzles. Any game can be used in any vocabulary topic.

draw and guess

  • Divide students into two teams.
  • One kid from each team draws a picture on the board.
  • The first team to guess the word correctly scores a point.
  • If the words are easy to guess, you can make it harder by limiting the time to draw or to guess.

what's this

  • Start drawing a picture on the board.
  • After each line ask: What's this?
  • Pupils guess what it is.
  • The first student to guess correctly can draw the next picture.

guess and spell

  • Divide the class into two teams.
  • Show a picture to the first team, and ask one member for the word (one point) and for the spelling (another point).
  • If he/she cannot spell it, the other team can try for a bonus point.

draw it

  • Describe the picture of the word and ask your students to draw it.
  • This can also be organised as a team game, with a kid from each team coming up to the board to draw.

across or down

  • Students have copies of a crossword puzzles in front of them.
  • One kid chooses the longest word from the list and writes it vertically on the board in capital letters, from top to bottom.
  • The other kids come up one by one and add other words from the list, like in a crossword puzzle, across or down.

circle the words

  • Write your vocabulary words on the board. The words are not in any order but scattered all over.
  • Divide the class into two teams. Give a piece of chalk to a kid from each team.
  • Read the definition of a word. The first student to circle the correct word wins a point for his/her team.

noughts and crosses

  • Draw on the board a Noughts and Crosses grid with your vocabulary words (or pictures) in the boxes.
  • Divide the class into two teams. Team A plays with an X and Team B with an O.
  • Team A chooses a box and say the definition of the word.
  • If the answer is correct, rub out the word and write an X in the box. If the answer is wrong, and Team B can correct it with their first guess, you write an O in that box. Then Team B takes the turn, etc.
  • The winner is the team which first completes a line in any direction (vertically, horizontally or diagonally).