6 Adverb Games for Interactive Learning

Updated November 5, 2020
adverb games with students raising hands
    Students raising hands for adverb game
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    Used under Getty Images license

Would you like students to participate in your adverb lessons eagerly or reluctantly? Grammar games are a wonderful way to make your instruction more engaging. Help students learn the types and functions of adverbs with these six interactive adverb games for the classroom.

Adverb Acting

Adverbs can tell us how someone performs an action. That’s why an acting game is the perfect activity for an adverbs lesson! You need the following materials: index cards, strips of paper, a pencil, and two bags.

  1. After a lesson on adverbs, ask students to give you examples of adverbs.
  2. Write down these examples on twenty index cards, with one adverb on each card. Try to only write adverbs which the student will be able to act out, for example "angrily" or "quickly."
  3. Ask the students to come up with ten questions for activities (such as "playing soccer" or "eating dinner with the family") and write them on the strips of paper.
  4. After the questions are written down, fold up both the adjectives and the strips of paper, and put them into the two bags respectively.
  5. Have a volunteer choose a strip of paper and an adverb and act out the adverb with the strip of paper. (For example, if he or she chooses "quickly" and "brush teeth" then the student pretends to brush their teeth quickly.)

The point of the game is to guess what adverb the student is acting out. You can turn the activity into a team game for competitive fun, or give volunteers extra credit for the adverbs they act out.


No -ly Words Allowed

Another great game to play with students is the No -ly Words Allowed game. This activity is a good way to discuss adverbs that are not adverbs of manner, such as adverbs of frequency or time.

  1. Break the students up into groups and ask them to come up with a list of adverbs. However, they can't include adverbs with -ly at the end.
  2. Give each group five minutes.
  3. At the end of the timed period, see who has the most adverbs.
  4. The group with the most wins a prize!

If you are playing the game with only one student, use the same rules as above, and give him or her a prize when their list reaches twenty adverbs without -ly. You can make the game more challenging by prompting students to think of each type of adverb, or by only giving points to teams that have unique adverbs.


How Often?

Adverbs can also tell you how often a verb occurs. Reinforce this adverb function with a game that quizzes panel members about how often they perform certain actions.

  1. Have five volunteers come to the front of the class; they are the panel.
  2. Split the rest of the class into small groups.
  3. Assign one adverb of frequency to each group (often, rarely, again, always, sometimes, never, frequently, never, usually, daily, annually, weekly, hourly, etc.)
  4. Give the groups five minutes to think of a list of actions that they perform with that frequency. For example, the Daily group might choose “play soccer,” while the Annually group might say “celebrate my birthday.”
  5. Have the panel sit in front of the room. One by one, the teams read their actions.
  6. The panel members decide how often they do those activities.
  7. If their assessment matches the team’s adverb, the team gets a point. For example, if the panel all play soccer daily, the Daily team gets a point.

Hot Adverb

All you need for this game is one sentence on the board, a list of adverbs and a ball. It’s a great way to get the wiggles out and reinforce grammar at the same time.

  1. Place kids in a large circle, either on the floor or at their desks.
  2. Write a sentence with one adverb on the board (for example, “I dance slowly.”).
  3. Model the action in front of the class.
  4. Have the class pass the ball along the circle as music plays.
  5. Stop the music. Change the adverb in the sentence by choosing a new one from a list of adverbs (for example, “I dance happily.”).
  6. The student holding the ball performs the action in the middle of the circle. If they’re incorrect or don’t want to perform it, they’re out.
  7. Continue playing until you run out of adverbs or one student is left.

If you’d like, you can change the action after every few students or when you run out of appropriate adverbs. Ask students for help thinking of new sentences.


Adverb Storybuilding

If your students are creative and love to write stories, this is a great class activity. All they need is a little inspiration – and a lot of adverbs!

  1. Write “Once upon a time” on the board.
  2. Call on a student to finish the sentence.
  3. Keep calling on students to add sentences.
  4. Draw a blank line after every verb to leave room for an adverb. For example, “The knight loved the princess __________.”
  5. When the story is finished (either when all students have contributed or it’s long enough), number the blank spaces.
  6. Have students number their papers to match the spaces on the board. They can write in their own individual adverbs.
  7. Give students a chance to read their stories with their new adverbs. How much do a few adverbs change the story entirely? (For example, the knight might love the princess a little, very much or occasionally.

For younger learners or English as a second language learners, consider typing the story and printing it up. It might be easier for them to follow and offer additional reading practice as well.


Adverbs or Prepositions?

Telling the difference between adverbs of place and prepositions is tricky at first. But once elementary students practice their parts of speech in a fun grammar game, they’ll know how to use adverbs everywhere!

  1. Bring a few toys to class and put them in various locations.
  2. Clarify that prepositions describe where something is, while adverbs of place describe where something happens.
  3. Have student volunteers find the toys around the room and describe where they are. (for example, “The teddy bear is on the bookshelf.”).
  4. Write a few of the answers on the board.
  5. When they locate all of the toys, have the toys perform actions such as dancing, walking, hopping, etc.
  6. Ask students where the actions are happening (“The teddy bear is dancing on the bookshelf.”).
  7. Write a few of these answers on the board. Point out that prepositions like “on” show location, while “on” used as an adverb modifies the verbs.

You can make the game more complex by having teams hide the toys and describe each other’s locations. For an outdoor game, take a walk and compare objects being in a location versus actions being performed in a location.


Reviewing What an Adverb Is

An adverb is a part of speech that modifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause. Different adverbs answer questions such as how, when, where, how often, and how much. You can usually recognize the placement of an adverb in a sentence by the -ly ending on the particle of speech, but not always. Review the types of adverbs in a lesson on the parts of speech.

Adverbs Strengthen Writing

Adverbs are an effective way to make your writing clearer and more vivid. When used sparingly, they enhance the action in a sentence. Take a quick look at 100 adverbs that are sure to strengthen your writing. Or, if you’re ready for a challenge, check out these examples of adverb clauses that can make your writing style more varied.