Teaching kids about capitalization is a lot more fun for both students and teachers when you use games and activities in lessons. Explore original capitalization games and fun capitalization activities to find those that are best for the age group you’re working with.
I Spy is a great game for kids in lower elementary grades who are just learning what capital letters are.
Ensure there are words and items all around the room that would be capitalized if they were written. For kids in first or second grade, it’s best to have actual capitalized words visible. For older kids, you can simply have items, such as a picture of The White House or a map of China.
You can play this game in a classroom, at home or even on a walk.
- Choose one player to start. This person should choose one item or word that everyone can see that would be capitalized if written. For example, they might choose their brother John. John would always be capitalized.
- The player says “I spy with my capital eye something that starts with a capital J.”
- All other players can shout out guesses.
- The person who guesses the correct answer gets a point and is the next to spy something.
- If no one guesses the answer, the person who spied gets a point.
- The player with the most points when you end the game is the winner.
Upper elementary students in grades three and four will love this interactive classroom capitalization game. It’s great for groups of any size and covers recognizing words that should be capitalized without looking at the words.
Prepare at least 15 sentences that are full of proper adjectives, proper nouns and other capitalized parts of speech. You can write them all on one sheet of paper or on separate index cards.
Players should start from a seated position, either at desks, on chairs or on the floor.
- Read a sentence to the group.
- Repeat the sentence aloud slowly, and have the students stand up the first time they hear a word that should be capitalized.
- Each time they hear another word that should be capitalized, students should sit down or stand up (whichever is the opposite of their last action).
- If the group has any discrepancies about whether they should be sitting or standing up by the end of the sentence, have a discussion to point out all the capitalized words.
- Repeat the activity for each sentence.
- If kids get bored standing up and sitting down, you could choose different actions for each sentence. Other actions include raising or lowering a hand and opening or closing eyes.
Small groups of older students, even middle schoolers, can review all the capitalization rules with a fun game of Capitalization Jeopardy. You’ll need to make your own Jeopardy game modeled after the popular TV game show, but kids can help with that part too.
The simplest way to make a Jeopardy game is to use index cards.
- Each capitalization rule can be a different category in the game, or you can choose categories like people, places and things. Write each category on an index card.
- In each category, you’ll want to have about five “questions.” For one category, write the point values 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 on separate index cards.
- On the back of the cards with the point values, write a sentence that doesn’t include any capitalized letters. Lower point values should be easier.
- Repeat Step 2 and Step 3 for each category.
- Hang your category cards in a horizontal row where all players will be able to see them.
- Hang the corresponding “question” cards under each category with the point value visible.
Have players sit or stand behind a table or desks. Each player needs a buzzer or bell.
- Choose a playing order.
- The first player chooses a category and corresponding point value.
- Take the index card the player chose, and read the sentence.
- The first player to buzz or ring in gets to answer the question.
- The player needs to answer which words from the sentence should be capitalized. Their answer should be in question format, for example, “What is I and Natural History Museum?”
- If the player is correct, hand them the index card. They get to choose the next card.
- If they are not correct, describe the correct answer and keep the card. The player on their left gets to choose the next card.
- The player with the most total points when all cards have been chosen is the winner.
If you want to remove the competitive element, simply refrain from keeping score in any capitalization games. You can incorporate fun capitalization activities into your lessons or study sessions.
- Use magnetic alphabet letters to create capitalized and lowercase words on your refrigerator or a magnetized chalkboard.
- Print alphabet coloring pages and decorate with different art supplies. Write capitalized words that start with that letter all around the page.
- Set a timer to complete a capitalization practice worksheet. Try the worksheet several times to see if you can beat your fastest completion time.
- Turn a capitalization test into a fun and simple capitalization bee modeled after a spelling bee.
- Visit your favorite educational websites for online capitalization games and activities kids can complete independently.
As you choose games or create your own, make sure you’re covering all the relevant rules of capitalization. The rules to include in games are to capitalize:
- the first letter of each sentence
- the first letter of a quotation in a sentence
- proper nouns, such as the names of countries and cities
- people's titles (Mr. Hendrix, President Bush), especially in terms of business and high-ranking government officials
- the points of the compass as regions, such as, "My friend Becky is from the South."
- the titles of publications, including the first and last parts of a title regardless of their parts of speech
There are many games you can play with your students to teach them about capitalization rules. Your aim should be to make learning about capitalization entertaining and interactive, allowing students to feel comfortable making mistakes and learning together. Help English Language Arts students of all ages learn proper capitalization with fun activities and games. Explore more grammar games to practice capitalization and all the other important grammar rules.