10 Opposites Games

By Alex Case
Fun competitive antonyms practice activities

A lesson on opposites is a great way of teaching two words at once without the need for translation, but perhaps its greatest selling point is how many fun games there are. This article presents ten of the best.

Opposites miming guessing game

Students act out pairs of opposites like “Stand up, sit down” and “Awake, asleep” for other students to guess and shout out. Not all opposites can be mimed, so you’ll need to help students with suitable pairs of things to act out with a list on a worksheet, the board, etc.

Opposites drawing games

Opposites drawing guessing game

Prepare at least twenty pairs of opposites that can be drawn like “happy – sad” and “strong – weak”. One student draws one pair from the list for other students to guess (if possible before the drawings are finished, and without looking at the list of options).

Opposites drawing competitions

Students compete to draw the best illustrations of opposites like “angry/ calm” and “fast/ slow”.

Opposites coin games

Opposites coin drawing game

One student makes a pair of opposite descriptions of a picture like “His arms are long”/ “His arms are short”, then someone flips a coin to choose which will be added to the drawing.

Opposites coin bluffing game

A student makes two opposite personal statements like “I’m very patient. I’m very impatient.” or “My car is very old. My car is very new.” They flip a coin to decide which of the two statements they will repeat, then their partners try to guess if that is true or not, asking follow-up questions to help.

Opposites bluffing card game

Students choose a pair of opposites at random and say something personal including both of the opposites, making up something imaginary like “I expected the science museum in London to be fun but it was boring” if they can’t think of anything true. After follow-up questions, the other students guess if the statement is true or not.

Opposites hangman

This is a slight variation on the popular spelling game Hangman in which students guess the letters of both of a pair of opposites at the same time, starting with gaps like “_ _ _ – _ _ _ _” for “hot – cold”.

Opposites ball games

Pairs or teams of students “serve” with words which have opposites and “return” with the opposites. The server gets a point whenever their partner can’t return quickly enough, but loses a point if they can’t quickly think of the next suitable word to serve with. This can be played with a real ball or balloon, or just with a realistic time limit to react such as three seconds. Scoring and who serves can be the same as a real sport like volleyball, tennis or table tennis, or your own simpler variation.

Opposites guessing game

Students make pairs of true personal statements with opposites like “I am patient but my father is impatient” and “My bedroom is messy but my kitchen is tidy” and take out either the two opposites or the two subjects. Other people then try to guess what should go in the gaps.

Opposites memory card game

Make around 20 cards with opposites like “raise” and “cut” on opposites sides of each card. Students put the cards on the table, either side up, and one student tries to guess what is on the other side of all the cards, stopping whenever they make a mistake. If they guess correctly, that card stays the other way up to be guessed in the opposite direction next time. The winner is the first person to guess all the cards correctly in one go, or the person who has had the longest string of correct guesses when the game is stopped.

Written by Alex Case for Teflnet August 2023
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers
© Teflnet

Leave a comment