Classic games brought back to the classroom!

Games and gaming has changed dramatically! Teachers often find ways to introduce modern games such as Minecraft into the classroom. I wanted to share some classic ‘old school’ style games that are great fun and can be played by students to help support teaching and learning.


Scrabble games have often been around in the store cupboard of English departments! Thanks to Amjad Ali’s toolkit the scrabble mat can be a quick, simple and effective game to play across the curriculum. The scrabble mat game is great because it doesn’t require all the scrabble squares but instead has the alphabet with each letter having a point score. This can be printed off as a mat or projected onto the board. The aim of the game is simple; students have to come up with key words, connected to the topic or lesson, and create the highest scoring word. This can be used across different subjects and with different year groups. This helps develops basic literacy and numeracy skills and can be used at any point in the lesson. You can download my adapted version of the Scrabble mat for free from the TES here. I also created my own Welsh scrabble mat using the Welsh alphabet, this is a fantastic activity for MFL! My Welsh Scrabble mat can be downloaded on my TES page too.


This game is similar to the Scrabble challenge but harder. It is more difficult because not all of the alphabet is avaliable, just some letters making the choice limited. This can be given to older students or to challenge the more able. Students have to use the letters provided to come up with key words and calculate the total score for each word. This is one of my students Black Death Boggle example!


To continue the literacy and numeracy theme is another popular game. Countdown can clearly lend itself well to Maths and English but I have used it in my subjects too. Countdown conundrum; solve the keyword for the lesson or give students letters and they have to see if they can use those letters to create a subject specific key word, who can create the longest key word too! Another idea is the numeracy element where students are given a set of numbers and then a final number they have to reach as their answer. I have done this in History lessons using key dates such as 1066, 1914 etc and using the numbers provided students had to add/subtract/multiply/divide the numbers so their answer was they key date. This helped students to remember the key date and practice basic numeracy skills in their History lesson too!

Snakes and Ladders

Pete Sanderson @LessonToolbox shared a fantastic Snakes and Ladders template that can be downloaded for free here. Again, this can be adapted across the curriclum. I adapted the template to include questions about WW1 at the end of the topic and to help prepare for an assessment in a fun way! An idea I came up with was to give students the template and they had to think of suitable questions to include, some students found this quite challenging but enjoyed the challenge!

Top Trumps

I have seen lots of teachers sharing examples of the Top Trumps game in subjects such as PE, Maths, History etc. I found a blank top trumps template on the TES and my RE class created their own Top Trumps to play, focusing on the six main world religions. To differentiate this I provided some students with the information and categories whilst other students had to carry out their own independent research to find their own data/information to create their cards, ready to play with their peers. This can work well with individuals in History or characters and sporting stars.


Another simple yet classic game! In pairs students are given a set of cards that are divided out and they place their cards down one at a time until a pair is matched then- Snap! It can be matching an image with a keyword, as shown below where religious artefacts have to be matched up object and name, to words in different languages matching up, or matching up keywords and defintions or keywords with the opposite word and so on!


Shopping in a small, unique shop I discovered some Etch a sketch post it notes! (They can also be purchased on Amazon or easy to create your own!) As always, wearing my teacher hat I thought these post it notes could be used in the classroom. This is a fantastic plenary where students sketch a key idea, concept, event, fact etc then provide a caption to summarise what they have found out in the lesson.

Other classic games I have seen have a revival in the classroom include Jenga, Blockbusters, the Yes and No game and Taboo!

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you have tried any other classic games in your classroom or used/adapted any of the ideas suggested then I would love to hear from you. You can contact me via my contact page or drop me a message on my Twitter account @87History. Please check out my Twitter page for more teaching and learning ideas and resources!

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