Before playing the games/activities below, introduce the signs to students and ensure that they are signing them properly


Suitable for Level 1 (Prep)

Simon Says

All stand up. The leader (Simon) picks certain verb action signs and others have to follow exactly if Simon signs “S SAYS”. Those who followed the action without “S SAYS” sits down. Good for introduction on Transposition.


Sign-a-long Story Book

Use a big book with lots of characters and actions. Introduce signs for the most used words in the book, e.g. DOG, BOY, etc. Sign and mime as you “read aloud” the book, and have the children copy you and participate in the characters’ actions and signs.


Class Mix and Match Cards

Students sit in a circle. Place sign cards and their matching pictures or words. Students take turns in finding matching pairs and lining them up in the middle of the circle.


Suitable for Levels 1 & 2 (Prep - Grade 2)


Hot and Cold

Teach students three signs: WARM, HOT, COLD. One person wait outside while others hide an object. The WARM, HOT, COLD signs are given by other students give hints where to find the object - when the person comes back inside to look for the object, and moves away from the object, the students sign COLD. If nearer to the object, WARM. If the person is almost where the object is, HOT. Teach sign stresses.


Whole Class Arrange in Order

Give each students a sign card, and they arrange themselves in alphabetical order. Afterwards, they all sign it out in turns.



Students in threes or four, using Auslan picture sign cards and matching picture cards. Students put cards face-down, mix them up and taking turns flipping over two cards and matching them. If they made a match they can keep the cards.


Guess What I'm Holding

After students have learnt the signs of various objects, put objects in a sack. A volunteer takes out an object, which is hidden with a piece of cloth. The class signs what they think the object is. The student with the object gives a YES or NO sign.


Dress Up Competition

Place clothes, e.g. hat, sunglasses, gumboots, raincoat, jumper, scarf, etc. on a table. Have two teams of six students lined up away from each other with the table in the middle. Label the students 1 to 6. Sign, “HOT….6” and the student number 6 from both groups rushes to the table and quickly find the summer clothing item and put it on, such as cap, or sunglasses. The one to put it on first wins. Can use different signs such as, “Wear something RED…” or the clothing item itself, e.g. "GLOVES".

Suitable for Levels 3 & 4 (Grades 3 - 6)

Auslan Whispers

Four groups, lined up, the four in front of the line face you, the others face in opposite direction. Each person at the front of the line is given an Auslan sign or message. They then turn and tap on the shoulder of the next person in their line and give the message as correctly as they can, and so on, until the last person in the line receives the message.  If the last persons is able to sign the message correctly, their line receives a point.
The Auslan messages can be single signs, facial expressions,
mime, alphabet, numbers, instructions, etc.


Hang Man

The person guesses a word and writes lines underneath the invisible letters of the word. The rest of the class signs a random alphabet. Each time an alphabet guessed is not in the word, the person draws a hangman line. The one who correctly guesses the whole word gets to be the next person to write on board.


Pac Man

Students spread around the room. The Auslan teacher makes a sign or spells a word – students put their hands up if they know. The first hand up to get it right moves one step closer to the nearest person standing next to them. The goal is to tap the others on the shoulder and put them out of the game. The last person standing wins.


Race to the Table

After the students have been familiarised with sign categories (eg. signs in FOOD, such as APPLE, ORANGE, LUNCH, etc), group into four teams. Put picture sign cards on a table a distance away. A student from each team come up to the front. The Auslan teacher signs a word, once the sign is correctly identified on a picture chart, the two students rush to the table and find the correct picture sign card. The person with the correct sign card gets a point for his/her team.


Word on the Back

Tape word cards on each student’s back. All the students have to describe and mime to each other what the word on other’s back looks like, until all have an idea. Afterwards each student writes on the board what they think their word is.


Picture on the Back

Tape picture cards one on each student’s back. All the students have to describe to each other what the picture on other’s back looks like, until all have an idea. Afterwards each student draw on the board what they think their picture looks like.


