Play is one of the best ways for younger children to learn. When they’re working their way through Key Stage 1 (KS1) they’re inundated with new experiences and information. Often the most fun activities are the ones that really stick with them. When a child is playing they have a sense of control over their own output, which can help them with developing important social and physical skills.
Making the classroom a fun and welcoming environment has real benefits for children, and at Key Stage 1 you’re really setting the foundation for a child’s approach to learning and their view of school. It’s an important stage of the national curriculum and one we’re happy to lend our expertise towards.
We’ve already curated the ultimate list of classroom games and, as experts in enabling education through our interactive displays and lesson delivery software, we’re going to run you through the best classroom games for KS1.
KS1 Games for English
Key stage 1 is a particularly important time for children’s English skills. They’ll be learning to read, write and talk at basic levels and making this as engaging as possible is important. A few of our favourite English language games for KS1 include:
Karate Cats – BBC Bitesize
BBC Bitesize is a wonderful resource packed full of information, lesson plans and games. Karate Cats is one of two English games aimed at KS1. Train your Karate Cats in the dojo by learning punctuation and smashing sentences together. It’s a fun game, perfect for preparing for the KS1 English SATs.
Roy the Zebra
You’ll find a whole host of literacy games alongside guided reading stories and accompanying worksheets. Why not try Uncle Tom’s Days of the Week that comes with games and lesson plans, or help Zara learn capital letters!
Balloon Phonics – Top Marks
Perfect for your interactive whiteboard, the Balloon Phonics game will throw up three letter words and help children learn how to pronounce them. It’s a fun way to help children early in their speech development.
KS1 Games for Maths
Maths at KS1 covers the very basics of numeracy. A child’s maths skills will start as basic as learning the numbers from 1-100 but by the end of year 2 they’ll be well onto addition, subtraction, prime numbers, fractions and some basic mental arithmetic. Here are a few fun games we loved for KS1 maths.
An all time classic game, Battleships can be used to help young children learn the basic numbers from 1 to 100. All you’ll need is a couple of hundred squares and some counters. Hide the number squares from the opponents, add the counters in 3, 4 and 5 counter rows then just get the students to take it in turns suggesting numbers where they think their opponent’s ‘ships’ could be. A correct answer clears a ship off the board!
Karate Cats Maths – BBC Bitesize
Those Karate Cats are back, and now they’re taking on maths. The whole game is designed to carry pupils through from the basics of addition and subtraction to fractions and measurements. Earn a high score, impress your coach and collect fun dress up outfits.
Hit the Button – Top Marks
Perfect for Children in Year 2 who are preparing for their sats, Hit the Button helps teach them their times tables. Load the game on an interactive whiteboard, tablet or laptop and your students will have to quickly solve multiplication and division problems against the clock. Multiplication skills can be a tricky concept to grasp, and turning it into a game could be just the ticket.
KS1 Games for Science
Science at KS1 is a long way off electrons, circuits and chemicals. Children at this age are being taught the main methods and processes that will help them in later years. These processes are applied to subjects like plants, animals, humans and objects in the world around them. They’ll be expected to observe, ask simple questions, gather data and perform simple tests. This makes it a perfect subject for educational games.
My Body Matching Activity – Twinkl
Twinkl has a wide range of teaching resources perfect for printing out as worksheets or using on your interactive whiteboard. The My Body activity lets you match up body parts to the right areas of the body with a simple drag and drop, helping them learn the basics of human anatomy.
Dinosaur Discovery – BBC Bitesize
Learn everything you ever needed to know about dinosaurs! Collect stickers, test your science skills and meet some of the most famous dinosaurs to have ever existed! Become a junior Palaeontologist with this fun game from the BBC.
Simple Science Experiments for KS1
Getting hands on is the goal here, helping your students learn through activities. There’s an experiment sheet for them to fill in as they go. Why not grow a cress caterpillar for a long term observation experiment, add senses to a diagram of the body or mix glitter with hand cream to help children understand handwashing? Every experiment is a learning experience, especially when you take time to reflect on how they did it, what they used and why they did it.
