Lesson Plan for Synonyms

Mother helping daughter with homework

Trying to teach your kids about synonyms? Whether you're working to improve writing or simply teaching the concept, this important lesson is easy with the two lesson plans that follow. To download and print, right click on the image. If you need help, there is a handy guide.

Synonym Mitten Game

If you are introducing synonyms for the first time, or trying to help your student master the concept, this lesson plan helps you create a game that will keep kids learning and entertained.

mittens game
Download the synonym game.

Teaching the Lesson

  1. After you discuss what synonyms are with your child, help them create matching mitten cards that will help them pair synonyms.
  2. Print the mittens in the lesson plan on card stock or other heavy paper. You may want to give your child colored pencils or crayons to color the mittens.
  3. The lesson plan provides both mittens with words already printed on them and blank mittens for you to create your own synonym pairs.
  4. Children who are especially visual learners will benefit from coloring the synonym pairs in the same way. For example, they could color 'bad' and 'evil' with red stripes or 'beautiful' and 'pretty' with green polka dots.
  5. Have children work on mixing the mittens up and pairing synonyms together.


Once your children have the idea of synonyms and what they are down pat, try these fun variations:

  • Create cards for your child using the word lists in the lesson plan. A sheet of blank mittens is included in the back.
  • Try playing memory with the synonym cards. Place them all word-side-down on the table, and when your child flips one card over, he'll have to find the synonym of that word.
  • Challenge your child to go through his writing and find synonyms for 'common' words such as bad, good, etc.
  • Engage in a little friendly competition. Choose a word and have your kids take turns giving a synonym for that word. Whoever is the last one to be able to give a good synonym gets a point, and the most points win.

Using Synonyms to Improve Writing

One way to encourage elementary-aged children to improve their writing is help them get out of the vocabulary doldrums. Words that are overused like 'good,' 'bad,' 'said,' or 'tell,' can easily be replaced with a synonym that will help their writing pop. Have students create a lapbook that is full of vocabulary options for when they cannot find just the right word.

synonym lapbook
Download the synonym lapbook lesson

Teaching the Lesson

  1. Ideally, start the discussion with a selection of great poetry or literature with rich vocabulary. Show your student how the words help make the writing richer.
  2. Next, have your student pull out his writing. Ask him if he sees any words he can substitute to make the writing better. If he needs help, make some suggestions. There is a suggested word list in the lesson plan, but any word your student wants to find synonyms for will work.
  3. The lesson includes a foldable template as well as directions for assembling the lapbook. Before you cut out the template, write a word for which you want to find synonyms on the front. Then in each square, write a synonym for that word. Cut on the solid lines and fold on the dotted lines, accordion-style, and glue the back to the book.
  4. Encourage your student to come back to the lapbook again and again when he needs to find just that right word in his writing.

Synonym Practice

The best way to cement the concepts into your student's mind is to practice daily. Whether it's playing a game, using worksheets, or pulling out a homemade book, if you practice and talk about the concept daily for a few minutes each day, your student will soon be a master with synonyms and have a rapidly expanding vocabulary.

Lesson Plan for Synonyms