Happy and content. Easy and simple. These are examples of synonyms—words that have the same or very similar meaning. Teaching students about these types of words is an important part of effective vocabulary instruction. Also, coming up with new ways to say the same thing makes language more interesting and writing more lively and appealing. We’ve rounded up some fun (or should we say enjoyable?) ideas to spice up your repertoire of synonym activities.
1. Synonym word wall
Word walls with a twist! For older students, use precious classroom wall space to boost vocabulary knowledge and support strong writing skills. This effective activity on synonyms is simple to implement and can be easily modified based on your students’ needs.
Learn more: Word Wall Ideas for Upper Elementary at Teaching Made Practical
2. LEGO block matching game
LEGO bricks can make anything fun! This word-building game reinforces new vocabulary and is a great way to introduce synonyms.
Learn more: Hands-on Synonym Blocks Matching Game at Raising Little Superheroes
There are many great books on synonyms for any age. Silly stories filled with wordplay and imagination will captivate your students while teaching them all sorts of new words to add to their growing vocabularies.
Learn more: Books for Teaching Antonyms and Synonyms at The Best Children’s Books
You can find just about any reading activity for your classroom at the Florida Center for Reading Research, and we love this game for synonym practice. Connect the dominoes by finding the matching synonym until each domino is strung together in a chain.
Learn more: Synonym Dominoes at Florida Center for Reading Research
5. Create word webs
For older students, using word webs can be very effective for increasing vocabulary and brainstorming interesting words to incorporate into their writing.
Learn more: Using Word Webs To Teach Synonyms for Commonly Used Words at Read, Write, Think
6. Interactive notebook
Flip to reveal the new word! Perfect for vocabulary practice and independent work, the notebook is a great teaching tool for activities on synonyms and antonyms.
Learn more: Synonym and Antonym Interactive Notebook at The Sprinkle Topped Teacher
7. Matching anchor chart and notebook
Another great anchor chart idea with matching interactive notebooks students can use to practice independently. Use color-coded words to distinguish between synonyms and antonyms.
Learn more: Synonyms & Antonyms Anchor Chart at Crafting Connections
8. Synonym wheels
A simple, colorful way to tackle synonyms. Start at the top or bottom of the paint strip and see if you can fill up the rest with similar words. These displays will definitely brighten up your classroom! Plus, check out some other fun ways to use paint strips in your instruction.
Learn more: Putting Pinterest to Use: Synonym Wheels at Small World at Home
9. Watch a fun video
Videos make a perfect addition to your list of activities on synonyms. Take a little brain break and watch a fun video to reinforce the definition.
10. Name that synonym
Students can practice filling in the blanks with more than one word. Quick and easy synonym practice at your fingertips!
Learn more: Vocabulary Building With Synonyms and Antonyms at Glitter in Third
11. Online matching game
This quick transitional activity is great for when you have a couple of extra minutes to spare. Play a synonym game using your computer in a small group or display it on a smartboard for your class.
Learn more: Matching Synonyms Game at English Club
12. Use word work graphic organizers
We love how this graphic organizer helps students see the big picture as they learn new vocabulary words. Coming up with synonyms and antonyms is a great way for students to grasp the definition of a less familiar word.
Learn more: Vocabulary Graphic Organizer for Grades 3-5 at This Reading Mama
13. Synonym posters
Encourage students to come up with new words in their writing with these handy synonym posters.
Learn more: Shades of Meaning and Strong Word Choice at Simply Creative Teaching
14. Battleship game
This synonym version of the popular game might even be more fun than the original! You can use this template to play all sorts of vocabulary games, and students will never get tired of it.
Learn more: Battleship! at My Teacher Friend
Including pictures to match words is a great choice for activities on synonyms and supporting vocabulary development. These accessible puzzles are easy to prep and are loads of fun.
Learn more: Synonym Puzzles at 123 Homeschool 4 Me
16. Halloween game
Get festive by playing a Halloween-themed synonym board game. Anything candy-related is always a hit!
Learn more: Make October Engaging! At Hillary’s Teaching Adventures
17. “I have, who has …” game
Each student gets a card and has to listen for when their word is the answer to one of the cards. Fun synonym review for the whole class!
Learn more: Synonym I Have, Who Has Games at The Curriculum Corner
18. Penguin match
Simple words and appealing graphics make this one of our favorite activities on synonyms for beginners. Customize this memory or matching game for your students’ needs.
Learn more: New Winter Product/Penguin Synonym Match at Simply Special Ed
19. Synonym slices
Another fun matching game that will get everyone excited—and hungry! Play “memory” with these synonym cards, because who doesn’t love a slice of pizza?
Learn more: Synonym Slices at Classroom Freebies Too
20. Contrast with antonyms
To fully understand synonyms, it’s important to learn about antonyms, which are words that mean the opposite of each other. We love how engaging this game is for comparing and contrasting these types of words, but “Don’t Wake the Monster!” What more could you ask for from activities on synonyms?
Learn more: Synonym or Antonym? at Primary Punch
21. 60-second brainstorm
Race against the clock to see how many synonyms and antonyms you can come up with. Set a timer for 60 seconds for each word game and then tally up the totals.
Learn more: Synonyms and Antonyms Game at Learn in Color
22. Explore degrees of meaning
Even though synonyms have very similar meanings, it’s important to understand the distinctions between them. Explore degrees of common synonyms with this vocabulary-enhancing activity.
Learn more: 5 Fun Vocabulary Ideas for Synonyms and Antonyms Your Kids Will Love at Comprehension Connection
23. Word sort
Sort words by their synonym and antonym and then record the answers on a worksheet for extra practice.
Learn more: Synonym-Antonym Connections at Florida Center for Reading Research
24. Candy corn matching
This Halloween-themed resource can be used for many varieties of matching synonym games. Just cut, match, and assemble these colorful treats.
Learn more: Candy Corn Synonyms at Speech Bee Blog
25. Anchor charts
Activities on synonyms have never been so delicious! Get creative with how you display these words and make them especially memorable for kids.
Learn more: Free Spring Color by Synonyms at Organized Classroom
26. Ice cream cone synonyms
Another tasty way to spice up vocabulary knowledge! Brainstorm and expand word choice with these ice cream cone templates.
Learn more: Ice Cream Cone Synonyms at Kaylee’s Education Studio
27. High-flying words
See students’ vocabulary knowledge soar with this cool kite activity. Kids can write an unfamiliar word at the center and find the definition, synonyms, and antonyms, and write a sentence. Display them around the class for some high-flying fun.
Learn more: High-Flying Words/Teaching Word Knowledge at The Owl Teacher
28. Could that BEE a synonym or antonym?
Print these connected hexagons onto magnet paper, cut, and build away. See what kind of honeycomb shapes you can make with all sorts of words while noticing the similarities and differences between them.
Learn more: Could that BEE a synonym or antonym? at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
29. Synonym search with whiteboards
If you’re looking for an activity for older grades, check out how to use whiteboards to brainstorm new words. Each student writes down a synonym and then passes the whiteboard to the next person, who then adds another one to the list. It’s also a great discussion starter for words that don’t necessarily fit.
Learn more: Synonym Search at Hojo’s Teaching Adventures
30. Color in the synonyms
This version of color by number is for vocabulary! Fill in the corresponding synonyms with the right color and see the worksheets transform into a beautiful picture.
Learn more: Free Spring Color by Synonyms at Organized Classroom