DIY Fun Word Family Game for Kindergarten and Preschool

If you work with young children and are looking for an engaging activity to teach word families, and work on the building blocks for reading, this DIY word family game for kindergarten and preschool, is a great addition to any literacy program.

Making learning fun is important, especially for young children. If children are engaged and excited to do an activity, they are more likely to stick with the activity for longer and retain more of what the activity is teaching. This can be challenging, however, to make learning exciting.

Adding hands-on activities to your program is an easy way to make learning fun. By having materials that children can hold, move and manipulate, they are more likely to want to try out the activity.

In my classroom, this word family game for kindergarten and preschool was a hit. I used it as a center for small groups of children to visit and create words. It was wonderful to watch children sound out letters as they created words.

word family game shows a pinterest pin.

Word Family Game Materials

The set up required for this game is fairly simple. You only need a few materials and the word family cards are free to download.

For this game you will need:

  • Free word family activity cards
  • Letter blocks (DIY instructions below)
word family game shows a stack of word family cards and five blocks with letters on each side.

DIY Letter Blocks

I used large wooden blocks, because that’s what I had on hand. However, you can use any letter pieces you have. It doesn’t even have to be blocks. I found, however, that children were drawn to the blocks and getting their hands on them.

I painted parts of the blocks white to help the letter show up better, but you don’t need to paint your blocks.

On each side of the block, print a letter of the alphabet. You don’t need to include every letter of the alphabet. For example, the letters x, y and z do not appear anywhere on the word family cards. So players will not need these letters to make their words.

word family game shows four wooden blocks being painted on the sides.

However, to make the word CAT, players need the letters C, A and T to appear on three separate blocks in order to make the word.

My suggestion is to create the blocks by looking at the word family cards. Print out each word, or make each word on the blocks to make sure that children will also be able to make the words.

The more blocks you have with letters, the easier it is for children to do the game. If you have older children making words, then less blocks could make it more challenging.

Another option with the cubes is to create one cube with the suffix of each word family. I.e. a cube with, “an” on one side, “at”, “ig”, “ap” and “en” on other sides. This can help young children create their words faster and easier.

If you are focusing on the word families, this cube is a great idea. If your focus is on having children sound out each letter and create each word, having these letters on separate cubes is a better choice.

language activity for kindergarten shows an activity card that says PIG and five letter blocks with a letter on each side.

Word Family Cards

Laminating the cards is also a great idea especially if you are using them in a classroom. Laminating will allow you to use the cards for years to come and let kids use them without concern of them getting ripped.

making words shows twenty activity cards with a three letter word on each from five different word families.

I added a piece of cardstock behind the cards to make them stronger, and also to group the word families by color.

Word Family Game Set Up

I used this word family game in my classroom; however, if you have young children at home, this is a great game to play together at home.

Print the cards and cut the page so that there are four individual cards, from each page, and for each word family.

If you’re using the activity as a center in a classroom, the stack of cards can be placed in a bin or bowl for children to choose from.

word family game shows a card with the word map and wooden blocks with the word map on them.

Children choose a card and use the letter blocks to create the word.

Encourage children to sound out each letter as they search the blocks for the letter they need. Once they find the letter, say the full word.

Children can work with a partner to search for the letters and create each word, or you can encourage them to work independently.

phonics for kindergarten shows a child putting together the word HAT and a word card and bowl of word family cards.

Children really enjoyed manipulating the blocks and searching for each letter. They felt successful each time they were able to create a word, and loved showing the educators in the room.

Some children quickly noticed that the letter P and d, and other letters, could be used interchangeably. Mixing these letters are totally fine, because when turned, children are correct that they are the other letter.

making words shows a child holding the letter P and setting it beside another block that says AN and a card that says pan.

You can give children a certain amount of time at the center, allow them to move from center to center as they want, or encourage them to finish a certain number of cards before moving on.

Word Family Game

If you don’t have the large wooden blocks for the letters, you can use small blocks, that are dice sized.

word family game shows a stack of cards and the top one says pen and small wooden cubes with letters on each.

I offered some of these small blocks, along with the large blocks, to give kids choice with what they wanted to use to create their words.

The smaller blocks can also be easily used to create small word family game kits. Simply place the letter cubes in a bag with the printed cards and children can practice at home.

Word Family Game Options

There are lots of ways you can alter the game to make it more, or less challenging to meet the needs of your children.

If you have older children practicing to make words, you can have them challenge each other to see who can make the chosen word first.

word family game shows two cards with words on each, pan and hat, and wooden blocks that spell out PAN and HAT.

If you have the opportunity to sit with the children as they play, challenge them to read the word they created after they make it.

To add even more to the challenge, you can carefully create the dice so that there is only one block that each letter needed to make each word, appears. Players would then have to search the blocks more carefully to find the letter they are looking for.

Download the Activity Cards

You can download the word family game cards, for free, by clicking below. Make sure to check out Play Learn Inspires other activities on this blog including lots of free printables. Happy Learning!

playlearninsipire shows a free printable block for readers to click.
Click image for free activity cards


3 responses to “DIY Fun Word Family Game for Kindergarten and Preschool”

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