Wise Man Fingerspelling and Sign

Two teams, line up. Fingerspell a word to the two people in front of their lines, the first one to point to the correct picture on the chart remains in the game and goes to the back of their line. The other is out. Continue until the last remaining person wins.


Wise Man Fingerspelling and Marker

Two teams, line up. Fingerspell a word to the two people in front of their lines, and the first one to race to the whiteboard and write the word correctly gets a point. Good for words where there are no signs, e.g. names, places, and initialisation (KK = kitchen).


Who Began?

Students sit in a circle and play a mirror game. One person signs in a rhythmic pattern, and all to follow suit. When the class is familiar with playing the game, a volunteer goes out of the room while a leader is chosen. The volunteer comes back in the circle and tries to identify the leader as the leader keeps changing the rhythmic signs and others follow suit.


Human Battleships

Groups of students stand around their tables (ships). Student A picks Student B from another ship and fingerspell a word. If Student B gets the answer in sign right, Student A sits. Once a whole ship is sitting that ship is sunk.


Go Fish

Two sets of picture cards. Students can play in twos or threes. Each has seven cards. Student A asks student B, “YOU HAVE MOTHER?’ student B: “NONE’, student A picks up a card from pile. Student B asks student C, “YOU HAVE…?” and so on. If there is a matching pair, they put it down on table.



Four groups, one person from each group is shown a picture card. They go back to their groups and try to mime the picture that is on the card. If the group guesses it correctly before others, they get a point. Each student in the group takes turns.


Speedy Revision

Pairs sit and face each other with a pen and paper. Decide on a category to cover, e.g. family, food, etc. In one minute, the student has to fingerspell and sign as many words as s/he can and his/her partner writes them down. Afterwards, tally the number of signs covered. Reverse player and continue. Add points. The group with most points wins.


Productive and Receptive Fingerspelling

Students practice on their fingerspelling reception and expression themselves – ask students to write down their own list of ten words, and then work in pairs, the first student to spell while the other writes, and vice-versa. Afterward, students correct their answers.


Brainstorm Iconic Vocabs

In groups, students are given a category to brainstorm iconic vocabs, and share with class, e.g. SPORTS, HOUSE, ANIMALS, MUSIC, OCCUPATION, etc.


Group Mime Story

Each group is given a short story, and they have to use mime to show what the story is about. They can mime in unison or have individual roles.


Class Survey

Students collect information from others in Auslan, to create a graph display and give an Auslan presentation on their survey (using numbers, BOYS, GIRLS, and related signs).


Secret Club

Think of a secret sign and others try to enter in by guessing various signs. Those who can come in are the ones with the same secret password, e.g. signs with “B” handshape. Other password families can be: school related, e.g. book, hat, library, etc. (In English, they use words that ends with “ed”, or words beginning with “H”, and so on).


Read Back Skills

Fingerspell or sign words from a list, and have students write them down. Write down the answers on the board for students to correct themselves or their partner’s paper.


Guess the Classifier

Students sit in circle, and volunteer to describe something using classifiers, showing its shape, size and texture. Others guess what it is and give the correct sign. The person describing the thing nods or shakes head.


Match Pictures with Signs

Students work in pairs, one with a list of words, and other with matching pictures. The student with the list of words, signs word to the partner, and the partner finds the correct picture and places it in the correct order, and so on.

Suitable for Level 4 (Grades 5 & 6)

Clap and Click

Students sit in a circle. They pick their favourite signs. Go through each student’s signs. Make a motion rhythm that repeats over and over – clap on lap, clap hands, and click hands. Once students are comfortable with the rhythm, sign one of the student’s signs on the click rhythm, eg. TURTLE. The person with the TURTLE sign has to sign another person’s sign on the next click while keeping up with the rhythm as with the rest of the class.


Charades (Who Am  I?)

