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 words, along with worksheets, lesson plans and online practice recommendations. Keep on reading.
Compound Noun Activities: Top 15
Let’s get into the ESL games and activities for compound words, a key part of speech that students need to master.
#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.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 85 Pages - 02/02/2020 (Publication Date)
#3: Flyswatter Vocabulary Game
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:
#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: 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. Here’s one example:
#6: 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: ESL Dictogloss Listening Activity.
#7: 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. Student 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.
#8: 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 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.
Here’s one example of a video that you might want to show your students.
#9: 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.
#10: 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:
#11: 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.
#12: Mixed Up Sentences
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.
Do you want to give it a try? You can see what it’s all about right here: ESL Mixed Up Sentences.
#13: Compound Noun Quiz
#14: 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?
#15: 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.
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)
Compound Nouns Worksheets
Do your students needs some extra practise with compound nouns? Probably, yes! Then you’ll want to check out some of these 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 noun lesson plans:
Compound Noun Online Games and Quizzes
If students want some additional practice opportunities, 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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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? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2021-05-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API