So, I pinned this idea a while ago because I thought that it would be a great activity to do with my students during Writer's Workshop. This idea originally came from Hello Literacy. I went to a local store and "gathered" a lot of different colored paint chips. Since we were working on narrative writing, I did a lesson about using more descriptive language to spice up our writing. (We focus a lot on using descriptive words so our writing won't be boring.) So, we decided to brainstorm some more "colorful" words to replace some of the same old words that we use a lot in writing. Examples: sad, happy, pretty, ugly, said, fun, nice--- you get the point. I modeled using the word idea. As a class we brainstormed a list of words that are synonyms for idea, but are a bit more interesting. As we brainstormed I wrote them down on a sheet of paper. Then, we picked the six words that we thought were the best and I wrote them on the paint chips. The students got to work in pairs to brainstorm synonyms for their words and write them on the paint chips. They did a great job. (Hint: you might want a list of synonyms ready to help out the kids that can't think of new words.)
I teach 3rd Grade, but I think any grade 2 and up could do well with this lesson. Just change the words to match your students abilities.
Here's a close up example of a few words the kids did.