A person sits in front of class, with their back to the whiteboard. Write a familiar famous person’s name on the board above the student. The rest of the class mimes the famous person until the student correctly guesses the famous person.


Relay Races

Four teams, line up, a distance from the board. Give a HMLOE, eg. HANDSHAPE #1. A student from each team race up to the board and write down a word, eg. BOY (signs that use HANDSHAPE #1) and race back up and gives the marker to the other person in their team, until all have a go, or the first to 10 words are written.


Class Mime and Sign Drama

Whole class practice on a mime and sign drama for the younger children to watch.


Cause and Effect

Groups of four students stand in a circle and tell a story using tokens and surrogates, e.g. starting with a jogging action using surrogates (real-life motion). The next student in the circle has to use tokens (using fingers) to show the person running, and then use a surrogate action to show what happens next, e.g. falling down, and the next student shows it in tokens, and so on. Students can work in groups of four to show to class.



Hide your object. Use Auslan directions to direct the partner to the hidden object (don’t point and give away the game!). Students can work in pairs, one hiding and describing and the other finding the object.


Fluency of ABC’s and Names

Students practice on the fluency of their ABCs. They can practice fingerspelling their names in a smooth, fluent way. Show how vowels work by lifting up the fingers of the insubordinate hand and pointing to these fingers. Write down a list of words on the board for pairs to work with to improve the quality of their fingerspelling.


Handshapes Stories

Groups of four use three specific handshapes to create a sign or mime story. Afterwards, they can share their story with others.

Suitable for all levels (Prep - Grade 6)


Each student has a bingo chart and tokens. The Auslan teacher takes a picture or word card out of a container and signs it to class. Those with the matching picture put a token on their bingo chart. Have a A3 poster with all the bingo pictures on it to refer to if students have difficulty remembering what the signs represent. The person who has tokens in a straight line on their bingo charts stands up and signs PAH! Game over, swap  bingo charts, and start again.


Time your Alphabet

Students in pairs time how fast their alphabet is, and keep a record.



Line students up one end of court. Each student comes up with a vocabulary sign of a specific category (or handshape, location, etc). Two students stand in the middle of the court and sign a vocabulary. Those on the line with the same vocabulary (or handshape, location, etc) must dodge to the other end. This continues for everyone (or left overs) to run to the other end. Those tagged must stay on spot and become as octopus, trying to tag the remaining students without moving from their spot.


Wise Man Sign and Point

Two teams, line up. Sign a word to the two people in front of their lines, the first one to point to the correct picture on the chart remains in the game and goes to the back of their line. The other is out. Continue until the last remaining person wins.


What's Missing?

Bring various items on the table, and have students learn signs for each one. Ask students to close their eyes. Remove an item and hide it. Stomp on floor. Students try to identify and sign the missing item.


Painting Handshapes

Students select an animal to paint using the animals’ handshape prints.


Emotion Mirrors

Students in pairs play mirrors with each other, using facial expressions, gestures, etc. They can devise a dramatic story to show to class afterwards.


Guess This Sign

After students have learnt new signs, a volunteer to go up to front and select a sign from the board and signs it to the class. The class tries to guess what sign it is.


Iconic Sign

Write iconic signs on board, and let the students guess what the signs are. Example – door, stairs, banana, etc


Inflect the Verb

Write down some verbs, and ask students to demonstrate on how to make it excited, bored, tiring, slow, fast, etc. Use this opportunity to explain how signs change using facial expression, intensity, speed, and size.


HOLME Group Photos

Group photos – a group think of signs with a common handshape, take photos of these signs, then make a poster of their handshape signs. Other groups do the same thing for different handshapes, or for orientation, location, movement and expression. The posters are put up on the wall for classroom reference.


Translate Poems

Ask class teacher what are the students’ favourite poems. Have the poem on A3 sized paper and ask students to brainstorm how to sign it visually in Auslan. Afterwards, videotape students signing the poem.