The ultimate list of classroom games

ultimate list of classroom games

Published: August 5th, 2021

Every student learns differently. For some, sitting and being dictated to by a teacher is just fine, but many respond more positively to gamification (using game design principles and elements to make lessons more interactive). Educational games can provide a wide range of benefits for children of all ages, whether they’re a younger child just learning to read or an older student struggling to get their head around a particularly complex maths problem.

Including games in your classroom leads to a more engaged learning environment and motivates children, all while helping to improve their reading, social skills, problem solving and overall information retention. Using an interactive display is a great way for teachers to bring gamification into the classroom and encourage play. We’ve also created educational software for interactive whiteboards that can help you implement games in your lessons.

As experts in the interactive classroom, we’ve put together the ultimate guide for educational and learning games across every subject area, from a variety of sources, like PBS games, BBC bitesize and more. Find real world activities, puzzle games or quizzes for kids.

Educational games to improve reading comprehension

Games are an excellent way to improve children’s reading comprehension. Letting a child take words and letters out of context and throwing them together away from the page can be incredibly useful. You’ll even find a number of interactive books and stories available online.

Sandbox Search – PBS Games

Dig for items in Abby’s sandbox and you’ll learn all kinds of new and exciting words, voiced by Sesame Street’s Abby. PBS also has a number of other reading comprehension games featuring other much loved characters. They’re all free too!

PBS reading games

Small Town Superheroes – BBC Bitesize

Small town superheroes are here to save the day, but they need your help! Embark on a mission perfect for KS1 English where you’ll need to tackle tricky spelling challenges, improve your grammar, writing and perfect your punctuation. All in the name of practice!

BBC Bitesize English games

Vocabulary Spelling City

You’ll find a whole array of word games on Vocabulary Spelling City and we couldn’t pick just one. There are games to help spelling, phonics, writing and language arts.

Rhyming games from Reading Rockets

Not every game needs to be online. Why not try a basic rhyming game? Ask your students to identify words in the same family, like all the words ending in ‘ack’ and devise a number of ways for them to work out the different words.

Other reading games from Reading Rockets.

Mathematics educational games

Maths can be a tough subject for students of all ages to get their heads around. An educational game could be the perfect way to help younger children learn simple arithmetic skills or older students to master equations.

Guardians: Defenders of Mathematica – BBC Bitesize

Get your KS2 maths class really engaged and help the Guardians defend the kingdom of Mathematica. Your quest involves a series of maths-related problems aimed at helping you defeat the golden dragon. There are new challenges added every week and your rewards are saved every time!

Twelve a Dozen

This app is available from the iTunes App Store and is designed to help children learn the basics of algebra. Join the hero ‘Twelve’ as they embark on a journey of discovery and learning.

Interactive maths games

Discover a range of interactive maths games perfect for your interactive whiteboard. From mathopoly through to mental maths games, these games have been designed with the classroom in mind.

Science-based educational games

For many, grasping the concepts of science can be difficult, especially if it’s reduced to theories on a page. Help a learner discover the wonders of science with these engaging classroom games, perfect for all stages of education and learning.

Sean’s Rescue Quest – PBS

Explore the depths of space and tackle science challenges along the way with Sean! An engaging space adventure from PBS aimed at younger children.

PBS science games

Interactive diagrams from the science museum

While these aren’t necessarily games, the science museum offers incredible interactive annotations of some of its famous scientific artifacts. Discover incredible diagrams for KS3+4 or slightly or a selection of classroom games for KS1.

Scrapyard Junkateer – BBC Bitesize

Help Jack, Sam and Jo tidy up the planet and develop your student’s scientific knowledge along the way. You’ll have to use creativity to tackle a series of challenges and fill up your scrapbook. This game is perfect for KS2.

Paper Cup Challenge

How can you possibly stand on a paper cup and stop it from being crushed underneath you? This is just one of a range of STEM games created by Science Sparks that are perfect for the classroom.

Coding games

There are numerous excellent coding games available online, designed to get children learning to code as early as possible. There are a few excellent examples from Education.com that can be used in the classroom.

Art games

Sometimes you just need that little extra creative spark when you’re trying to get arty and playing digital games or classroom activities can be the perfect way to inspire it. Play is one of the best ways to get your kids having fun and being their most creative.

Tate Games & Activities

The well respected art museum has so many wonderful games and activities for kids that we could pick just one. Whether you want to learn to draw a dancer or turn your interactive whiteboard into a wall for your kids to decorate with ‘street art’, they can help.

Symmetrical Drawing challenges

This one couldn’t be simpler! Just print out the worksheets and get your students to complete the drawing of the pig, using the existing half as a guide. You’ll find a number of ready-made art games and activities available for the classroom from education.com, many of which work perfectly with an interactive whiteboard.

