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Antonyms 2021: A Summary with 5 Fun Activities.

Antonyms are basically opposites, but how do we teach this in a fun and engaging way? Read on to find out…

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Antonyms are what widen our vocabulary – making simple, and basic sentences into something more engaging to listen to. Think of most English classic literature, now imagine them with the most basic language — you would get bored with reading! Many authors and entertainers have used the technique of antonyms to create engaging entertainment, for example:

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Live and let die — Paul McCartney

Hello Goodbye  — The Beatles

Hot & cold — Katy Perry

Bittersweet Symphony — The Verve

We should always encourage students to expand their vocabulary by using alternatives to words. Keep in mind, Antonyms are part of the English national curriculum therefore teachers should try and create fun lesson plans that allow students to fully immerse themselves in what antonyms are.

National Curriculum
National Curriculum

Antonyms go hand in hand with synonyms and homonyms, but for the purpose of this article, we will stick with antonyms. 

Teaching Antonyms

Students simply need to understand what an antonym is and how we use them in our vocabulary.

Often, antonyms can show up in your student’s STA’s, therefore it is a great idea to use antonyms as much as possible in your class. Once students get the hang of it, they won’t forget!

At Emile, we have set up a lesson PowerPoint and activities for you to take part in. We hope these activities help your students through their literacy journey.

Antonym Activities

With these activities, we are convinced that your class will know antonyms in no time!

Thesaurus searching:

This one is straightforward and ideal for when the students wait for their morning lessons. Perfect for brain warm-ups before your actual English lesson starts too! 

Simply let students grab a thesaurus, or share them between pairs, then ask them to search for an opposite word for a word you’ve said. Each pair, or individual, gets to say their anonym. Whoever gets it wrong, has to choose a different word to find an antonym for.


The opposite game:

Split your class into two groups. Much like learning to use the thesaurus, this time ask the groups to pick a word from the thesaurus, the second team must answer with an antonym. Both teams can go back and forth with words until one of the teams gets the answer wrong. For each answer wrong, the opposite team gains 10 points, the first one to 100 points wins!

Good old worksheets:

Worksheets don’t have to be a drag; in fact, these worksheets have been designed to help students understand antonyms without feeling like they are filling out a never-ending worksheet.

Our worksheets are free, as always, as we believe teachers should be able to access resources without having to pay any fee.

Download your Antonym booklet below!

Antonym Bingo:

Bingo is an amazing way to engage students, especially the ones that are competitive. To play bingo, you will need a list of words. We have written a list of antonyms for you in our comprehensive guide to antonyms, check it out here.

To play the game, simply pick out some words from our list and put them up on your IWB. Then, read out random word’s that are opposite to the word’s that are on the IWB. If your student has written down the correct antonym, they can mark it off. The first one to shout bingo wins!

Magazine cut-outs:

This fun activity gets students using their hands, meaning their motor skills will also be put into practice!

Between you and your students, collect magazines and put them in a pile in the middle of the room. Allow students to cut out pictures from the magazines and pair them up with opposite pictures.

You could even take a trip into the playground and try out different movements, such as:

Running — walking.

Jumping — staying still.

Concepts and meanings:

It is always a good idea to give students a bit of background information so they can fully understand antonyms. Therefore, why not teach the meaning of the words you are using and then illustrate them. For example, you could ask students to open a draw and say “open, close”. This will make antonyms click in their head, meaning a better understanding of the subject has been achieved.

We hope these activities and resources have given you some inspiration for your next antonym class. If you are looking for more literacy and language games, why not check out our Spelling with Emile? Ask for a demo of Emile and see if it would suit your school. 

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