Guessing games for kids are an endless source of entertainment, which is amazing because parents and teachers can use them to teach students about grammar, vocabulary, paying attention to details, and so much more, without them even realizing. Is that truly achievable? Yes, and in this article we’ll talk about the best guessing games for kids that can be easily incorporated in the classroom or a home learning environment.
You know what’s even better? All the games are incredibly flexible, which means you can use them in every class, no matter the subject. Do you want to teach history, geography, English, science, or something else? Don’t worry, with our practical examples, you’ll see how you can adjust the games to your learning objectives.
And, in case you’re hesitating whether guessing games for kids are truly the right choice as an educational activity, let’s start with the benefits of playing guessing games with your students!
Benefits of Guessing Games
The use of guessing games in the classroom is not a new thing, and most teachers are already familiar with the benefits of this activity when teaching English. Wright, Betteridge and Buckby (1989:2) are some of the authors who believe guessing games improve all skills related to language (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). However, guessing games have many other benefits aside from language acquisition.
First, guessing games improve children’s vocabulary. This is not a surprise, since vocabulary is one of the most important elements when learning a new language. However, rich vocabulary, especially within a specific niche is equally important for other subjects. If children make strong associations between the words and their meaning, they’ll read faster, have better reading comprehension, and recall learned information incredibly easy. This is also what Antoneta SÎRBU (Journal of Innovation in Psychology, Education and Didactics, 2017) found in her experimental study on guessing games in the classroom. Children showed remarkable progress in their vocabulary.
Second, guessing games improve children’s reading comprehension, as we’ve already mentioned in the previous paragraph. According to Ginting & Murni (2013), there’s a significant positive effect of using Guessing Word Games techniques for reading comprehension achievements, compared to groups of children who learned without guessing games.
Third, guessing games improve math skills. Yes, you’ve heard it right, guessing games such as “Guess my number” have been found by Lopez-Real (1997) to improve primary mathematical skills, making this dreadful subject more interesting, interactive, and enjoyable.
Last but not least, guessing games will help children improve their speaking and presentation skills, according to Santana & Yadira’s research (2020). Regardless of whether it’s English or another subject, students need to learn how to speak coherently, in a clear and informative way. This will help them to better express themselves, communicate better, and improve their academic performance.
Fun Guessing Games for Kids
Seeing how beneficial guessing games for kids can be in an academic context, the question is why are they more prevalent inside the classroom? Not only will kids learn new things, but they’ll also have fun! The latter is important for the students’ motivation and a positive attitude toward school.
What are the best guessing games for kids that you can easily incorporate in the classroom or a homeschooling environment? Keep reading to find out!
Guess the Word
Guess the word is the most popular guessing game which exists in many different variations due to its effectiveness. The simplest form is by using flashcards that have a word written on one side, and a description or an image on the other side.
To play, you can divide students in two groups. Appoint one student to be the presenter, or you can guide them, too. Then, mix the flash cards and take one by one, reading out the description, while the groups of students take turns guessing what’s the word being described.
To make things more challenging, you can give each group a time frame, and if they don’t guess the word during that time frame, the other group can guess for them. Every guess is worth 5 points, but if no one guesses and you give hints, then less points are being awarded after the guess.
If you want to motivate students even further, give the winning group a reward, such as no homework tomorrow.
Keep in mind that the words can belong to a subject category, such as history, geography, science, biology, etc, or to a topic category, like animal kingdom, plants, human anatomy (all within biology).
Playing association is another great and very effective guessing game. However, unlike the “Guess the Word” game, kids need to think more deeply about the relationship between different words in order to reveal the hidden pattern and win the game! When the words are all within the same subject, or even within the same topic, association helps students to reevaluate their previous knowledge and make new connections or strengthen the connections between those specific terms.
To play, draw a table on the school board with three or four columns, each containing three or four rows. Each column needs to contain words that together explain another word or phrase at the end of the column – the ones kids need to guess. The final words or phrases of each column (three or four) should together explain the word defining the association. Guessing this word, which is usually more broad, brings the most points.
Then, divide the students in two or three groups. Every turn, one group has the right to open a word and try to guess the final column word or the ultimate association word.
Charades is another popular guessing game that’s usually played at parties, which further highlights our claim that kids would absolutely love these educational activities. The game was popularized in France in the 18th century as a form of literary riddle, which later spread in England and the rest of the world due to it’s amusing nature.
There are two forms of charades: literary and acted charades. Acted charades are for everyone, while literary charedes are more challenging and better suited for older students.
To play, simply divide the students in two groups. Then one member of each group comes forward and takes a peak at a phrase or a word that you’ll select to act out to their group. The group that guesses the word or the phrase first, wins!
Make sure to write down the rules, so it’s fair play!
