A fun activity to do that allows students to practice syntax in a kinesthetic way is a grammar line up. Here are the instructions:
1. Think of 3-5 sentences that build in complexity. Perhaps you start out with “I went to the store.” and finish with “I went to the store last weekend with my mother-in-law to buy some fresh and juicy strawberries for dessert.” Once you have the sentences in mind (you can also have the students create these sentences once they are familiar with the activity), write each word on its own card/piece of paper.
2. Give each student 1 card/paper with a word on it. For longer sentences you will need to have more students.
3. Have students work as a group to create a correct sentence with the proper word order.
4. Then, act as a reporter and go down the line ‘interviewing’ each word/student to find out why they are in line at that point and what their job is in the sentence.
5. You can also give the students A LOT of words on cards in a big pile. Then have students choose their own words and line up to create sentences of their own. Also, challenge them to move certain words around and discuss the how that change can effect the meaning/correctness of the phrase.
Try this out! It is super fun :).