I’m always trying to find or think of different ways for my 2nd grade reader and speller to interact with his words so he has multiple and meaningful exposure with them. While reading and spelling words in the context of reading or writing should be a child’s main diet, practicing words out of context in fun and hands-on ways is a great way to build fluency and zero in on spelling patterns and/or tricky words (like I talk about in my spelling ebook, Teaching Kids to Spell.)
Just recently, I made a blank spelling word search puzzles for my son. Why was it blank? Because HE made the puzzles. My favorite thing about these spelling word search puzzles is that he (not I) was doing all the work. And when kids do the work in fun ways, THEY benefit from all the learning.
How to Make a Spelling Word Search Puzzles
This is SO simple. I promise! It takes about 1 minute to prep and the rest of the work belongs to the child.
1- Simply print off the blank puzzle of your choice. On the FREE download (at the end of this post) you’ll find a smaller grid for 8 words and larger one for 12 words, making this an appropriate activity for kids K-5.
2- Ask your child to write his spelling words on the lines at the bottom of the puzzle. These will eventually be hidden in the puzzle by your child. If you have a list of spelling words each week, ask him to use those. My son had 6 new words and then I asked him to pick 6 more from his portable manila “word wall” folder (as seen in the photo above).
3- Once all his words have been written below, ask him to hide them in the blank grid. He can make the puzzle as difficult or as easy as he wants. Once all the words are hidden, he fills in the rest of the grid with letters. He can make this part as tricky or as easy as he’d like as well.
4- Mama (or dad/adult in the home) tries to find all the hidden spelling words. He found such joy in the fact that it took me a few minutes to find two of his words. If you use this activity in a classroom setting, ask kids to switch puzzles for some spelling practice. I’d even use it for a spelling center that YOU DON’T HAVE TO PREP! Gotta love that!
More Spelling Resources for Kids:
- Teaching Kids to Spell: A Developmental Approach to Spelling
- Hands-On Spelling Tools and Products for Kids
- Summertime Sight Word Review Games (more low-prep games for spelling words)
- Spelling Word Bump! (a fun game that works with any spelling list- click on the links at the bottom of the Thanksgiving Word Bump! post to see all the seasonal Word Bump! games we’ve done so far!)
- I also have two Pinterest boards devoted to helping kids learn SIGHT WORDS and PHONICS. I’d be honored to have you follow along!
Download the blank word search grids HERE!
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