Engaging Online Activities and Games for Students

immanuel vinikas headshot
Immanuel Vinikas
Updated August 8 2022
online activities for students
immanuel vinikas headshot
Immanuel Vinikas
Updated August 8 2022

We got a lot of great reactions from online teachers and trainers to last year’s article Top 15 Online Classroom Games & Activities. So we’d like to say thank you with a follow-up of 15 more engaging online activities and games for students. This time we organized the list into activities that require using the camera, activities that don’t necessitate activating the camera, and more unusual classroom games. To top it off, we end the post with four essential tips on how to engage your students.

 

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online activities for students

 

Online activities and games for students that don’t require cameras

Let’s dive right in with classroom activities that students can play, with or without having their cameras activated.

 

Build a Story

We’ll start with an easy classic that is easy to initiate and always good for a few laughs. Start the story with a single statement of a few words or a sentence (e.g., yesterday I walked to the metro station when all of a sudden…). Then ask each student to continue the story with a statement or a sentence of their own (e.g., … when all of a sudden, a man came running up the stairs with a buzzing black back in his hands.). You can type out the story to keep track of it. You can finish off the activity by showing the whole story on the screen.

 

Would You Rather

Another easy game. Ask your student a polarizing question about what they’d prefer (e.g., Would you rather be in jail for a year or lose a year off your life?). A round of would-you-rather is a great conversation starter. Prepare a few on-topic and appropriate questions ahead of the class and then use them to initiate a debate. If you need inspiration, there are a ton of resources online, like this one.

 

Friends (Who Said It?)

A party favorite, in a game of Who Said It, the participants get a list of questions (same questions for everyone) to which they must send the answers to the instructor ahead of the class session. During the session, the students must guess who gave each answer to the same question. Just like Would-You-Rather, this is a great conversation starter.

 

Mad Libs

Mad libs are stories with blanks. The students can’t see the story, but they must fill in the blanks with adjectives or nouns. When finished, one student is designated to read the story out loud and reveal the hilarious effect the random insertions have created. Keep the mad libs short, light, fast, and fun. You can find a dozen of playable mad libs on this site.

 

Two Truths and a Lie

This is another children’s classic that you can perfectly adapt to an online classroom environment. Have your students research a location, historical figure, or principle and find two true statements about it. Ask them to formulate a third statement that is plausible, but not true. The students then present their statements in class and the other students should guess which statement is false.

 

Bingo

Bingo is an all-time favorite that translates perfectly to the virtual classroom. Send your students a virtual gameboard and start calling out the numbers. To make the game more on-topic, you could also replace the numbers with words and concepts related to the topic you are working on.

 

online activities for students

 

Online activities for students with cameras

While the previous 6 activities could work with or without a camera, the following games and activities require the students to activate their cameras.

 

Virtual Talent Show

This can be spread across several sessions. In each session, you can invite a few students to show off one of their talents. This can be any talent that’s appropriate for the classroom, from music to comedy, art, and movement. Notify the students when their turn is coming up so they can prepare their act in advance.

 

Pet Parade

Not so much a game as a classroom activity, you can break the ice with younger students by having them show their pets to the group and talk about them or answer their peers’ questions. If a student doesn’t have a live pet, they can present their stuffed animal.

 

Spirit Days

Spirit days are simply themed sessions. Declare the next session as “makeup day” or “bad hair day” and have the students show up accordingly for a good laugh. Suggest a theme that is (loosely) in line with the topic of the session.

 

Alphabet Chain

This is an easy and fun one that doesn’t require preparation, so it’s a great option for a quick improvised game. Suggest a category to the class and assign a student to think of a word that fits that category. This student chooses the next student who has to think of another word that begins with the last letter of the previous word. If a student can’t think of a follow-up word, they’re out, until you’re left with one winner.

