Dreaded Analogies

Perhaps because of their association with standardized tests, analogies are not at the top of most students’ lists of favorite English language arts activities. They begin innocently enough: blue jay is to bird as shark is to fish. However, they soon progress to far more complex ideas: monologue : actor : : speech : politician. Now, students are presented with both complex ideas and unusual forms. What are all those colons about, anyway?

Why would we torture students so? Students use their own analogies every day; they just don’t realize it. If students stop thinking about analogies by their school and test name, they might become a little less daunting. An analogy is simply a detailed comparison. For example, you’re hoarding your candies like a squirrel with acorns. You’re running faster than the wind blows. This makes the analogy you : run : : wind : blows, but it looks much less scary.

Analogies are a fact of life in standardized tests, but there are lots of great reasons beyond tests to work with analogies. Understanding analogies requires thinking hard about many aspects of the words within them. Deciding which comparisons match in order to answer a multiple choice question requires an understanding of the words’ meanings, their parts of speech, and the relationships between the word pairs. Working with analogies, like working with synonyms and antonyms, can help students become more aware of subtle differences in meanings between similar words.

Vocabulary.co.il has supports to help you learn analogies in a fun way. Analogy video lessons help you understand just what an analogy is and what types of analogies there are. Games at every level help you identify different types of analogies and help you match the parts of analogies. So don’t fear analogies, have fun with them instead!

For even more analogy resources, check out the resources on our sister site, VocabularySpellingCity!


September is for Spelling

The school year’s begun and there’s a lot of “new” going around – new teachers, new classrooms, maybe even a new school. That’s a lot of adjustments to make, especially when you’re used to the much more relaxed pace of summer vacation.

One way to get the school year off to a great start is to get involved in good study habits right away. Spelling games help you practice and find success right away at the beginning of the year. They’re also a great way to practice important skills while having fun!



At vocabulary.co.il there’s a whole section of spelling games grouped by grade. There’s nothing easier than clicking to play. Players can alphabetize the months of the year, practice words from classic literature, or even learn words for the SAT, simply by playing games.

Looking for a way to learn your weekly spelling words? Head over to our sister site, VocabularySpellingCity.com. There, you can enter your weekly word list and choose games to learn, play, and practice. Get your school year off to a great spelling start with vocabulary.co.il and VocabularySpellingCity!


Got a Plan?

It’s a new school year. Are you ready?

Successful teachers and learners make a plan to help them navigate a new school year. Here are three websites with great resources to help students and parents set and keep study and practice goals for the new year.

  • Vocabulary.co.il Okay, you’ve discovered on your own that this is a fun, free site. It’s packed with interactive games to help learners of all ages with vocabulary, spelling, and even typing games. There’s practice for SATs or foreign language study and funny brain games like HigPig, too.
  • VocabularySpellingCity is an award-winning learning website with both free and premium versions. Classroom teachers and homeschool parents love being able to use their own lists with fun, interactive games. And premium membership gives teachers and parents grading and recordkeeping features that save you time.
  • LearningGamesforKids.com has loads of  interactive games and also songs and videos. It’s great interactive content for preschool on up! Games are sorted by subject so it’s easy to choose games to review needed skills or follow interests.

Set those new-school-year goals and use interactive websites to help you and your students meet them.


Organized Learning with Symbaloo

There are a lot of social media sites out there. Some sites are primarily for connecting with friends while others help you share ideas and interests with strangers. Symbaloo is a site we’ve recently discovered that’s a great organizer for students, educators, parents, and homeschoolers.

Symbaloo users create webmixes like the one above. Each button on the webmix links to a favorite or commonly used link. When you need to go to that site, just click the button and Symbaloo will take you there. You can make your own. You can also use premade webmixes. Here are some of our favorites:

Save your favorite webmix to your home page so that all of your favorite websites are available every time you log on. Share them with your students, or let your students create their own. It’s a great way to organize learning resources. Want to get started? Register for a free Symbaloo account here.

It’s Summer- Let Your Hair Down!

Do you remember when idioms like “Let your hair down” were mysterious grown-up speak? Once you began to learn them it was like being invited into the club and knowing a special secret code. Guessing and learning idioms is great summer fun that keeps students’ brains active. And it’s not all fun and games, idioms turn up in newspaper articles, literature, and even standardized tests, so understanding them can only be to your advantage.

Slang Game

Idiom games are great for English Language Learners, too. They’ll help take the mystery out of these non-literal slang phrases. Start with The Slang Game and then move on to more games that feature Animal Idioms, Food Idioms, and even Money Idioms.

