Whiteboards are a simple, easy tool to use in the classroom for both group and individual activities.
Because whiteboards can easily be cleaned off, they are often easier to use than chalkboards and allow for a greater amount of creativity.
They are also a great way for young learned to practice motors skills, such as gripping a writing utensil and building up their arm and shoulder strength.
For students that have not mastered holding a pencil, a cubby whiteboard marker will be much easier.
Once students have graduated to simple spelling and more advanced skills there are new whiteboard activities they can engage in.
They are a great tool for preschool classrooms that see two and three years-olds just starting schools to almost graduated five-year olds.
The whiteboard games listed here are designed to be used with traditional whiteboards, no advanced technology will be needed.
11 Fun Whiteboard Games for Kids
Here are 12 fun whiteboard games that we recommend trying out with your kids. These are all simple, easy, and offer great learning lessors for children!
- Tic Tac Toe
- Alphabet Matching
- Classroom Assistance
- Win, Lose, Draw
- Counting Practice
- Doodles and Drawing
- Hand Tracing
- Object Tracing and Drawing
- Drawing a Neighboorhood
- Alphabet Scramble
1. Tic Tac Toe
How to play
Draw a simple grid of two lines down and two lines across. One player will be X and the other player will be O. The players will take turns placing Xs and Os onto the grid. The goal is to get either three Xs or three Os in a row. The first player to get three in a row is the winner.
The game can also be played with magnetic letters inside of using a marker and/or use a laminated grid so that the lines don’t have to be drawn each time. This is a good game to play with mini whiteboards that can he held on students’ laps. The grid can also be made larger to make the game more complicated for slightly older learners.
A teacher draws the grid and supplies students with markers or magnetic tiles. Student A places an X in the upper right corner tile. Student B places an O in the center, right tile, blocking Student A from going in that direction. The students continue until there is a winner or no more moves are possible. The game can be repeated several times before students become disinterred and ready to move on to another activity.
Students will be able to practice drawing two basic shapes. They will also be able to practice working together and simple, non-threatening, competition. It’s a low risk way to have students play games together.
2. Alphabet Matching
How to play
Using alphabet tiles, students will match the magnetic tiles to letters that teachers have drawn on the whiteboard. Students can either work individually or as small teams. The first student (or small group) to match all the tiles wins the game. It also does not need to be played as a competitive game. Once students have matched all the tiles, new letters can be drawn and students can begin the activity again.
This is a good game to play with mini whiteboards that can be held on students’ laps. Teachers can also create laminated alphabet letters so that they don’t have to be written out each time and the activity can easily be repeated.
A teacher draws letters on a whiteboard using a marker or hands out laminated sheets with alphabet letters printed on it. As a beginning activity, the letters can be written in alphabetical order. Teachers will then hand out the whiteboards and the magnetic tiles and will circle around the room as needed to assist students.
Once students have completed the first alphabetical version of the letters the game can be altered so that the letters do not follow a specific order and / or the letters form basic words. This will make it more challenging for students and insure that students are not relying on simple memorization.
Students will practice basic letter recognition and matching to reinforce learning the alphabet and the shapes of different letters.
3. Classroom Assistance
How to play
There are always small tasks that need to be accomplished around the classroom. Preschoolers are inherently eager to help and enjoy being able to perform special tasks. It is also important to introduce students to the importance of responsibility.
While using a whiteboard to assign tasks to students is not a game in the traditional sense, whiteboards are a great tool for assignments. Students will be able to easily see the tasks that are assigned to them and might eagerly search the whiteboard out each week when they arrive to figure out what will be expected of them that week.
Teachers can develop a list of classroom tasks, such as handing out papers, putting craft supplies away, leading the line, etc. Simple pictures of these various classroom tasks will work for students who are not reading yet. These pictures can be laminated and a small magnet added to the back. Laminated signs with student’s names can also be created.
The pictures can be placed on the whiteboard and every week the students can be assigned different tasks. It is also a great time to use different colored white board markers to color code aspects of the assignments. It will help draw the eyes of students and allow them to also focus on color recognition.
Students will learn simple responsibility and a sense of ownership over aspects of the classroom. This will allow students to feel that the classroom is an important space that they must work to maintain, just like their homes and other areas where they spend time.
Students are likely to enjoy certain tasks more than others. However, each week they will need to complete the assigned tasks. This will teach them that some chores are more enjoyable than others, but they all have to be accomplished.