 

Self Portraits

Have your students draw quick self-portraits using a drawing app like Google Jamboards or even PowerPoint (draw menu). Give them a short time frame in which they should submit their artwork to you. You can then have the other students guess who’s depicted in the portrait.

 

online activities for students

 

Unusual online activities for students

Listed here are a few games you most probably are familiar with but didn’t know you could play them online.

 

Online Scavenger Hunt

A big-time favorite for younger students that doesn’t require too much preparation. At its most basic, you think of an object students are likely to have in their house or room and you send them on a mission to find and bring the object back to the computer. You may for the object directly, but you can also be more general about the mission and ask for a blue object, a certain shape, or their favorite toy. The students don’t need to leave their desks, per se. You can also send them on a scavenger hunt online to find information or an image of an object or location.

 

Geography Puzzles

Obviously, this one is great for your geography lesson. You can send contours of countries (or the entire world map) for your students to annotate with the correct names. Check out World Geography Games for great and free interactive maps and other geography games.

 

Ambassadors

Another excellent activity for geography classes. In this game, students act as ambassadors for their assigned country. Have them collect information and key facts about their country and present them to the class without disclosing which country they represent. That’s for the other students to guess.

 

Digital Escape Room

If you use Kaltura Virtual Classroom or another online learning platform with breakout capabilities, you’re in for a treat. Virtual escape rooms are probably the most exciting games you can play with your class. Students need to solve riddles and puzzles to unlock the breakout room and escape. You can try existing virtual escape rooms or you could create your own.

 

Student Engagement

 

Essential classroom tips to engage your students

Playing games and taking a break from learning with fun activities are great ways to keep your students fresh-minded and engaged. But classes can’t be only fun and games. We’re building children’s futures here. So, here are 4 golden tips to keep your students engaged at all times.

 

Use interactive online resources

Of course, there are paid online resources for pretty much anything, including digital escape rooms. So, do make use of those. But even if you’re on a shoestring, a quick Google search will yield you excellent free options.

To illustrate my point, one great way to leverage free interactive online resources is to take your students on a virtual field trip. Many scientific institutions, public organizations, and museums offer free virtual visits on their website. Here’s a quick list of virtual visits to get you started:

Even if there’s no official virtual tour, you can create your own using Google maps, Google Images, and YouTube. Let’s not forget online resources made for education, such as Khan Academy and TED-ed.

 

Use synchronous and asynchronous learning activities

One of the great advantages of online learning platforms is that it facilitates asynchronous learning, so do make use of that. It enables students to learn and collaborate at times that are most convenient and productive for them and it also enables you to make class time more efficient by asking the students to complete tasks they can do independently outside at home and reserve class time for group work, supervised tasks, and questions.

Learn more about synchronous and asynchronous learning in this blog post.

 

Encourage students to collaborate

The internet is a dark and lonely place. Encourage students to keep things social and collaborate. It’s not only a great way to learn from and help your peers, but it’s also fun and makes the students feel connected and motivated to continue.

So, make sure students have the necessary tools to connect, be it through a WhatsApp group, a DM platform, message boards, or a Facebook page, …

Include plenty of tasks in the curriculum that require binomial or group work. If necessary, set a specific time for students to get together online to collaborate.

Use some of the activities in this article to break the ice and kick-start communication and collaboration.

 

Get the most from your virtual classroom solution

Kaltura virtual classroom is the ideal online learning environment to organize online activities for students.

Of course, you get all the must-have features to run effective high-quality learning sessions. But Kaltura Virtual Classroom also comes with built-in features to foster student engagement:

    • Breakout rooms
    • Multimedia playlists
    • Collaborative whiteboards
    • Quick polls and on-screen quizzes
    • Live chat and private messaging
    • Emoji reactions
    • Hotspots
    • interactive video paths
    • … and so much more!

Just give it a go. Choose one of the activities in this article, start a free trial account of Kaltura Virtual Classroom, and have fun with your students trying all the educational features and engagement tools.