30 Unique Synonym Activities To Try in the Classroom

Creative ideas for learning new vocabulary words.

Examples of activities on synonyms including matching blocks and paint chip wheels
We Are Teachers; smallworldathome.blogspot.com; raisinglittlesuperheroes.com

Happy and content. Easy and simple. These are examples of synonyms—words that have the same or very similar meaning. Teaching students about these types of words is an important part of effective vocabulary instruction. Also, coming up with new ways to say the same thing makes language more interesting and writing more lively and appealing. We’ve rounded up some fun (or should we say enjoyable?) ideas to spice up your repertoire of synonym activities.

1. Synonym word wall

Many synonyms listed underneath the words "scared" and "mad," an an example of activities on synonyms
Teaching Made Practical/Word wall ideas for upper elementary via teachingmadepractical.com

Word walls with a twist! For older students, use precious classroom wall space to boost vocabulary knowledge and support strong writing skills. This effective activity on synonyms is simple to implement and can be easily modified based on your students’ needs.

Learn more: Word Wall Ideas for Upper Elementary at Teaching Made Practical

2. LEGO block matching game

duplo legos used for matching synonyms and putting them together
Raising Little Superheroes/Hands-on synonym blocks matching game via raisinglittlesuperheroes.com

LEGO bricks can make anything fun! This word-building game reinforces new vocabulary and is a great way to introduce synonyms.

Learn more: Hands-on Synonym Blocks Matching Game at Raising Little Superheroes

3. Read-alouds

Book cover of Thesaurus Rex by Laya Steinberg, as an example of activities on synonyms

There are many great books on synonyms for any age. Silly stories filled with wordplay and imagination will captivate your students while teaching them all sorts of new words to add to their growing vocabularies.

Learn more: Books for Teaching Antonyms and Synonyms at The Best Children’s Books

4. Dominoes

words cards lie back-to-back with matching similar words that look  like dominoes
Florida Center for Reading Research/Synonym dominoes at fcrr.org

You can find just about any reading activity for your classroom at the Florida Center for Reading Research, and we love this game for synonym practice. Connect the dominoes by finding the matching synonym until each domino is strung together in a chain.

Learn more: Synonym Dominoes at Florida Center for Reading Research

5. Create word webs

The words "good" and "nice" are in the middle of the web with arrows pointing to different categories and more descriptive words you could use instead
Read, Write, Think/”The good, the bad, and the nice” word webs via readwritethink.org

For older students, using word webs can be very effective for increasing vocabulary and brainstorming interesting words to incorporate into their writing.

Learn more: Using Word Webs To Teach Synonyms for Commonly Used Words at Read, Write, Think

6. Interactive notebook

two word lists, one with synonyms and one with antonyms, with words that flip over to reveal another one underneath, as an example of activities on synonyms
The Sprinkle Topped Teacher/Synonym and antonym interactive notebook via thesprinkletoppedteacher.com

Flip to reveal the new word! Perfect for vocabulary practice and independent work, the notebook is a great teaching tool for activities on synonyms and antonyms.

Learn more: Synonym and Antonym Interactive Notebook at The Sprinkle Topped Teacher

7. Matching anchor chart and notebook

notebook divided into two entries, one for synonyms and another for antonyms with a designated word and picture with movable flaps indicating synonyms and antonyms
Crafting Connections/Synonyms & antonyms anchor chart via crafting-connections.com

Another great anchor chart idea with matching interactive notebooks students can use to practice independently. Use color-coded words to distinguish between synonyms and antonyms.

Learn more: Synonyms & Antonyms Anchor Chart at Crafting Connections

8. Synonym wheels

Different color paint strips in the shape of a wheel with synonyms printed on each shade of color, as an example of activities on synonyms
Small World/synonym wheels via http://smallworldathome.blogspot.com

A simple, colorful way to tackle synonyms. Start at the top or bottom of the paint strip and see if you can fill up the rest with similar words. These displays will definitely brighten up your classroom! Plus, check out some other fun ways to use paint strips in your instruction.

Learn more: Putting Pinterest to Use: Synonym Wheels at Small World at Home

9. Watch a fun video

Videos make a perfect addition to your list of activities on synonyms. Take a little brain break and watch a fun video to reinforce the definition.

