Just because it is summer time does not mean all the learning has to stop. Need something to keep your beginning readers busy this summer? Try word searches. Word searches are our new busy activity. My 6 year old loves them and we can make them as easy or hard as we want. Even my 4 year old is starting to be interested in them!
You can make your own word search or find plenty of pre-made ones on the internet. The great part about making your own word search is that you can make them as big or small as you want, based on a theme (fish, letter of the week, thing found in the sky, etc.) or use words you want them to practice and you get to determine the difficulty level.
The easiest way to make your own word search is to use a program like Excel that has a pre-made grid when you open a new file. With the lines already visible it saves a lot of time on spacing and making all the lines the same. All I have to add is a thick border line to the outside of the word search area and create a list of words to use. When I print all the lines except the border are no longer visible.
Here is 1 example using words from the Power Words list:
Puzzles for my 6 year old are usually around 9 lines wide and 8 rows long, sometimes wider or longer depending on the length of the words. Using Calibri font in size 24 seemed to look the best and works the easiest when I am creating the puzzles.
Here is another example of a word search I made with shapes. Adding pictures to words are great for helping younger/pre kindergarten children recognize words with the pictures.
To be honest, my 4 year old likes to do them because her older brother is doing them. Although she does not quite understand what she is finding, she loves the hunt! My 6 year old gets to practice reading more as he has been doing a lot of reading out loud on his own.
I can never seem to keep enough word puzzles on hand. Making my own takes less than 5 minutes and he loves to do it because I made it just for him!