5 Fun Activities for Teaching Verbs in the Primary Grades

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Looking for some activities for teaching verbs to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? 

Whether your students are just starting to learn about the parts of speech or are well on their way to being grammar gurus, these five activities will make learning about verbs a ton of fun!

Looking for some fun ways to teach verbs to your Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students? Whether your students are just starting to learn about the parts of speech or are well on their way to being grammar gurus, these five fun activities will help you teach verbs.

Activity #1: Play Simon Says with action words. 

Introduce the concept of verbs as action words with a game of “Simon Says!”

First, brainstorm a list of action words with your students to use for the game.

You can also use these ready-made word cards from my Kindergarten Grammar Alive curriculum – just cut them out and make a stack or stick them on a binder ring for easy access:

Use these verb cards in a Simon Says game for Kindergarten or first grade students! This activity helps bring grammar alive through active learning!

This activity works well as part of a mini-lesson about verbs, and you can also play again during transitions.

Activity #2: Have students look for verbs “in the wild.”

In order for grammar to be meaningful, students need to make connections between grammar concepts and actual text.

As a class, we practice identifying verbs in sentences (and acting out the sentences, too!):

Students can also search for verbs in the books they read:

Both of these activities come from my First Grade Grammar Alive program.

Activity #3: Build Verb Vocabulary with Games

Building students’ verb vocabulary is important – both for helping them learn verb shades of meaning (see Activity #4 for more on that) AND for helping them learn to use a variety of verbs in their writing.

One easy way to build their vocabulary is to play charades. You or a student acts out a verb, and the class guesses what verb they’re trying to show.

Here’s another verb vocabulary game, where students move around the board and have to name the depicted verbs that they land on:

Play this verb board game to have students in Kindergarten, first grade, or second grade practice their verb vocabulary!

Activity #4: Put Verbs in Order to Practice Shades of Meaning

To teach students how to choose just the right verb for their writing, work on verb shades of meaning!

First, model how to put the verbs “jog,” “run,” and “sprint” in order from slowest to fastest.

Then, divide students up into small groups. Give each group their own set of cards to put in order.

Use this small group activity to have students practice putting verbs in order. This is a great way to start discussing verb shades of meaning!

Once students have ordered the verbs, they can present their work to the class and get feedback.

Finally, you can glue the groups of verbs to chart paper. This creates an anchor chart that students can refer back to during writing time!

Activity #5: Play “Parts of Speech 4 Corners

Once your students have learned about verbs and other parts of speech, get them up and moving with a few rounds of 4 Corners! 

To play, label the corners of your classroom as:

Nouns

Verbs

Adjectives

“WILD CARD!”

Give each child a word card. The words on the cards should be a mix of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Several of them should say “WILD CARD.”

Play this game with your first or second grade students to practice nouns, verbs, and adjectives! This is an active, engaging activity for practicing parts of speech.

Students should read the word on their card and then go to the corresponding corner of the classroom.

You or a student leader should stand in the middle of the classroom, eyes closed. The leader calls out a corner (nouns, verbs, adjectives, or wild card) and all the students who were standing in that corner are out of the game and must sit down.

The remaining players trade cards and go to the corresponding corner. Again, the leader calls out “nouns,” “verbs,” “adjectives,” or “wild card,” and the game continues.

Keep playing until only one student is left – that student becomes the leader next!

All the materials to play this game are included in my First Grade Grammar Alive curriculum.

Need more ideas and materials for teaching grammar? 

I hope you got a few new ideas for teaching verbs!

For complete grammar lesson plans and many more grammar activities (including the ones featured in this blog post), check out my Grammar Alive programs for Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade:

Happy teaching!

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Alison

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Shan
3 months ago

Thank you Alison! These are such great ideas. I’m a first time home schooler. So these are very helpful. But I wonder how I can make the Game: Parts of the Speech corners work for us (with only 1 child).

Editor
Learning At The Primary Pond
3 months ago
Reply to  Shan

Hey, Shan, good question! Since it’s meant to be a classroom game, it obviously won’t directly translate to a one-on-one setting. However, you could simply have lots of cards for each part of speech and have your child sort them? You could also do something a little different like play 20 questions with different word cards and then have your child identify the word and part of speech?

Welcome!

I’m Alison, a literacy specialist and Director of Curriculum and Instruction at my school. I love getting kids excited about reading and writing – and sharing teaching ideas with other teachers!

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