History learning games

Turning history into a virtual world of vivid characters and exciting stories is one of the best ways to teach it. Really bringing it to life can help engage your students, making new concepts easier to understand.

Astonishing activities – BBC Bitesize

Another of the BBC’s excellent bitesize games. This one takes you back in time to learn all about the people who changed the world, including Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks and even Guy Fawkes.

Horrible Histories – Gruesome Game-A-Thon

The much-loved Horrible Histories books really bring history to life. The BBC has worked hard to create a series of games to make the series even more accessible and learning more interesting.

Timeline board game

Why not create your own board game to learn all about history? This classroom game comes ready made, but could inspire you to make your own inthe classroom too.

Geography learning games

Learning about the world around you is important. Whether you’re learning things as simple as the names of the countries, a local culture or something more complex like the flow of a river, gamification can be a real help.

Where is Carmen Sandiego? – Google Earth

Google Earth has put together a fun game that puts your location knowledge to the test. They’ve created a whole series of games that take you all around the world. Solve the clues and track down the burglars!

Map your ‘place’

Getting your students to draw out a map of their ‘local’ place. This can help students learn about maps, scales, their local area and more. This is one of many activities put together by the Geographical Association.

Use games to improve results in your classroom with Promethean

If you’ve flicked through our list of classroom games but still aren’t sure about gamification, we understand. Some teachers might bristle at the idea of adding more screen-based games to the lives of children, arguing that kids today already spend too much time with their PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, or iPad. But the movement towards gamification in education has been steadily gathering steam for years, and both research and anecdotal evidence support the idea that games in the classroom can be an effective way to improve student learning and achievement.

Adding games to the educational experience is one of the most obvious ways to do that. Students love games. They enjoy the process of playing them, they like competition, and they revel in winning. Currently, screen-based games are particularly popular with students, so it would make sense for teachers to utilise technology to bring games into the classroom.

A couple of other ways gamification can improve the learning experience include: 

Interactive whiteboard games promote learning

As interactive whiteboards and panels (like Promethean’s ActivPanel) become ubiquitous in classrooms throughout the world, interactive whiteboard games are being used more and more to get students to engage with all sorts of subject material and curricula. Teachers have access to a wide variety of options, including 3-D shapes interactive whiteboard games, alphabetical order interactive whiteboard games, and interactive whiteboard phonics games, to name just a few.

Promethean’s ActivPanel includes free teaching software that offers a plethora of gamification ideas for teachers. For example, teachers can access premade templates to utilize matching, flash card, crossword, and memory games. The spinner is a way to gamify the process of calling on students to come to the board, present their work, or answer a question. The timer is also a handy way to add excitement to the classroom experience, simply by asking students to answer before time is up or by having groups of students race to see who can come up with a solution to a problem first.

Teachers and students can discover a whole host of interactive whiteboard games and resources online, like those we’ve mentioned above. If you’re after further inspiration though, why not consider how Sudoku can help teach number recognition and logic; Hangman allows kids to practice spelling and Ruzzle is a good way to expand vocabulary.

If you’re still after more classroom games for your interactive whiteboard, we’ve got even more resources available.

Explore new ways to implement games in education

Keep in mind, there is no one right way to gamify a classroom. Some teachers like to set up a reward system wherein individual students or groups of students earn points or badges when a game is won, or a task is completed. However, some experts caution that students might become too motivated by rewards and less interested in the actual process of learning. They say that kids need to have intrinsic motivation, which is when they enjoy learning for the sake of learning, rather than extrinsic motivation, which is based on rewards. One way to avoid this is to utilize rewards that are related to the learning process, such as taking students on an educational field trip rather than hosting a pizza party.

Another option is to set up a point or reward system that mimics the progressive levels that are so popular with digital games. For example, teachers can track their students’ earned points over multiple classes and a longer period of time, allowing them to reach critical milestones and level up as they go. Once they reach a new level, they could receive a specific badge or get some type of reward.

The important thing to remember is that games should not be seen as a frivolous addition to a lesson plan but rather as an integral part of the learning process. When fun, engaging, challenging games are used in the classroom, whether through the use of an interactive whiteboard, individual handheld devices, or laptop computers, they can have a significant effect on students’ level of engagement and help increase their ability to grasp new concepts and achieve academically.

Use games to improve results in your classroom 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 improve their engagement with the subject and, ultimately, increase their grades. 

Promethean creates world leading interactive whiteboards designed with the classroom in mind. Not only that, but we set the standard on educational software for interactive whiteboards 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.

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