Games to develop vocabulary and gross motor skills

In today’s article we want to offer you a series of practical ideas to apply in the classroom in the area of language. The activities are recommended for children between 2 and 6 years old, approximately, and are focused on work and vocabulary development through a series of strategies developed in an entertaining and fun way.

This way of working will allow children to be more involved in learning vocabulary and language and will also favor, at the same time, the development of their gross motor skills.




Each exercise lasts about 20 minutes and teachers will be able to use only one exercise per day or more. It is advisable that the exercises be carried out in a large room or in the open air that facilitates movement and dispersion through the space in a comfortable way.



Fun exercises to practice vocabulary


EXERCISE 1: Word List

To carry out this game, the following steps must be followed:

  • Students stand in a circle with the teacher in the center.
  • The teacher says a word in lowercase. A student steps forward and says the word using a wave or hand signal to convey the meaning of the word . Then he returns to his place in the circle. To recreate the word in its lowercase version, the student can say the word aloud and quietly and then crouch down to denote the “lowercase.” The student can also say the word and then indicate lowercase by bringing the index finger and thumb together, trying to express “small”.
  • The student on the left repeats the word and the movement.
  • All the other students in the circle follow a rapid succession of movements and actions until the turn goes back to the first player.
  • The activity continues until all students have an opportunity to be the leader and to assign a wave or hand signal to a vocabulary word.
  • The student will be limited only by his imagination. The vocabulary difficulty will depend on the age and grade of the students.



EXERCISE 2: Lists of Antonyms

To carry out this game, the following steps must be followed:

  • The students form a circle. The students come together for this activity and the teacher remains in the center of the circle again.
  • The teacher says a couple of antonyms, which can be said at a very slow or very fast pace to make it more fun.
  • A random student steps forward slowly and chooses a movement to convey the meaning of the word . The student can use his body and voice to indicate slow or fast (as chosen).
  • Your partner on the left or right will step forward and do the same process with the second antonym, choosing a new move assigned to the word in question.
  • Then both students return to the circle.
  • The next pair of students moves on and repeats the new antonyms and assigned moves. This is how the wheel continues until all the students have participated.
  • In the next round, instead of the teacher, a leader can be appointed each turn to say the antonyms to represent.





EXERCISE 3: Cards with homonymous words

To carry out this game, the following steps must be followed:

  • The students form a circle.
  • The teacher says a word while showing the spelling of it on a piece of paper, a blackboard or card. For example, you could say the word “llama” and hold up a card with the word spelled out for students to see . The teacher should turn to allow all students to see the spelling correctly.
  • A student steps forward, says the word flame, and makes a motion to indicate what he wants to say. As it is a homonymous word, many children will represent the animal (“llama”) and others will do the act of knocking on a door or a bell.
  • All the other students take turns doing the same thing until the whole circle has made their move for the word “flame”.
  • Again another child listens to the teacher’s word and starts the round.
  • The teacher can also add more autonomy to the exercise by giving the cards to some of the students.
  • The group can also be divided into two teams: those who must show the cards after choosing the words, and those who must represent them.
  • The activity continues until all the children have a chance to choose words and make representational movements . Playing with homonymous words allows to develop much more ingenuity and logic and gives much more fun results when playing and doing the representations in the circle.


These activities are just one example of everything that can be done in order to find more original activities to work on aspects of the curriculum as important as vocabulary development. If we add fun activities that can be done outdoors to these exercises, we will have found that perfect tandem that allows children to get involved effortlessly and develop many more important skills in the process.



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