Your kids or students will have loads of fun playing, and when they get back to school they can tell their teacher that in a nutshell, on their summer vacation they had a ball, lived the life of Riley, and had a whale of a time, that is, except for the day when it rained cats and dogs and the one when they opened a can of worms they didn’t see coming. Happy word play!

Jump Start Science Vocabulary!

Do you want to give your K-2 students a head start on learning? Students don’t necessarily hear science vocabulary in everyday conversation, and unfamiliar vocabulary can make it difficult for students to take in science lessons and activities. When students are exposed to new vocabulary before the lesson, they can take in the words and focus on the new information.

Summer’s a great time to expose kids to new vocabulary. Here are some games from our sister site Science4Us to help your rising K-2 student learn science vocabulary. They’re also great review activities for grades 3-5.


SillyBulls is a vocabulary and syllable game to help familiarize students with science vocabulary. Try SillyBulls to learn vocabulary that relates to states of matter. Players build words from their syllable parts and hear each word’s definition as they play.


Science4Us also uses literature to present new terms and concepts. Play “Cheer for the Planet” to learn new vocabulary and tips for protecting the environment.

Science4Us shows you how to make summer learning fun. It gives you a jump start on the new school year!


Summer Is the Time to Play

Summer is a great time for active play at the beach, on a mountain, or around town on your bike, but summer has its quiet times, too. Sometimes it’s nice to just relax with a book, take a nap in the shade, or play a laid back game.

Whether you’re hiding from the sun or whiling away a rainy summer evening, word play is a great way to have some quiet fun while keeping your synapses firing. At vocabulary.co.il we have some great word play games for kids or adults looking for challenging fun.

For younger players or for groups try Hig Pig and Higgy Piggy, two rhyming riddle games. Finding the answers gives your brain great exercise, and once you’ve solved them, the answers will give your laughing muscles a workout, too.


For older players who want a serious challenge, try Clueless Crossword. Start with a grid of boxes. A few letters are filled in. Click on a box and see all the boxes that have the same letter. Fill in letters until you’ve solved the puzzle. Are you up for the challenge?

Orange = Anaranjado

Have you ever wondered just how much of a language you’ve learned?



I’ve never studied Spanish, but I’ve picked up a few words here and there. In fact, I was amazed at how many I got right when I tried Fill It In: English Spanish Vocabulary. The game is simple, for each Spanish word, players type their guess for its meaning in English. If you really don’t know, click Hint to see the translation. What a fun way to test your knowledge and even learn a few new words!



At vocabulary.co.il there are games for practicing German, French, Latin, and abbreviations. There are also several games for practicing Spanish words, including games for practicing math words or color names. These games work as well for English speakers learning Spanish as for Spanish speakers learning English!

So whether you’re practicing things you’ve learned in class, testing your knowledge, or simply choosing games as a way to get started learning something new, vocabulary.co.il has a foreign language game for you!

Do Opposites Really Attract?

Who’s to say? I’m not sure anyone really knows. Here’s one thing educators do know: identifying words that are opposites, or antonyms, helps students build their vocabulary and their understanding of the meaning of individual words. Antonyms are a great tool to help students develop more sophisticated vocabularies to use in conversation, reading, and writing.

At vocabulary.co.il there’s a collection of antonym games to help students develop their vocabulary. Players have fun matching antonym pairs, and there are elementary, middle school, and high school levels of play.

At the elementary level there’s also Antonym or Synonym, the game that asks players which type of pair they’re seeing. It’s a game that keeps players thinking about words and developing vocabulary as they play.

Check out the antonyms games today, and play with opposites. If you play long enough, maybe you’ll answer the age-old question for yourself.

Build Your Academic Vocabulary

Do you know your academic vocabulary? You know, words like analyze and deduce or refer and infer–words that come up often in textbooks and classroom conversations but seldom in everyday conversations.

Mastering academic vocabulary helps students comprehend content in the classroom and raise their scores on standardized tests. Academic vocabulary is an important focus for English Language Learners, too, since it’s a piece that can hold back understanding in the classroom.



SAT games on vocabulary.co.il can help you learn the academic vocabulary you need to know to succeed academically. Try SAT games to develop advanced vocabulary. For example, SAT Math Vocabulary Line Match is a great game for practicing math terms.

For even more Academic Vocabulary Words, visit our sister site, VocabularySpellingCity.com. You’ll find 30 pre-made lists you can play with VocabularySpellingCity games. All for free! Play with academic vocabulary this summer and get ready to ace your next school year!