Grammar Activities for Elementary Students

Teacher instructing kids working on grammar

When working on grammar activities, elementary kids learn writing skills and have fun, too. Although grammar worksheets are a great way to teach the fundamentals, they can get boring for students and teachers. Incorporating some educational activities will break up the monotony and reinforce grammar rules.

Lower Elementary Grammar Activities

Keep younger kids interested in grammar lessons by planning activities that are age and developmentally appropriate. Youngsters who are just learning the basics of grammar for kids will not be able to do the same type of activities as older kids.

Students in first and second grade have a much shorter attention span then students in fifth or sixth grade. Utilize this difference by planning grammar activities that allow the kids to get up and move.

Verb Charades

Learning the difference between verbs and nouns is usually one of the first things kids learn about grammar. Prior to the activity, write down ten nouns that can be found in the classroom (chalk, window, pencil) and ten verbs (jump, wave, smile) on slips of paper. Mix them up in a bucket or hat.Have children sit at their desks. Review the difference between nouns and verbs. Explain that when they hear a verb, they need to do the activity. When they hear a noun, they need to find that object in the classroom. This can be an individual activity, with the teacher calling on students one at a time, or a group activity, with everyone participating at the same time.

Touch and Feel Adjectives

To do a touch and feel activity, gather approximately five to ten shoeboxes. Put an object with a certain texture, such as sandpaper, faux fur and tree bark, into each shoebox. Tape the lid on. Cut a small hole in the lid. Cover the boxes with newspaper or wrapping paper, making a small flap over the hole.Set the boxes up around the classroom. Talk about how adjectives describe nouns. Have students visit each box, writing down two or three adjectives to describe what they feel inside the box. After everyone returns to his or her seat, ask the kids to share their adjectives, and then allow them to guess what was inside the box based upon their adjectives.

Sentence Diagrams

Diagramming sentences helps students learn about subjects, predicates, pronouns, direct and indirect objects and more. Instead of having students diagram sentences individually at their desks, ask them to participate in a group diagram. Write three or four sentences on the chalkboard in plain white chalk. Divide students into groups, giving each group a different colored piece of chalk. Assign each group a particular part of the sentence. They must decide as a group the correct part of the sentence to underline, then go to the chalkboard, underline it and then explain to the class their reasoning.

Older Group Grammar Activities: Elementary

Although upper elementary students may seem too old for some grammar activities, elementary students of all ages enjoy a break from tedious pencil and paper work. Older elementary kids are often computer literate, making interactive grammar games on the Internet a favorite choice for both teachers and students.

While the Internet can be a great kids' learning tool, other grammar activities foster skills like leadership and cooperation. Use group activities to reinforce social and English skills in upper elementary students.

Daily Oral Language

Daily Oral Language, or DOL, is a grammar activity that often begins in first or second grade and can even continue into high school. The basic premise of DOL is to have students fix grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes in incorrectly written sentences or paragraphs. As students get older, the mistakes become more complex. Make DOL a group activity by writing the sentence(s) on an overheard transparency or the chalkboard. Ask a different student to lead the class each day in fixing the mistakes. S/he gets to call on other students to point out a correction and then help the student explain the reason why it is wrong and how to correct it. Not only does DOL review grammatical concepts, it also saves paper and gives kids leadership opportunities.

Mad Grammar

The popular game Mad Libs provides a lot of laughs on long car trips and in the classroom. Give it a twist to make it more interesting and educational for students. Instead of having students fill in an incomplete story with the proper word forms, give them a short creative writing assignment on the same topic, approximately 300 to 400 words. When they finish the writing assignment, have them go back and replace the nouns, adverbs, verbs, adjectives, objects and more with a blank line and the type of word needed, numbering the blanks. Pair the students up and have the partners give a new word for each blank. At the end of the activity, let students read their new stories aloud.

Grammar Rocks

Get students' toes tapping by incorporating some music into a language arts lesson in grammar. Show students some of the Schoolhouse Rock grammar clips or listen to the songs online. Divide the students up into groups, assigning each one a part of grammar (homonyms, prepositional phrases, compound sentences, conjunctions, etc). Let them work together for a week to come up with a song to one of their favorite tunes that describes the part of grammar they were assigned. At the end of the week, have students present their grammar songs to the class, complete with costumes and dance moves.

The importance of writing in elementary school continues to be at the forefront of teachers' minds, as English and language arts skills are necessary to function in middle school, high school, college and the workplace. Practicing good grammar is a part of this fundamental skill; teachers make it fun by incorporating grammar activities into their elementary classrooms.

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Grammar Activities for Elementary Students