Students will also learn to recognize their own names and the letters that make up their names. For students just beginning to learn the alphabet and basic words, this can be a simple way to reinforce these skills.
4. Win, Lose, or Draw
How to play
One person draws a picture. As they draw, the others in the group try to guess what is being drawn. The first person to correctly guess what is being drawn wins.
This game can be altered depending on the age and drawing skill of the players. For especially young learners, teachers can play the role of the drawer, while students guess. For slightly older students, who can draw basic objects, a student can serve as the drawer. If a student is the drawer, it is easiest for the teacher to assign the student what to draw. Otherwise students could try and change their mind half-way through the drawing or choose a friend to get the answer “right.” Students could even draw possible pictures out of a bowl to make it simple.
The teacher goes to the whiteboard and begins drawing a dog. She starts with the body and the legs. Some students suggest elephant or dinosaur. As she draws the long tail some of the students suggest cat. Once she moves on to the head with a long snout, one of the students finally guesses dog.
The teacher should positively encourage students as they make guesses, “It is not a cat, but it is a pet you might have at your house.”
The game is interactive and can keep students thinking. This is a good alternative to solo activities that require more focus and quiet, individual work. It can especially benefit students that need more active engagement. Students will learn to think quickly and use their imagination to figure out what is being created before their eyes. For students who help to draw, they will also practice their own art skills.
5. Counting Practice
How to play
Students will practice basic counting by matching the right number of objects to the number that the teacher writes on the white board. Students can work individually or in small groups. Students are given the whiteboards and either a marker or laminated dots with a magnet on the back. The students will either draw the equivalent number of dots next to each number or place the correct number of laminated dots next to the number. The first group to finish wins.
Alternatively, teachers can use laminated sheets with a variety of numbers on them, so they do not have to be written out each time.
The teacher writes a series of numbers on white boards. He does not write the same series of numbers on any board. He hands out the board to students and then circles around the room to assist, waiting for the groups to finish and double checking their work. Once all the groups have finished with the first sheet, the activity can be repeated again, giving the individual groups different sheets so they will receive a new challenge each time.
Students will be able to practice simple counting and number recognition. If they work in small groups they can also practice teamwork and cooperation skills
6. Doodles and Drawing
How to play
Students work together to create a drawing. Using individual white boards in small groups or a large whiteboard as a class, each student will take a turn adding something to the drawing. Students cannot erase something that another student has created but can otherwise add any new element to the doodle. Each student should be given a time limit for how long they can work on the doodle, such as 10-15 seconds.
At the end of the doodling, students will have to discuss what they ended up drawing. There is no need for an agreement on exactly what was drawn. In fact, coming up with multiple ideas allows students to flex their imagination and build off of one another, teachers will be amazed at what students come up with.
If working as a class, the teacher can either begin the doodle herself, or select a student to begin the doodle. If separating students into smaller groups, have one student begin the doodle. The teacher should go around the room, assisting students and making sure that no one student is monopolizing the doodle and/or pressuring other students on what to draw. If students get stuck, she should ask opened ended questions to encourage creative thinking.
Students will practice their drawing skills. They will also need to work together to create the doodle. Because there is no right or wrong answer as to what is being created and each student is free to add to the doodle in the way that they would like, students will have to work on cooperation and teamwork. Some students might get frustrated if someone else sees the doodle differently or alters the doodle in a way they were not expecting. However, students will learn to take in that emotion and move on from it if this activity is repeated on a regular basis.
7. Hand Tracing
How to play
Students will use individual whiteboards to trace their hand. Students can then add to the tracing. For instance, students can add jewelry, count their fingers, or use their hand to create a larger drawing. Once students have created a drawing, they should share what they created to the student sitting next to them.
A teacher hands out individual white boards and markers to students and assists them in doing the initial tracing of their hands. Teachers should then circulate around the room, helping students and offering encouragement. Once students have completed the drawings, encourage them to use their imagination to share their creation.
Students will be able practice their drawing and their imagination skills. Each student will create something different than the students next to them, fostering individuality. Tracing one hand, while the other holds the marker is also not as easy as it sounds. Young learns should practice motor skills like this to improve their overall hand strength and coordination.
