Literacy Games: fun fillers with a purpose


Christmas time in school can sometimes see us faced with 'little pockets of time' to fill; for example, in between rehearsals for Nativity, Carol Concerts and other festive commitments.

I thought it might help to provide a few ideas for 'Literacy Fillers' - word games and other activities that are purposeful and fun.

They are useful at other times of the year of course - as warm ups, end of lesson activities and, once children know how to play them, as independent activities too.


Here's a few of them - if you wish you can then download the whole pdf file at the bottom of the page:


Word snakes

Big pieces of paper are useful here.

The first player writes down a word. The next person has to write word using the last letter of the previous one. Words can be written down, across and up – as they ‘snake’ across the paper.


Do only as I say…

This is a bit like ‘Simon Says’. Create some space and get children to stand up. Give a series of simple instructions ‘Clap your hands’, ‘Touch your elbow’ etc.

Then begin to say one thing and do another – e.g. say’ Touch your elbow' - but you touch your head instead.

Children have to do what you SAY not merely follow what you DO

(Will sort out the best listeners!!)



One player thinks of a 4 letter word. Others take turns to say any four letter word they know by way of a guess. The first player can give clues about any letters that match their ‘secret word’ and what position in the word they are. Harder with longer words or if no written notes are allowed.


Opposites Memory Game

Part 1 of the game: Give out blank pieces of paper or card to each player.

Everyone writes down a word on their piece of paper and passes it to the person on their right. They look at it and write a word that is its Opposite on another piece of paper.

Repeat this until there are up to 40 different pieces of paper.

Then they can be placed face down and a game of matching pairs/memory game can be played. Discussions about what are opposites or not are inevitable.


Create a Story from Pictures

Ask about 10 children to draw a simple picture – if you can fit them all on the whiteboard at the front that would be the best. They mustn’t tell any of the others what they are going to draw before they do it.

Then challenge pairs or small groups of children to choose some of the pictures (you can limit it to between 3 -5 for some children) and make up a story using those pictures.

They can write a sentence to go with each of the pictures or try and remember it to retell orally.


For the whole file:  Literacy games ideas


There are some other quick thinking ideas that would also suit this purpose in our Let's Think Homework book

Lets Think Homework


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