Guess the Picture (Pictionary)
Pictionary is a variation of Charades, and just like Charades, it’s an incredibly popular party game. The difference is in the way the words are described. In Pictionary, instead of acting out, the presenters have to draw the word or the phrase, while the group tries to guess what it is. It’s also a game of speed because the session ends as soon as one of the groups guesses the word.
Another more challenging version of the game is where each group has a time limit, for example 5 minutes, during which they need to guess as many pictures as they can. The group with the most guesses wins the game.
This game is a popular choice for most teachers because it doesn’t require any preparation aside from choosing a theme and maybe example words to inspire kids.
Pictionary helps students to develop powerful visualization techniques which improve their memory retention.
“I Spy” Guessing Game
Changes are you’ve already played “I Spy” but that doesn’t mean we should skip it! It’s a very interesting and fun game thanks to which kids can consolidate the knowledge they have of a particular topic.
In the classic version of the game, one student looks around, spots an object, and tells the first letter of that object by saying “I spy with my little eye something beginning with ___.” However, to make the game more challenging and educational, ask the students to think of a word (noun) that represents an object or concept from a previous lecture or within a particular subject.
To illustrate this, eligible words for math would be angle, radius, diameter, triangle, square, algebra, degrees, operations, multiplication, division, addition, number, circle, etc.
This version of “I Spy” will help students revise their previous knowledge in a particular subject.
Hangman is a word guessing game that unlike the activities we’ve shared until now where the focus was on the meaning of the word, it focuses on spelling competencies.
The game is really simple and doesn’t require anything other than a pen and a white sheet of paper (alternatively, a chalk and the school’s board). Kids can play it in pairs or in larger groups.
In the beginning, assign a student as the hanger, whose role is to think of a word, while the others try to guess it. The usual format in which the word is written is in underscores representing the letters. For example, if I think of the word anatomy, I’ll write it as A _ _ _ _ _ _.
The student who guesses the words is the one who gets a point and thinks of the next word. For every wrong answer, the hanger draws one body part on the gallow (a head, arms, legs, torso, etc.) If the hangers draw the full person on the gallow before the students guess the word, they lose the game.
Who am I?
“Who am I” is another interesting game that improves students’ vocabulary, especially their descriptive skills. Aside from that, it enriches the knowledge of important people through history.
The way it’s played is similar to the other games we’ve explained so far, only here, one student thinks of a person within a particular topic or period (example, music, sports, history, geography, science, the Renaissance period, the Medieval times, etc.) and writes it down on a piece of paper (so, we’re sure they don’t cheat). Then, they try to describe the person they are thinking about through that persons’ achievements.
If the other students know that person’s biography, they won’t have trouble guessing who it is.
Twenty questions is a variation of “Who am I?” where the student thinks of either a person or an object, and the others in the group take turns asking yes or no questions (example: “Are you an artist ?” ) that might help them guess what the first student has thought of.
However, there are a few rules. First, the student who thinks of a word, can’t say anything other than yes/no (as an answer to questions), or correct/incorrect (as an answer to guesses). Second, the students who guess can ask up to 20 questions. If the word hasn’t been guessed after the 20th question, the game is over.
What’s In the Box?
“What’s In the Box” is a game for little learners. Preschoolers or elementary school students will benefit most, as it improves sensory awareness and perception.
The game itself is really simple. Take an interesting object with unique features (shape, texture, weight, etc) and place it in a carton box. Give it to your child or student and ask them to guess what’s inside without opening the box. Encourage kids to pick up the box (estimate the weight of the weight), move it around (feel if the object is movies as well and how), shake it (see what sound does the object make), before guessing. This way, they’ll focus on the physical characteristics of everyday objects and make associations with sensory perception other than vision.
What’s That Noise? Guessing Sounds
Another guessing game that relies on sensory perception other than vision, in this case hearing, is “What’s That Noise?” Just as the name suggests, the game requires students to recognize particular sounds.
It’s usually played with very young children who are just learning how to speak, and with older students who need to discriminate between similar sounds (example, regular and irregular heartbeat in physiology, or different wind and rain noises in geography).
Unlike the other guessing games, “What’s That Noise?” has a more specific target, meaning it’s less flexible. This is why it’s best to play it when you are sure it will benefit the students’ learning, as in the examples described above.
Rhyming Riddles is a guessing game that puts quite a challenge to students. I mean, riddles are hard enough, but when we add rhyming words, things get a lot more interesting and tough!
The game will make children smile and think deeply about the words that might be hidden within their meaning. Riddles promote children’s problem solving, logic, and critical thinking skills, but also concentration. Without even realizing, kids might spend an hour thinking about the riddle, which is usually very beneficial for young, developing minds that are easily distracted.
Online Guessing Games
In case you’re not in the classroom, or you’re a homeschooling parent who wants to use guessing games in education, online versions of the guessing games might be the solution for you! Considering the situation with the pandemic, a lot of schools are still conducting online teaching, which is another reason why online guessing games for kids are a good alternative.
