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Spark discussion about word classes

When revising grammar with our Grammarmations squad, we used cards with single words in games to recap word classes.

It’s worth remembering that whether a word is a noun, verb, or any other word class can depend on what is happening in the rest of the sentence. These games can be used to start a discussion about how words can be used differently: ‘play’ can be a verb, as in ‘I play football’, or ‘play’ can be noun, like in ‘Last night’s play was fantastic.’



Game 1: Word class sorting

Give a set of cards to each group, along with a set of headings of different word classes (there’s one on the second page of the card file). Then the groups have two minutes to sort as many cards as they can into word class categories.

After the two minutes, have some time where children can ask the class to help out with a word or words they were unsure about – can anyone else explain the word class?

As a follow-up, ask one person from each group to look at another group’s answers. Get them talking about whether they sorted any words into alternative categories. Can they explain how the words can be used differently in different sentences?


Game 2: Snap

Each group now shuffles and divides up the cards equally among themselves. One card is revealed at a time onto a game pile. If a pupil notices that a word can sometimes be in the same word class as the word on the card before it, they should shout ‘Snap!’ The first to correctly shout it wins the game pile; the person with the most cards at the end wins.

As often happens with these kinds of activities, sometimes the disputed moments can be the most useful for learning – can a child justify their cry of ‘Snap’ and convince their team? You could get the rest of the class to adjudicate difficult decisions.

If your class are super confident, you could try out other card games with the word cards – e.g. ‘go fish’.


Age range: Key stage 2-3
Time: 20-25 minute activity and discussion