The perfect guide to effectively engaging your students at the start of a lesson!
Games are a fun way to kick off a lesson and whether you're new to the teaching industry or have been in the game for some time now, you'll know how important it is to have your students' attention from the word "Go"!
Below you'll find our guide to games that'll transform your Zoom classes from dull and boring to fun and engaging in no time!
Let's kick this off with a simple game - Hangman! How it works: One player thinks of a word and indicates how many letters it is made up of whilst the other player or players guess the letters to try and build the word. Each wrong guess brings the players one step closer to losing by drawing out one part of the hanging man each time a wrong letter is guessed. Play it online or face-to-face with its board game version!
Learn more: hangmanwords.com
2. Zoomed in Picture Guessing Game
Get your class guessing by asking them to record their guesses as to what the zoomed-in photos are of. Once all photos have been displayed and guesses recorded, ask your students to share their answers. The student with the most correct guesses wins!
Learn more: youtube.com
3. The A-Z Game
In this fun alphabet game, students are given a topic and must race to come up with as many words as possible, 1 for each letter of the alphabet if possible, that relate directly to the given topic. E.g. The topic of fruit- A: Apple B: Banana C: Cherry D: Dragon fruit etc.
Learn more: eslgames.com
4. Compound Word Quiz
Keep your learners engaged during Grammar classes as you guide them through learning about compound words and phrases in a unique game-related manner. As a further challenge to this fun word game, ask your students to come up with their very own compound word to share with the class.
Learn more: turtlediary.com
5. I Spy
This simple game is great because it incorporates good vocabulary and observation skill practice. The students take turns and say I spy something that... and then either the say the first letter of a random item or the color of the item. The other students then guess what it is and the first person to correctly guess the item wins and gets to have a turn. Find a fun online version linked below!
Learn more: teacherspayteachers.com
Challenge your class with Kahoot- a fun multiple-choice quiz game! Based on specifications provided by the teacher, this computer-based learning game can be graded to suit specific levels and topics.
Learn more: kahoot.com
7. Logo Quiz
This is a trivia game based on various company logos. Play this game with older students when taking fun breaks in class. Students could even be encouraged to use their mobile devices to search for logos that they are unfamiliar with.
Learn more: republicworld.com
8. Guess the Sound
This is a game your students are sure to love! It gets the class in the mood for learning and helps to better their listening skills. Ask your students to listen to the sound you play, record their answer as to what it is and then share the answers with the class at the end of the tape.
Learn more: learnhip.com
9. What's the Question
Write down answers to some questions on the board on screen and get the students to guess what the question is. This is a fantastic game for a lesson that deals with question forms. It can be adapted to suit any topic and age group.
Learn more: thatafterschoollife.com
10. Whose Weekend
This is a great game for a Monday morning! In this game, students write down what they did on the weekend and send the message, in a private chat, to the teacher. The teacher then reads the messages out one by one and the class guesses who did what on the weekend.
Learn more: games4esl.com
11. Rock Paper Scissors
Rock, Paper, Scissors is another familiar game, but it can be easily adapted to suit the current ZOOM classes being hosted. Play online by pairing off your students or use an online version that we've linked below for your convenience.
Learn more: rpsgame.org
12. Finish the Story
This is an awesome game for helping to stretch your learners' imaginations. The teacher can start a story by putting a sentence up on the screen using the whiteboard feature. They would then call on a student to finish off the sentence. Students must finish the sentence and start their own for the next player to continue.
Learn more: imagineforest.com
Play this fun classic game with pairs of students. Students compete to create a vertical, diagonal, or horizontal row of their assigned symbol. The winner keeps their positions and gets to play against the new opponent. Try it for free online or face-to-face with this beautiful wooden tic-tac-toe board game.
Learn more: playtictactoe.org
14. Odd One Out
This fun game can be used to single out words that don’t belong in a certain category eg. banana, apple, hat, peach- The odd one out is "hat" as the category is fruit and "hat" forms part of clothing. This adaptable game is sure to get your class forming different opinions as to why something doesn’t belong and is classified as the odd one out.
Learn more: englishhints.com
Pictionary can be played as a whole-class activity or group activity. One student or a student from each team draws the given object on the screen whilst the others all guess what they are drawing. The first student to guess correctly gets an opportunity to draw next. Students can even play Pictionary online using a drawing site- what a fun activity!
Learn more: drawasaurus.org
16. At-Home Scavenger Hunt
Assign the students a list of things they need to find and give them an allocated amount of time to find the objects. After returning to their seats at the end of the time, ask the students to share their findings with the class. This ZOOM scavenger hunt is the perfect game for young learners who benefit greatly from fun, movement-based learning.
