Word Formation Games


What Are Word Formation Games?

Word formation games are games based on the creation of words. People might be using tiles with letters printed on them, writing out words based on the letters given to them, or be trying to combine roots to invent new words. Word formation games are a useful tool for those learning how to read, write and spell.

Here are a few of the most popular word formation games.

Word Search

Word searches are a good way to reinforce proper spelling and reading by sight. After all, you’re looking for the properly spelled version of the word in a field of text and circling it. Word search puzzles can be created using tools and apps. They’re a good complement to vocabulary lessons, since you have the kids playing a game using the words instead of drilling regarding the definitions.

Word Unscrambles

Word unscrambles have no relationship to vocabulary unless you’re using the definition of the word as the hint. They tend to emphasize spelling and generally be fun. You can use a word unscrambler tool like the one here to create word scrambles your kids can solve. Unlike word searches, the unscrambling doesn’t take up as much space on the page, so you can include several on a worksheet before moving on to other lessons.

Building Blocks

Building blocks is a game where you use either letter tiles to spell out words or use combinations of word roots to spell out new words. For example, children might turn a singular word into a plural by adding an “s” or “es” to the end. Parents and teachers can explain the rules such as when you use a given plural ending. You will have to teach your children which words can have an “ing” on the end and which can have an “ly” on the end. But you can also spell out a wide variety of words and have the children spell them out.

You could use Scrabble tiles or Bananagrams to get the kids to practice spelling out words. You can point out their mistakes and give them additional examples of what they could do with the tiles in front of them. If they already know the spelling, you can still cover the proper pronunciation of the words they’ve spelled out. You could even introduce more advanced subjects like anagrams and palindromes. Let them see the word inside of the word. This can improve their vocabulary and their pronunciation such as when they recognize the word “worldly” in the longer word “otherworldly”. You can also use the tiles to explain the concept of compound words.


Crosswords ask you to identify a word based on its definition. That makes crossword puzzles an excellent choice when you’re covering vocabulary. It is also hard to complete the crossword if you don’t know how to spell the word correctly. However, crosswords require a certain level of literacy, so they’re not an option for very young children. This is in contrast to word unscrambles and word searches that first graders could do.

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