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Learn the Parts of a Sentence: Fun Game for Early Elementary Students

written by: Kathy Foust • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 1/20/2012

This is a sentence structure game that can be played by early elementary students such as first and second graders. It helps them to learn the parts of a sentence in a fun and memorable way.

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    Let's Build Sentences

    This game will assist students in memorizing basic sentence structures. As you will see, it is fairly simple to enhance this game as the students progress through various parts of speech. Many children get frustrated with excessive writing. This game is fun and the child can learn sentence structure without doing any writing once the game is made.

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    Materials and Set-Up

    To begin with, you will need a marker or pen and a pack of index cards.

    Since this article is about how to begin the game, the focus will be on punctuation, nouns, verbs and capital letters.

    Using the index cards:

    • Create fifteen cards that have nouns written on them.
    • Create fifteen cards that have verbs written on them.
    • Create ten cards that have the word "the" written on them.
    • Create five cards with a period written on them.
    • Create five cards that have a question mark written on them.
    • Create five cards that have an exclamation point written on them.

    Other punctuation marks can be added as the student progresses. So can other parts of sentence structure, such as pronouns and adjectives.

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    Playing the Game

    The object of the game is for the player to build a sentence that uses four cards from their hand while playing the game. The player then lays the sentence down and gets five points. You can make the restriction that the sentence must use all of the player's cards, depending on the number of players. Begin another round.

    To play the game, deal each player five cards. The players should hold the cards so other players cannot see them. Place the deck on the table face down and flip one card over. The first player draws a card and uses a card from their hand to add to the sentence. If the player cannot add to the sentence in the proper order, then the play goes onto the next player.

    To create a new sentence, the player lays down a card after the last punctuation mark. The player must announce, "Capitalize the first letter," as they lay down the first word in the sentence. If they do not, then another player may say it. The player laying down the first card must draw two extra cards if another player has to call out, "Capitalize!"

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    To Give You More of an Idea...

    Here is an example of the game being played:

    Sue deals the cards and flips one over one card from the top of the deck. Please note that the dealer should say "Capitalize the first letter," for the first card flipped over. Sue says, "Capitalize the first letter." The word on the card is "cats". Jerry, on Sue's left draws a card from the deck and lays down, face up, a card that says "play". Tom, on Jerry's left draws a card, then discards a card that is the punctuation mark, "!".

    I think the best part about this game is how potential it has to grow. This is a game that can be modified and used from early elementary into middle school. The Sentence Structure Game can be a welcome addition to any English curriculum.