8. Object Tracing and Drawing
How to play
Students will be given individual white boards, markers, and a range of small objects. Each student will be able to choose some of these objects to trace. They can also use the markers to add to the tracings, drawing lines, eyes, faces, or other things to the tracings. After they have created their drawing, they should share it with the students next to them.
Teachers will hand out white boards, makers, and the objects. The objects can be simple things such as popsicle sticks, buttons, and dice. As students practice tracing, the teacher should circle around the room, assisting as needed and encouraging imagination.
Students will be able to practice tracing a wide variety of materials, which can help in the overall development of fine and gross motor skills. Using different objects to create art will also introduce children to a new art medium and show them that anything can be used to create art, even things that they see and use every day. They will also use their imagination to create something unique compared to all the other students in the class.
9. Drawing a Neighborhood
How to play
This is best created on a large, horizontal whiteboard that multiple students can use at once. Students will use markers to draw a neighborhood. They can include things such as roads, houses, stores, and nature.
The project can be altered by including things such as small houses, trees, people, etc. that can be added into the landscape. These could be laminated cards, but work best as free standing, three dimensional objects.
A teacher gathers a group of students around a horizontal whiteboard. He passes out markers and other supplies to students and gives them so simple instructions. He then keeps on eye on the project, encouraging students to work together and to use their imaginations.
After students have created the neighborhood, they should spend time actively engaging with it. They can push toy cards down the street, send people on adventures, and give names to people and places. This is the only activity where it is advised to use wet erase markers instead of dry erase. This will stop the neighborhood from being accidently erased by children moving objects around in it.
Drawing like this allows students to practice motor skills and build strength that will allow them to better hold writing utensils and write letters. Students will learn to work cooperatively with one another so that they can successfully create a neighborhood. It will also allow children to think critically about the world around them and understand how to recreate it.
10. Stencil Art
How to play
This is best played on a large, horizontal whiteboard that multiple students can use at once, especially because stencils can vary in size and can be hard to accommodate on individual white boards. Students will trace a variety of stencils and can even use them to create pictures and patterns. Stencils are easy to purchase and can include shapes, objects, letters, and numbers. Because whiteboards can simply be wiped clean, students can practice tracing over and over again without needing more paper or other supplies.
A teacher gathers a group of students around a horizontal whiteboard. She passes out markers and stencils to the students and encourages them to begin tracing. She encourages students to share the stencils with one another and helps them as needed.
Tracing will help students develop motor skills that will be important to them as they work to strengthen their hands so that they can more easily hold writing utensils and write letters.
11. Alphabet Scramble
How to play
Learning the alphabet and recognizing letters is one of the first big steps to becoming a reader. Many preschoolers might know the letters of the alphabet, but might have simply memorized the alphabet song and are still not able to recognize individual letters. Using alphabet magnet tiles and whiteboards, students can practice at putting the letters in order and even, once they are ready, forming short words. Having students practice at putting the letters in order will help with understanding individual letters and how they work together. The activity can also be altered to focus on number recognition.
This works best as a small group activity. If done as a class, some students can be left behind, and if done individually some students might become frustrated. The teacher can hand out small white boards and give each group a set of alphabet magnet tiles. The teacher will explain to the students to put the letters in order and then circle the room assisting them and helping out if a group gets stuck.
If a teacher wants to focus on spelling simple words they can hand out magnetic tiles along with laminated pictures of simple to spell items, such as car, dog, or ball. Then the students can look at the pictures to figure out what word to spell.
Students will think critically about the alphabet and learn the specific letters. They will also work together to put the letters in the correct order, allowing them to practice teamwork and communication skills.
Factors to Consider
Some of the activities work best with large whiteboards at the front of the classroom, while others work best with individual lap whiteboards or horizontal table whiteboards.
Beyond the cost of a whiteboard, some activities use various magnet tiles and/or laminated cards.
There is also the cost of paper towels, markers, and unfortunately with young learners who can smash markers or leave the caps off, the cost of markers will be ongoing.
Another thing to keep in mind is to use dry erase markers instead of wet erase, as dry erase markers are much easier to clean.
If purchasing individual whiteboards is not in the budget, it is possible to create whiteboards.
Most home improvement stores carry melamine or tile boards, which are commonly used in bathroom showers.
Large slaps of the boards can be purchased for around $10-$20 dollars and then cut down to make individual boards. Making the boards yourself also allows you to make custom sized boards if you want them for a specific project.