Here are a few options:
KidsKonnect Worksheet Packs
Last but not least, we like to draw your attention to our massive library of worksheet packs. The reason for this is simple! In most of our worksheet packs, we have included a wide variety of guessing games, best suited to the particular unit.
Knowing the importance of guessing games, we knew it’s important to include them in some form in our worksheet packs. With one click, you can download the full worksheet pack, including key information and facts about that particular topic, and a dozen other interactive printables, ready-to-use in the classroom.
Before You Leave
Flexibility is definitely the central element defining all guessing games. As we’ve seen, you can easily adapt them to a wide variety of subjects, topics, and skills. Guessing games can be played in the classroom among classmates, or individually in an online format. Plus, the different games allow you to target very specific skills needed for one unit. For instance, “Guess the Word” is perfect for vocabulary, “Hangman” for spelling, “Rhyming Riddles” for pronunciation and speaking, and “What’s In the Box?” for sensory perception.
But, in case you have something else in mind, don’t hesitate to visit our website and search for a worksheet pack that might better suit your needs. As we’ve already mentioned, all of our worksheet packs contain printables with guessing games for kids of all ages. They’re interactive, fun, and very educational. More importantly, our worksheet packs are very specific, and you can target topics for each class, or even different subtopics within one class.
Finally, be on the lookout for more articles such as this one, as we regularly update our blog content. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our newsletter to receive all of our new releases in your inbox.
What's a fun guessing game? ›
1: Guess the Word Games. 2: Hidden Picture Guessing Games. 3: Guess the Picture (Pictionary) 4: Guess the Mystery Object. 5: Online Guessing Games.What is a guessing game for kids? ›
Charades is a classic guessing game that packs in full family entertainment. Perfect for game nights, this kid-friendly version of charades comes with 3 levels of play to make sure even your little one, as young as 4 years, is happily involved.Why are guessing games good for kids? ›
Best of all, guessing games are a great way for children to develop their memory/recall skills, practice their problem solving skills, expand vocabulary and practice communicating.What is educational games for students? ›
Educational games are those designed to teach people about a specific subject or a specific skill. They are made predominantly for kids and students of all ages, and can be used both inside the classroom and out. Educational games are a subset of serious gaming.What are good guessing questions? ›
- What word is spelled incorrectly in every single dictionary?
- What goes up and down but can't move?
- What goes up but never down?
- I have one head, one foot, and four legs. What am I?
- Forwards I'm heavy but backwards I'm not. ...
- What runs, but never walks. ...
- I have teeth but can't eat. ...
- If I drink, I die.
Who Am I? is a guessing game where players use yes or no questions to guess the identity of a famous person or animal. Questions are based upon the characteristics of a person or animal everyone will be able to identify.What are guessing games called? ›
Charades (UK: /ʃəˈrɑːdz/, US: /ʃəˈreɪdz/) is a parlor or party word guessing game. Originally, the game was a dramatic form of literary charades: a single person would act out each syllable of a word or phrase in order, followed by the whole phrase together, while the rest of the group guessed.What is guess the word game? ›
At the start of each round, the game will randomly select a Mystery Word that is shown to everybody except the Guesser. The goal is for the Guesser to figure out the Mystery Word. To do this, each player enters a one word clue that will–hopefully–inspire the Guesser to think of it.What can children learn from games? ›
- Strategizing. Many video games require a certain level of understanding to clear the stages. ...
- Hand-Eye Coordination. Video games are scientifically proven to build hand-eye coordination. ...
- Logical Thinking. ...
- Building Creativity. ...
- Financial Planning.
It helped the students got some benefits in guessing games. They can improve their speaking and they can enlarge their vocabulary, can make their pronunciation and intonation better. It supported by Alex Case (2000), guessing game is a game/ an object to guess some kinds of information.
How do games help children develop? ›
Research shows play can improve children's abilities to plan, organize, get along with others, and regulate emotions. In addition, play helps with language, math and social skills, and even helps children cope with stress.What are the five educational games? ›
- Sylla-balls. ...
- Letter Sound/Sight Word Road. ...
- Letter Sound Hopscotch. ...
- Sight Word/Letter Stomp. ...
- Numbers Bowling.
According to research, using games in teaching can help increase student participation, foster social and emotional learning, and motivate students to take risks. One study of the popular multiple-choice quiz game Kahoot found that it improved students' attitudes toward learning and boosted their academic scores.What's the guessing game called? ›
Charades (UK: /ʃəˈrɑːdz/, US: /ʃəˈreɪdz/) is a parlor or party word guessing game. Originally, the game was a dramatic form of literary charades: a single person would act out each syllable of a word or phrase in order, followed by the whole phrase together, while the rest of the group guessed.How do you play the guessing game? ›
How to play the Guessing Game - YouTube