KS1 Games for History
KS1 History is all about helping children grow their knowledge and awareness of the past, whether that’s within living memory or a little beyond. The focus is on storytelling to help capture their imagination with a focus on significant events or notable people. This emphasis on storytelling lends itself well to games.
The Great Fire of London
One of the notable events taught at KS1 is the Great Fire of London. This game, put together by a number of London historical institutions, is perfect for helping children not only understand the history, but how we learned about it from the present. The interactive game is perfect for an interactive whiteboard.
Florence Nightingale – video and activities
There are a number of historical figures children learn about in KS1, and one of these is Florence Nightingale. This video, by Learn English Kids, is perfect for helping children understand her story, plus, there’s a related quiz and a series of activities you can print off.
History in a bag
Get your students to put together a bag of things that could help someone a hundred years from now understand them. What could show them who you are, where you live, who you live with or your hobbies & interests? This can help children understand the concept of historical evidence and what could stand the test of time.
KS1 Games for Geography
Geography for early learners will teach them the basics of the world around them, including the UK, their local area, the continents, the weather and geographical aspects like rivers and cities. Visual cues like maps and globes, videos and photos are perfect to add to history games.
Pirate Bunnies – BBC Bitesize
KS1 Geography helps children understand all about the oceans, continents and the wider world. Explore the whole thing with the Pirate Bunnies. Collect treasure, complete quests and challenge their knowledge to develop a child’s geographical understanding.
The Ballad of Lisa the Lemur
Learning through songs is always fun for children at this age. In the Ballad of Lisa the Lemur your students will learn all about the lemur, their environment and why it’s in danger. There’s an accompanying quiz and activity sheet, plus, they can simply learn the lyrics to the song!
Design your own country
This one is super simple! All you’ll need is a pencil and some paper. Get your students to design a country of their very own. Draw the outline, add some cities. What animals can you find there and what’s the currency? This is a fun activity that encourages students to practise their literacy skills too!
KS1 Games for Music
The early stages of music are mainly about experimentation and play. Children will be encouraged to use their voices, try basic instruments and generally experiment. There’s a whole range of games designed to help them play a new instrument or sing songs.
Teaching Melodies – BBC Bring the Noise
A call and response game where you pick a simple melody and sing it to them in different pitches. Be visual with your hands and make your pitch notably change. It’s a great way for children to understand melodies.
Huff Puff Click Click – Music Express
Aimed at children in Year 1, the Huff Puff Click Click activity comes from the curriculum resource, Music Express. Children are encouraged to sing along with the classic Three Little Pigs song, make their own hand signals and mime along to important aspects of the song. Then they can make their own noisemakers and use the right one at the right time!
Classics for Kids
The classics for kids site has a whole range of games aimed at learning the basics. Whether it’s learning musical terms, the names of notes or matching a simple rhythm. These games are perfect for an interactive classroom.
Why play classroom games?
Games are incredibly important for helping students of all stages of the national curriculum to learn, and at KS1 they’re even more important. Playing a great game helps pupils develop skills and improve their problem solving capabilities. An excellent educational KS1 game can:
- Improve student engagement – you’ll get all of your whole class involved in completing tasks and actively learning.
- Increase social interaction – there’s no better way to get your pupils talking and working together than through play.
- Reinforce the concepts you’re teaching – when you’ve been teaching new concepts, a game can help reinforce these and cement what they’ve learnt in a practical way.
Games are excellent for breaking up the monotony of the classroom and they can be what makes the difference between a child understanding a complex problem or being stuck on it for ages. Why not try a new challenge to help students improve their multiplication skills or sing a song that’ll reinforce a geographical concept? Games can vary from simple activity sheets to songs and interactive adventures. There are so many options to help them understand new topics.
Use games to improve your KS1 outcomes with Promethean
Whatever way you want to teach your students, keeping them involved in the process is important. When your students come to a classroom and feel like an active participant, it’s only going to help. Promethean creates world leading interactive whiteboards designed with the classroom in mind. Not only that, but we set the standard on educational software to help you get the most out of your smart technology.
Interested in learning more? Visit the virtual demo page to request a live demo of the Promethean ActivPanel interactive display.
If you have enjoyed this guide, why not check out some of our other expert interactive whiteboard resources