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Making sense

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By Kay Cliffordpart-time teacher, Ipswich

This game encourages children to build up their vocabulary by using the words on the board to describe various smells, sights, sounds, textures and tastes. It will also develop skills in using phonics and looking for spelling patterns in unfamiliar words, when reading.

The game is ideally suited to children who are already aware of common adjectives – such as nice, horrible, happy, sad, big and little – and who would be able to think of more interesting alternatives.

Making sense image

Playing the game

  • This game can be played in pairs or small groups. Each player should place a counter on the Start box then roll a dice to see who goes first. The person who rolls the highest number starts.
  • Player one rolls the dice and moves forward that number of spaces. If they land on a picture representing one of the five human senses, they must choose a word from the corresponding circle around the edges of the board.
  • Once they have chosen a word, the player must then think of a noun that fits with that word – eg, sparkling diamonds, wailing siren, yummy chocolate, tickly feathers.
  • If their partner, or the rest of the group, agrees that the describing word fits with the noun, the player can cover the word they chose with the art straw/strip of paper/pipe-cleaner.


You will need: a counter for each player; a dice; bits of straw/pipe-cleaner or thin strips of paper to cover the words in the centre of the board. You will also need copies of the activity sheet activity sheet below.

  • If the word is deemed inappropriate, the word remains uncovered so another player can choose it on their turn.
  • Play now passes to the next player.
  • The winner is the player who covers the most words by the time any player reaches the Finish box.

Using the activity sheet

The children can use this to record the phrases they invent while playing the game. It also makes a useful assessment tool for the teacher, who can check the children’s use of words.

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Reception through to Year 3, and to identify links with Year 1 and 2 Planning Units.

Extension activities

  • As an extension activity, the children could use the phrases they have made to create a poem.
  • Challenge the children to think of alternative adjectives to describe each of the objects – eg, feathers are not just tickly, they are… feathery, fluffy, irritating or soft