Free, Printable Word Search Puzzles & Games
Word searches are great ways to spend time and keep your mind sharp. While the first English language word search was created in 1968, there was a Spanish version called “Soup of Letters” (“Sopas de letras”) before that.
Some word searches have hidden messages, most often found by putting together the letters left over after all the words are found. Some are even snaking puzzles, where the words are not written in just one direction. We don’t have any of these two types of word searches in this post, but you can make your own!
We have lots of different puzzles with lots of different themes. These themes include literature, animals, colors, plants, languages, and more! Each image links to a page where you can download it as a PDF. At the bottom of this post, we also have blank templates for you to make your own word search.
Season-themed word searches
For one of our posts, we needed four puzzles so we decided to do a cohesive theme. We decided on seasons! If you live in a seasonal region, you know that each one has a distinctly different feel. Different plants, activities, temperatures, imagery, and more! All those different words make for really good word searches.
Although all of our puzzles have good words in them, these ones are a bit more geared towards learning new words and ideas! If you want to make your own puzzle, it can be fun to pick a topic you want to learn more about and pick words that fit in that theme. If you’re making one for kids, it’s a good idea to mix up the words with some they already know and some they don’t. It will be easier to spot the familiar words in the puzzle.
Word searches for kids
Word searches are good to help kids work on their observation skills as well as vocabulary. There are multiple strategies to solve word searches:
1.) Search for the first letter in a word by scanning row by row.
2.) If you find the first letter, look at all the letters around it to see if they lead to the second letter in the word.
3.) If you look for less common letters (J, B, K, Q, X, Y, or Z) first, it makes the rest of the word easier to find.
Word search templates
Don’t see any puzzles you like? We have templates that you can use to make your own! These templates are in several different shapes. The way you make a puzzle is by first choosing your words – it usually helps to think of a theme and work from there. Then add your words to the grid in different orientations. If you are making the puzzle for a kid, make sure to use shorter words and remember you don’t have to use the whole grid.
Word searches are usually completed by yourself. Are you interested in activities that you can do with friends and family? Check out our post on games to play with others on video calling. We also have games to play on a road trip, which are perfect for staying distracted if you have a journey coming up.