Writing Games

Fun Writing games to engage students

A colleague of mine recently shared these 10 great writing games ideas to improve literacy skills in the classroom.  They are simple to play and can be applied to nearly all year levels. 

These games will require minimal or no setup time and are a great option for substitute teachers looking to quickly break the ice with students or an English teacher just seeking some fresh ideas to brighten up their lessons. Enjoy.

Remember that if you are looking for more great free resources and structured guides to teaching all aspects of English, especially writing be sure to visit literacyideas.com

Sentence Stretching

Start with a short sentence or group of words.  Pass it around to about 6 people, with the rule that each person must add (a word or a group of words) or change ONE word ( to another word or a group of words) to make the sentence more specific and more interesting.

Rebus writing

Students write sentences or longer texts and substitute drawings for nouns.

It’s in the bag

Place an object in a bag- make sure the students don’t see it. Students feel the object in the bag and use words to describe how it feels. They take it out and add /alter their adjectives.

Touch and tell

An object is passed around a group of students. Each student suggests an adjective to describe it.


Students provide an adjectival phrase or clause to describe the object

Verb Draw

Students randomly select from a box a picture of an animal, person or objects that move. They brainstorm action verbs for the chosen object.


The students can supply verbs and adverbs

They can supply adjectives or adjectival groups

Hot Seat

Read a text ( this case narrative) and at a particular point stop and ask students to select a character and suggest, for example:

  • What the character is doing, thinking, feeling ( focus on processes)

Change the meaning- change one word

Students locate and change one word that will alter the meaning of the sentence.

They share their alterations and discuss which part of speech was the most important in changing the meaning.

Locate and classify

Read a text and ask students to write nouns on cards ( red), adjectives (blue), and articles on orange. Rearrange words to create different noun groups. Students can also locate verbs ( green card) and adverbs (yellow). Rearrange all the words to create new sentences.


Students can locate adjectival phrases or clauses or adverbial phrases and write these on other coloured cards.

Grammar toss- Sentence making

Players must throw a 1 before they can begin. The winner is the first person to make a sentence that includes all of the following:

  1. A group of words that tell what or who ( singular)
  2. A group of words that tell when
  3. A verb in the past tense
  4. An adverb telling how
  5. A group of words telling where

They can then rearrange the sentence parts to see how many ways they can make another meaningful sentence. 


Other parts of speech can be used for each number thrown.

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Toss and write

Prior to the activity, a cube is prepared. Upon each face of the cube is written a task that requires specific grammar knowledge. For example:

Make a sentence

Make a question

Provide two adjectives

Provide two verbs

Create a noun group ( eg article, adjective/s noun)

Provide a noun and an adverb

Students select a subject ( noun) from a tin. They throw the cube and whichever side of the cube faces up is the task they must attempt.


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The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and university English lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book the Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.