Punctuation Games On Parentheses For Kids

Students practice punctuation by playing online interactive parentheses games.

Parentheses are often confusing for children, for their purpose is to enclose supplementary material, such as explanations, afterthoughts or clauses, independent of the sentence. Understanding how parentheses usages work within the framework of sentence structure and among other forms of punctuation is often positively and easily expressed to children through activities and games.

“Gizmo Parentheses Quest”

“Gizmo Parentheses Quest,” found at YoYo Games online, is an entertaining and educational free parentheses game for kids. Use the arrow keys to move the Gizmo character within the field. The object of the game is to practice placing parentheses in correct areas. Follow the prompts as the game progresses, carefully placing parentheses where they belong. Two full parentheses placed correctly are required before a player may advance to the next level.

Parentheses Hangman

Enjoy playing Hangman with a twist. Draw a hangman on a board. Prepare a hangman sentence that only you see including two children’s name from the class to make it more personal, such as, “Did Kelly enjoy the cupcakes (the ones Steven brought last Friday)?” Insert one name inside of the parentheses and one outside of them to enhance the entertainment. Write the sentence on the board beneath the hangman, leaving out the student’s name inside of the parentheses, as well as the entire section within the parentheses. An example from the earlier complete sentence would read: “Did ____ enjoy the cupcakes (____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ )?” Instead of choosing letters in Parentheses Hangman, students will choose words. Write words in a word bank on the right side of the board for children to choose the words from. Choosing the student’s name inside of the parentheses will be a clue. Write more words than needed to make the game challenging. Use some spelling words in the word bank to overlap spelling review with the game.

Punctuation Paintball

Separate the class into two teams. Pass out preprinted sentences missing some punctuation and parentheses. Call one student from each team to the front of the classroom to write their sentences out correctly on the board. Score will be kept on one large poster board, divided in half with one team depicted on each side. Each team is represented by a color. You hold two bingo daubers, one of each of those colors, in your hand at the beginning of the game. The bingo daubers represent paintball paint, used to keep score within the game on the poster board. If a team member writes out a sentence with all punctuation correct, he gets to grab the bingo dauber and splat it on the other team’s side of the poster, thus “hitting” them with the paintball in the color of the team that won the point. The team with the least paint on its side of the poster wins.

Parentheses Puzzle Partners

Instruct students to write a sentence in large letters on paper, including an afterthought between parentheses in preparation for this entertaining mix and match game. Ask students to then cut their sentences apart, cutting the parentheses area out of the sentence. When the game begins, students will leave all sentence portions on their desks except for the area inside of parentheses, for other students to match their parentheses sections with. When students are ready, set a timer (you choose how long). When the game begins, students carry their parentheses sections only and race through the classroom in a quest to find a sentence to find a partner sentence with their parentheses. Sentences don’t have to make perfect sense. Silly sentences make the game more fun. When the timer goes off, students stop where they stand and read the sentences in their hands.