10. Name that synonym

Eight pictures with sentences that need to be completed by filling in a blank with a synonym
Glitter in Third/Vocabulary building with synonyms and antonyms via glitterinthird.com

Students can practice filling in the blanks with more than one word. Quick and easy synonym practice at your fingertips!

Learn more: Vocabulary Building With Synonyms and Antonyms at Glitter in Third

11. Online matching game

two words, "begin" and "street" flipped over but not a synonym match
English Club/Matching synonyms game via englishclub.com

This quick transitional activity is great for when you have a couple of extra minutes to spare. Play a synonym game using your computer in a small group or display it on a smartboard for your class.

Learn more: Matching Synonyms Game at English Club

12. Use word work graphic organizers

worksheet focusing on one vocabulary word with many different categories to fill out relating to the word, as an example of activities on synonyms
This Reading Mama/Vocabulary graphic organizer for grades 3-5 via thisreadingmama.com

We love how this graphic organizer helps students see the big picture as they learn new vocabulary words. Coming up with synonyms and antonyms is a great way for students to grasp the definition of a less familiar word.

Learn more: Vocabulary Graphic Organizer for Grades 3-5 at This Reading Mama

13. Synonym posters

display of mini posters with common words and their synonyms listed underneath
Simply Creative Teaching/Shades of meaning and strong word choice via simplycreativeteaching.com

Encourage students to come up with new words in their writing with these handy synonym posters.

Learn more: Shades of Meaning and Strong Word Choice at Simply Creative Teaching

14. Battleship game

packs of synonym cards and grids in the background for a battleship-type game, an an example of activities on synonyms
My Teacher Friend/Battleship via myteacherfriend.blogspot.com

This synonym version of the popular game might even be more fun than the original! You can use this template to play all sorts of vocabulary games, and students will never get tired of it.

Learn more: Battleship! at My Teacher Friend

15. Puzzles

pictures in the shape of puzzle pieces to be put together with two words (synonyms)
123 Homeschool 4 Me/Synonym puzzles via 123homeschool4me.com

Including pictures to match words is a great choice for activities on synonyms and supporting vocabulary development. These accessible puzzles are easy to prep and are loads of fun.

Learn more: Synonym Puzzles at 123 Homeschool 4 Me

16. Halloween game

Cards with candy on them and a lined piece of paper to write in synonyms, as an example of activities on synonyms
Hillary’s Teaching Adventures/Make October Engaging! via hillarykiser.blog

Get festive by playing a Halloween-themed synonym board game. Anything candy-related is always a hit!

Learn more: Make October Engaging! At Hillary’s Teaching Adventures

17. “I have, who has …” game

4 sheets of paper with cards to cut out to play a synonym game
The Curriculum Corner/Synonym I have, who has games via thecurriculumcorner.com

Each student gets a card and has to listen for when their word is the answer to one of the cards. Fun synonym review for the whole class!

Learn more: Synonym I Have, Who Has Games at The Curriculum Corner

18. Penguin match

synonym word cards with penguins as the backdrop, as an example of activities on synonyms
Simply Special Ed/New winter product via simplyspecialed.weebly.com

Simple words and appealing graphics make this one of our favorite activities on synonyms for beginners. Customize this memory or matching game for your students’ needs.

Learn more: New Winter Product/Penguin Synonym Match at Simply Special Ed

19. Synonym slices

Four cards featuring pizza pies with pieces missing and words written underneath that match in meaning
Classroom Freebies Too/Synonym slices via classroomfreebiestoo.com

Another fun matching game that will get everyone excited—and hungry! Play “memory” with these synonym cards, because who doesn’t love a slice of pizza?

Learn more: Synonym Slices at Classroom Freebies Too

20. Contrast with antonyms

Four separate images in one, including synonym and antonym cards, directions for how to play and an example of how to sort the cards
Primary Punch/Synonym or antonym? via primarypunch.com

To fully understand synonyms, it’s important to learn about antonyms, which are words that mean the opposite of each other. We love how engaging this game is for comparing and contrasting these types of words, but “Don’t Wake the Monster!” What more could you ask for from activities on synonyms?