Learn more: teambuilding.com
Charades is played by acting something out, without using words, and having the students guess what you are or what you are acting out. It is the perfect game to review vocabulary or concepts learned in the previous lesson.
Learn more: grammar.yourdictionary.com
18. Simon Says
This is another wonderful game to check that your students are awake and listening- it can also be incorporated into the study stage of a class to test understanding of body parts, for instance, if a lesson had dealt with this. It also doesn’t need to be directly linked to the content of the lesson, and can just be a fun way to wake up your class by saying “Simon says shake your hands in the air” and “Simon says jump up and down” for example. The class would follow the instructions shouted by "Simon" who is the teacher.
Learn more: playtivities.com
19. Sharks and Fish
Students are paired off with one being a shark and the other a fish. The fish should follow the shark around and imitate their actions. This is a great game when wanting to give your learners a brain break and a chance to have some fun in class.
Learn more: teachingideas.co.uk
20. Freeze Dance
For this fun and silly activity, play a song and encourage your learners to dance when they hear music and freeze when it pauses. Students who fail to remain frozen whilst the music is paused are disqualified from the round. Have fun and encourage your learners to see who can come up with the most creative dance move!
Learn more: youtube.com
21. The Name Game
This is a fabulous quiz game to test your learners' understanding of concepts at the end of class. Put a name upon the digital whiteboard and ask your students for 3 more names that pertain to what had been studied that day.
Learn more: twinkl.co.za/blog
This Jeopardy-creator is perfect for designing different subject-related trivia questions. Ask your students to fill in the blanks, answer questions, unscramble sentences and decipher if statements as true or false. Here is a card game alternative for this game.
Learn more: jeopardylabs.com
23. Where in The World
Geo Guesser is an online game meant for older learners and allows students to revise concepts related to various places around the world. Students must choose between a real answer and a fake answer when making their selection.
Learn more: geoguessr.com
Boggle is a classic word game that can be used to enhance a student's virtual learning experience. Play boggle by creating words using adjacent letters. The longer the word, the higher a students' points.
25. Top 5
Top 5 resembles the popular game of Family Feud and is perfect for any online classroom. The teacher presents a category. The class is then allocated a certain amount of time to think of 5 of the most popular answers that relate to the category. The teacher then reads out the 5 most popular options and the students who picked those answers will receive points.
Learn more: boredteachers.com
26. Mad Libs
Mad Libs is a classic word game that requires each student to give a part of a speech according to the prompt left in a blank space in a story. The teacher can write the words down and read the story out at the end! Try one of your very own to see how hilarious some of the stories can be!
Learn more: madlibs.com
27. Would you Rather (Kid version)
Present two choices to your students and ask them to state which they'd rather do and why. This type of game allows learners to develop their critical thinking and argumentative skills. Consider working on quick games such as these into your weekly plan book so as to incorporate them into future lessons.
Learn more: marathonkids.org
28. Two Truths and a Lie
This is a great game and team-building activity for new groups. It entails each student telling two truths and one lie about themselves and allowing the class to guess which of the three statements is untrue.
Learn more: blog.prepscholar.com
29. Word-Association Games
Start with a word and have each student say what they associate with that word eg: sunny, beach, ice-cream, holiday, hotel, etc. This is a fantastic game to use at the start of a lesson when introducing new concepts. It can also be used to ascertain how much pre-existent knowledge your student has of the subject matter and how much study will be required later in the lesson. Try it out free online or get a word association card game.
Learn more: wordassociation.org
30. Heads or Tails
Ask your students to stand up and choose heads or tails. If they choose heads, and the coin is flipped and lands on heads, the students who chose heads remain standing. The students who chose tails are disqualified. Continue to flip the coin until one student remains.
Learn more: justflipacoin.com
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Zoom Free?
Zoom offers free limited plans which are very basic. They allow for free 2hr 1-1 meetings. Video communications between many people for a certain amount of hours do require the user to have a paid-for account.
How do you Make a Virtual Meeting Fun?
Ensure that you spend time breaking the ice with people you are newly meeting. This allows people to feel comfortable when attending meetings with unfamiliar people and possibly using a new platform. Another strategy to get people talking is by facilitating interesting discussions and asking questions. Lastly, don't forget to play games which help to add an element of fun!
What Games Can you Play on Zoom?
Just about any game can be adapted to fit a Zoom-based classroom. Games such as Pictionary and Charades, which require student interaction, work well and can easily be used to enhance a lesson.