The power of play: Using IXL games in the classroom

Lloyd Wafer is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with nearly a decade of experience as a teacher.

It’s no secret that students love to play, and now you can channel that natural enthusiasm into meaningful learning with IXL games!

Using games in the classroom empowers students to take risks, participate more, and foster a positive relationship with learning. And with IXL games, you can be confident that your students are engaged in meaningful practice that’s deepening their fluency in key concepts. 

With more than 120 educational games to enjoy, young learners can deepen their knowledge while sparking a love of learning. Best of all, IXL games quickly and easily integrate into a wide variety of instructional models. Get ready to enjoy the magical feeling of hearing your students enthusiastically plead to learn and practice more! 

Here are some fun and easy ways to incorporate IXL games into your whole group, small group, or independent practice routines.   

Reinforce your instruction

Each IXL game provides hands-on practice in essential math or ELA topics, which makes them a great way to practice concepts you’ve been covering in your instruction. For example, did you just complete a whole group lesson on one-to-one counting? Students can transition to playing a game of “Birthday Candle Counting” to develop their fluency with the concept.  

Host an educational game show

Transform your classroom into a live educational “game show” by projecting with the whole group and playing through a game collectively! You can call on students to share responses that you then input, or have students rotate up and take the controls while their peers help and cheer them on. 

Create friendly competitions

Some games, like “Math Man Jr.,” allow for varying high scores. This creates a great opportunity to set up friendly competitions where students play games multiple times to see who can get the highest score! The fun challenge will give your students an extra boost of motivation to return to the same game again and again for additional practice.   

Use as bell-ringer and early finisher activities

Games can also be a natural transition option during bell work or warm-up time and a wonderful option for early finishers. You can pick targeted games that connect to your current unit and guide students to focus on these games, or you could choose to leave it completely open to student choice. Rest assured that all of IXL’s games provide valuable learning!

Play within station rotations

If you utilize learning centers or stations, games will fit beautifully into these routines! You could have students practice independently at these stations, or have gamer competitions where students compete for the highest score among their group at each station. 

Control game access in your settings

There may be certain times of the day or week when it would be helpful to remove the temptation to play IXL games (such as during whole-group instruction). You can always toggle access to games on or off within your “Profile and Settings” in your teacher account.

Motivate more learning

Finally, games can be a wonderful classroom incentive to celebrate reaching a goal or completing a task, and can integrate into whatever incentive structures you’re currently using, such as sticker charts or points systems. And if you’re looking for fun ways to motivate students during weekends and vacations days, IXL games are a fun practice option to keep students sharp and minimize vacation “slide.” Power-up your practice with IXL games! 

Explore all games

Ready to start playing? You can find IXL games at the bottom of the Pre-K through 5th grade landing pages, or just dive into learning games for each grade level below!


Pre-K Pre-K
Kindergarten Kindergarten
First grade First grade
Second grade Second grade
Third grade Third grade
Fourth grade Fourth grade
Fifth grade Fifth grade