Learn more: Synonym or Antonym? at Primary Punch

21. 60-second brainstorm

materials for synonym and antonym game with three word cards and , and a red sheet for recording synonyms and antonyms underneath, as an example of activities on synonyms
Learn in Color/Synonyms and antonyms game via learnincolor.com

Race against the clock to see how many synonyms and antonyms you can come up with. Set a timer for 60 seconds for each word game and then tally up the totals.

Learn more: Synonyms and Antonyms Game at Learn in Color

22. Explore degrees of meaning

Word cards numbered 1-5 against a yellow polka-dotted background and a red smiley face graphic pretending to write
Comprehension Connection/5 fun vocabulary ideas for synonyms and antonyms via comprehensionconnection.net

Even though synonyms have very similar meanings, it’s important to understand the distinctions between them. Explore degrees of common synonyms with this vocabulary-enhancing activity.

Learn more: 5 Fun Vocabulary Ideas for Synonyms and Antonyms Your Kids Will Love at Comprehension Connection

23. Word sort

Word sort with three categories including the word, and the synonym and antonym for that word, as well as an accompanying worksheets and a stack of cards ready to be sorted
Florida Center for Reading Research/Synonym-antonym connections via fcrr.org

Sort words by their synonym and antonym and then record the answers on a worksheet for extra practice.

Learn more: Synonym-Antonym Connections at Florida Center for Reading Research

24. Candy corn matching

candy corn cut-outs divided up into three colors with a different synonym on each, and a white pumpkin in the background, as an example of activities on synonyms
Speech Bee Blog/Candy corn synonyms via speechbeeblog.com

This Halloween-themed resource can be used for many varieties of matching synonym games. Just cut, match, and assemble these colorful treats.

Learn more: Candy Corn Synonyms at Speech Bee Blog

25. Anchor charts

several cinnamon rolls with a word inside them and synonyms surrounding it with the title "baking up synonyms"
Organized Classroom/cinnamon rolls via organizedclassroom.com

Activities on synonyms have never been so delicious! Get creative with how you display these words and make them especially memorable for kids.

Learn more: Free Spring Color by Synonyms at Organized Classroom

26. Ice cream cone synonyms

colorful scoops of ice cream on a cone each with a different word meaning something similar
Kaylee’s Education Studio/Ice cream cone synonyms at kayedstudio.com

Another tasty way to spice up vocabulary knowledge! Brainstorm and expand word choice with these ice cream cone templates.

Learn more: Ice Cream Cone Synonyms at Kaylee’s Education Studio

27. High-flying words

A red paper kite with the word "patient" in the middle and the definition, synonyms, and antonyms  around it
The Owl Teacher/High-flying words via theowlteacher.com

See students’ vocabulary knowledge soar with this cool kite activity. Kids can write an unfamiliar word at the center and find the definition, synonyms, and antonyms, and write a sentence. Display them around the class for some high-flying fun.

Learn more: High-Flying Words/Teaching Word Knowledge at The Owl Teacher

28. Could that BEE a synonym or antonym?

many connected hexagons with three words written inside

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational/Could that bee a synonym or antonym? via deceptivelyeducational.blogspot.com

Print these connected hexagons onto magnet paper, cut, and build away. See what kind of honeycomb shapes you can make with all sorts of words while noticing the similarities and differences between them.

Learn more: Could that BEE a synonym or antonym? at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

29. Synonym search with whiteboards

whiteboards with synonyms written on them and a description of the activity
HoJo’s Teaching Adventures/More word work for older students via hojosteachingadventures.com

If you’re looking for an activity for older grades, check out how to use whiteboards to brainstorm new words. Each student writes down a synonym and then passes the whiteboard to the next person, who then adds another one to the list. It’s also a great discussion starter for words that don’t necessarily fit.

Learn more: Synonym Search at Hojo’s Teaching Adventures

30. Color in the synonyms

A black and white copy and color copy of the same flower picture, with synonyms listed on the bottom in a key for which color to pick
Organized Classroom/Free Spring color by synonyms via organizedclassroom.com

This version of color by number is for vocabulary! Fill in the corresponding synonyms with the right color and see the worksheets transform into a beautiful picture.

Learn more: Free Spring Color by Synonyms at Organized Classroom

For more fun ideas and inspiration for vocabulary instruction, check out 30 Meaningful Vocabulary Activities for Every Grade.

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