Are you looking for some fresh, new ideas for compound noun activities and games? Then you’re definitely in the right place! We’ve got the best activities for compound nouns, along with worksheets, compound word lesson plans, and online practice recommendations. Keep on reading for everything compound words ESL.
Compound Noun Activities
Let’s get into the ESL games and activities for compound words, a key part of speech that students need to master. If you want to know how to teach compound words, look no further than these tips and tricks, along with some solid advice.
#1: Concentration Memory Game
Try out this fun ESL memory game for a compound word. The way it works is that you make a bunch of cards with the two components of the word on separate cards. For example: bed + room, water + ski.
Then, in groups of 4, students place the cards face down on the desk in front of them. The first student chooses two and if they match, they get to keep them if they can make a sentence with the compound noun. If not a match or they can’t make a sentence, they put them back into the same place and the game continues.
Do you want to try out this fun memory game with your students? You can learn more about it here: ESL Concentration Game.
#2: Compound Noun Combinations
In this activity, students have to work together to make as many compound words as possible from single words. You can use flashcards or create your own sets of cards for this. Then, students can divide the compound nouns into various categories: hyphenated, spaced or closed/solid compound nouns with no space between the words.
It’s easy to turn this into a game by making it a race to complete the words as quickly as possible, or by trying to make as many compounds in a certain amount of time. Try out this compound noun exercise for yourself today.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 85 Pages - 02/02/2020 (Publication Date)
#3: Flyswatter Vocabulary Game to Teach Compound Words
This is a simple review game that you can use to create a little bit of excitement in your classes. The way it works is that you can write a bunch of words that lend themselves to compound nouns.
Then, one student from each team comes to the front and you can give them each a flyswatter. Say a word and the first student to slap a word on the board that can create a compound noun get a chance to make a sentence with it. If correct, they get a point. If incorrect, the other student gets a chance to make a sentence. Then, erase the word and add a new one into that slot.
Then, the next students come up and the game continues until everyone has had a chance to play. More information here about this compound words ESL activity:
#4: Compound Noun Creator Game
Put students into groups of 3-4. Then, call out a word that has a lot of possible compound noun possibilities. For example back, home, life, sun, bed, wine, air, sea, snow, etc. Then, each group has to come up with a certain number (3-5) of compound nouns as quickly as possible. The first team to do it gets a point.
For example snow.
- snow blindness
#5: Error Correction Relay Race for Teaching Compound Words
If you’re looking for a compound word interactive game that kids of all ages love, try out this one! It’s easy to make mistakes with compound words, so help students search them out and correct them.
#6: Compound Noun Songs and Chants
Kids love songs and chants when learning English! The good news is that there are lots of good compound words ones on YouTube. Have a look and you’re sure to be able to find something that’ll work for your students.
#7: Dictogloss Listening Activity
I love to challenge my students with this listening activity. The way it works is that you find (or write) a passage with lots of compound nouns. Then, put students into pairs and read the passage out at a faster than normal speed for the level of students.
They have to work together to recreate what they heard, either by writing or speaking. Then, read it out again and students add more. Finally, they can compare theirs to the original and then pick out all the compound nouns in it.
Do you want to give it a try in your classes? You can see all the details here about this compound noun exercise: ESL Dictogloss Listening Activity.
#8: Compound Noun Pictionary
In this game, students have to draw compound nouns by breaking the word down into two components. Their teammates have to guess the word as quickly as possible.
For example bedroom. Students would have to draw a bed and then a room.
You can divide the class into two teams and then each team can take turns sending a different drawer up to the front of the class for a 2 minute round getting as many words as possible. Or, do only one word per round and time how long it took the team to guess The team with the most points after a certain number of rounds is the winner.
#9: Compound Noun Videos
I love to use videos in my classes. They’re fun, engaging and can often bring a little bit of real-life into the English classroom. Plus, you can find a video for almost every single topic, grammar point or vocabulary set.
Something I like to do once in a while is to have another teacher explain the grammar concept of the day. Or, you can show a dialogue filled with lots of examples. Whatever the case, be sure to get the most out of watching videos by using some pre-watching and post-watching activities. More details here: Videos in the ESL Classroom.
#10: Weather and Compound Nouns
If you think about it, there are a ton of compound words related to weather. Here are just a few examples:
- white out
- hail stone
- thunder cloud
For some of our top ideas of activities, you can use to teach about weather, be sure to check out the following: ESL Weather Activities.
#11: ESL Whiteboard Games and Activities
There are a ton of fun and engaging ESL games you can do with a whiteboard and some markers. They lend themselves particularly well to vocabulary activities like compound words. For some ideas, check out this article:
#12: Compound Words Lesson Plan (Reading)
It’s easier than you might think to plan your own ESL reading lesson to cover just about anything, including compound words. Check out this video to find out all the details you need to know:
#13: Running Dictation
I love this 4-skills ESL game because it’s engaging, challenging and gets students up and out of their seats moving around the classroom. The way it works is that you can find (or write) a dialogue of some kind that has lots of compound words.
Then, cut it out and paste the strips of paper around your classroom. Students have to work together to record all the sentences and then put them in order to make a conversation. Check out this activity right here: ESL Running Dictation.
