5 Fun Activities for Teaching Verbs in the Primary Grades
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!
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.”
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: