Crosswords for Kids

As well as being fun to do, solving crosswords can be a great way for your child to develop their vocabulary and spelling skills.

Crosswords for Kids

Crosswords for kids help your child to learn about the meaning of words and how to use them in sentences. To solve a crossword puzzle, your child needs to search for alternative words, evaluate word choices and differentiate between homophones (words which sound the same but are spelt differently eg pear and pair). These are all useful skills which help to enhance your child's vocabulary and reinforce difficult spellings. If your child is struggling with a word, they can turn to a dictionary for help, thereby helping to develop their dictionary skills.

Here are some excellent on-line crosswords for kids created by grade level so that your child can practise spelling words appropriate for their age. I also love these homophone crosswords for kids.

There are plenty of websites which enable you to create your own crosswords for kids. I particularly like this crossword maker at The Teachers Corner.

Recently I decided to make up a crossword to help my children practise difficult spellings. Using lists of words commonly misspelled by primary children (for example, the words marked with an asterisk in this list), I chose twenty words which my children also have difficulty spelling correctly. The words I chose were:

  • aunt, bear, beautiful, caught, different, enough, fourth, friend, heard, little, name, people, pretty, school, should, straight, theirs, view, wear, white.

Before attempting the crossword, however, I wanted to give my children a chance to become familiar with the spellings of these words. For this purpose, I created a wordsearch.

Wordsearches for Kids

Children can solve wordsearch puzzles without paying any particular attention to spelling by just mechanically looking for one letter after another. So if you want to use a wordsearch puzzle as a learning mechanism, it is important to sit with your child while they are doing it and help them to take notice of the spelling patterns of the words they are looking for.

First I created this wordsearch for kids which you can download here or click on the image below.

wordsearches for kids

For this exercise, we started by looking at the word list and grouping the words according to similar attributes or spelling patterns.

First my children identified all the words with double letters (different, little, pretty, school). They started looking for these words first since the double letters made them easier to spot in the grid. Then they looked for words with common vowel letters:

  • "ea": bear, beautiful, heard, wear
  • "ou": enough, fourth, should
  • "ie": friend, view
  • "au": aunt, caught

Finally they looked for the words which didn't fit with any pattern: name, people, straight, theirs and while.

As my children looked for each word, I made sure they sounded it out and when they found the word they said the word again while tracing the letters with their fingers.

If you want to make your own wordsearch puzzle, you can use this word search maker.

Crosswords for Kids

Now that my children were a bit more familiar with the spelling of these tricky words, it was time for the crossword. I created this crossword for kids which you can download here or click on the image below.

crosswords for kids

I then asked my children to try to solve the crossword puzzle, reminding them that the answers were all words which they had just found in the wordsearch puzzle. When they struggled to spell a word, I encouraged them to work it out using one of the following strategies:

  • I asked them whether they remembered how we had grouped the word in the wordsearch. For example, when struggling to spell little, it helped to remember that we had grouped it with different, pretty and school because it has a double letter.

  • We used the Alphabetic Code Chart from Phonics International which lists the phonic sounds with many of their different spelling alternatives. For example, when my son was unsure how to spell the \air\ sound in wear, we looked at the chart and saw that he could choose from -air, -are, -ear or -ere. This helped him work out the correct spelling.

  • If the above strategies didn't work we used the Look-Cover-Write method for memorising word spellings. My child looked at the word, taking care to notice difficult parts such as double letters, silent letters or unusual vowel combinations. Then we covered the word up and they wrote it on the crossword from memory.

As you can see, crosswords can be a great way to fit in lots of learning moments!

If your child enjoyed this crossword and wants to try more, I can recommend these fun books of crosswords for kids.

The Kids' Book of Crosswords The Kids' Book of Crosswords book depository amazon by Gareth Moore contains over 150 crosswords for your child to puzzle over. The book starts with easier puzzles suitable for a 6 or 7 year old and then the puzzles get progressively harder, with the hardest crosswords ideal for children aged around 10 or 11 years old. The small size of this book makes it ideal for travelling.

Amazing Crosswords for Kids Amazing Crosswords for Kids book depository amazon is one of a series of books of crossword puzzles for kids by Trip Payne. You might find you need to help your child with some of the clues, but most are just right for the recommended age range of 8 to 12 years old. Some clues are about American brands, personalities or TV shows, however, so this book is more appropriate for children familiar with the American culture.

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