#14: Mixed Up Sentences for Teaching Compound Words
This is a quick review activity for the end of class or at the beginning of the next one after teaching about compound words. The way it works is that you make up sentences but mix up the order of them. Students have to work, either in pairs or individually to make correct sentences.
#15: Compound Noun Vocab Auction
#16: Is that Sentence Correct?
Try out this simple activity that focuses on both form and meaning. Write down some sentences, some of which have errors while others do not. Students have to decide which ones are incorrect and then make the necessary changes.
How difficult you make it, of course, depends on the level of the students. Find out more about it here: Is that Sentence Correct?
#17: Odd One Out
This is a nice vocabulary review game that encourages students to use their critical thinking skills. Write down some words in groups of four. 3 of them should be similar in some way, while 1 of them is the odd one out. Use the compound nouns that you’ve been teaching in class. Learn more about it: Odd One Out.
#18: Dialogue Substitution
Try out one of my favourite compound word interactive games.
#19: English Drilling Games
Drilling has a lot of value for helping students remember compound words. That’s because they should be remembered as a unit and not the individual words that make it up.
Have a look at some of these fun drilling games and activities that work well for this:
#20: Word Association
It’s likely that students are already quite familiar with groups of compound words. That’s where it can be quite helpful to do an activity like this one to introduce the concept.
Get students to shout out some compound words that they know and group them together, as a class. Have a look here:
#21: Dictation Practice
I know that dictation is kind of old-school but it does have a lot going for it! For compound words, the spelling can be a little bit tricky and this can be a nice way for students to lock it down. Have a look here for some ideas:
#22: Compounds in an ESL Conversation Lesson
It’s easier than you might think to plan an ESL lesson about anything, including this topic. Have a look here at this step-by-step guide you can follow:
#23: Compound Word Dominoes
A fun, interactive compound word game is dominoes. Make your own set with words that are used to form compounds. Then, use the regular domino rules. Students love this game! It does take a little bit of effort to set this one up, but it’s totally worth it, particularly if you can use it with multiple classes.
What is a Compound Noun?
So you want to know, “What’s a compound noun?” Here’s some information for you.
It’s basically a noun that’s made up of two or more words and that acts as a single unit. They can be modified by other nouns or adjectives. It comes in the following forms:
- noun + noun
- adjective + noun
- other combinations
You can find compound nouns in three forms:
- open/spaced with space between words (track shoe)
- hyphenated with a hyphen between words (six-pack)
- closed/solid with no space or hyphen (washroom)
How to Teach Compound Words: Some Tips
If you’re wondering how to teach compound words, here are a few tips and tricks for you:
- Drilling can be quite effective. This can help students remember the words as a unit, instead of the individual words.
- Review and repetition are keys to learning any language. Make sure to include regular review sessions in your classes.
- Compound words can be tricky, even for native English speakers. Be sure to look up the correct spelling before you go to class if you’re unsure!
- It can sometimes be helpful to teach the individual words that make up a compound word, while other times it’s not. Think carefully about whether or not it might be useful for the specific words you’re considering.
- When you teach compound words, remember that it’s useful to teach language in chunks. By chunks, I mean expressions, phrases, idioms, etc.
Compound Nouns Worksheets
Do your students needs some extra practice with compound nouns? Probably, yes! Then you’ll want to check out some of these compound word worksheets:
ESL Lesson Plans for Compound Nouns
Any busy teachers love a lesson plan that they can just print off and take with them to class, right? Why reinvent the wheel if other teachers have done the hard work for you! With that in mind, here are some of our top picks for compound word lesson plans:
Compound Noun Online Games and Quizzes
If students want some additional practice opportunities and exercises, here are some of the website I recommend for interactive, online games:
Did you Like these Compound Games for ESL?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 87 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
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The book is available in both digital and print formats. Consider keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office and using it as a handy reference guide when making your lesson plans. Or, download the digital version onto your phone with the free Kindle reading app for some lesson planning on the go.
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Compound Word ESL FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about compounds nouns exercises. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What is a compound noun?
A compound noun is a word for a person, place, or thing that is made up of two or more words. Some examples are Christmas tree, full moon, and swimming pool. They may also be single worlds like sunrise or hairstyle.
What are compound words ESL?
Compound words ESL are single words that are made up of two or more words. For example, sunset.
How do you identify a compound noun?
You can identify a compound noun by looking for the following:
- An open or spaced word (soccer shoe).
- A hyphenated word (six-pack).
- A closed word with no space or hyphen (bedroom).
Is rainbow a compound noun?
Rainbow is a compound noun. A compound word is a single word made up of two words that each have their own meaning. Rain + bow each have their own meaning but may, or may not be related to the compound word that they form.
Is themselves a compound noun?
Themselves is a reflexive pronoun. All of the reflexive pronouns, including themselves are compound nouns which means that they’re two words which are combined into one.
Have your say about these Compound Noun Activities and Games
What do you think about these compound noun games? Did you try out one of them from this list or do you have another that you’d like to recommend? Do you have a favourite source for compound words lesson plans? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think about it. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API