Crossword puzzles can be a fun challenge for students, a bit of a detour from the same old independent activities. Many teachers decide to make their own crossword puzzles to align with their classroom instruction, only to find the tools out there create something less than kid friendly. (And not visually appealing at all!) Luckily, our team has been hard at work creating a tool that allows teachers to create crossword puzzles that not only suit their specific needs, but are cute and kid friendly! Read on to discover how you can get skill related crosswords into your students’ hands.
Why Make Your own Crossword Puzzles?
Like mentioned above, crossword puzzles are a great way to throw in a little variety to student work stations. They are very versatile, and can be created for any topic! Crosswords can be used just to throw in some seasonal fun or practice academics. Let’s look through some of the many ways to incorporate crossword puzzles into your classroom.
Crossword Puzzles for Academics
1. Vocabulary Practice
Rather than having kids simply write out the definitions of their vocab words, try a crossword to review! With the definitions as the answer, students will have to think carefully about each word. This could be done with any subject or topic, even math!
Our Lucky to Learn Math Curriculum has this fractions vocabulary review crossword puzzle available to download, but definitely make your own crossword puzzle for any words you want students to comprehend.
2. Science or Social Studies Unit
When you think of using a crossword puzzle for science or social studies, you may automatically think of using it to review vocabulary words. However, there are other options!
Try using crosswords to enhance lessons on:
- Types of animals or habitats
- Historical figures
- American Symbols
3. Weekly Phonics Practice
Instead of the normal drill and kill spelling practice, try reviewing your sound of the week with a crossword puzzle! Use the clues to give hints to one of your sound words. Students have to think think carefully about each sound as they write the word.
Learning about nouns, verbs and adjectives is fun. Reviewing these parts of speech with a crossword puzzle is extra fun. For this puzzle, here is an example clue: “Noun: A furry pet with a long tail.” The word bank consists of nouns and verbs together, unlabeled. Students will be put to the challenge of sorting nouns vs. verbs, truly reviewing the skill. This makes a great informal assessment!
Just for Fun
Giving students an academic break can help them refocus and adds a little burst of fun to the day. Try making crossword puzzles that are purely for fun with this list of ideas.
1. Themed Practice
Teaching through themes makes lesson planning and learning extra enjoyable. Each Monday, the students rush in to see what the weekly theme is, and are excited to dive into the week. Use themes that works with your reading curriculum and can pull in some Social Studies or Science skills. Making your own crossword puzzle to match a weekly theme is a hit! The words included in the puzzle are usually vocab from the weekly story and themed words mixed in.
2. Seasonal & Holiday
Try using crossword puzzles to kickoff each new season. This can also lead into a science discussion on the differences between the four seasons. Or, use a holiday themed crossword as morning or independent work on the last day of school before break.
Seasonal & Holiday Crossword Puzzle Ideas:
- Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
- Winter Holidays
- New Year’s
- African American History (Use to teach or review about these amazing American heroes.)
- St. Patrick’s Day
3. Jokes & Riddles
Jokes and riddles crossword puzzles are sure to get students’ brains (and giggles) going. Use the clue as the setup of the joke or riddle, with the word being the punchline. For example, “Clue: What do you call a bear with no teeth? Answer: Gummy Bear”.
Additional Idea: use jokes for handwriting practice!
4. Get to Know the Class
This idea is perfect for the beginning of the year to help you, and your class, get to know each other better. Have each student either come up to your desk and whisper or write down a fun fact about themselves. Use these facts as the clues, with names as the answer. Team Lucky Little Learners did a, “Get to Know the Team Better” crossword and learned some fun new things about our teammates! You can see this crossword being created in the video below!
How to Make Your Own Crossword Puzzles
Let’s walk through the process! If you want a more in depth look at making your own crossword puzzles for your classroom, join me as we walk through the process and take a look at all of the ideas in this post, plus a bonus tip!
Now that you have a ton of ideas, it is time to start creating those crosswords! Our team loves sharing ideas with teachers, all in the hopes of making their lives easier and bringing enjoyment to education.
If you like the resources shown in this post, check out our collection of over 18,000 (and growing) ideas & resources available at the click of a button! Take a peek below!
If you are new to the Lucky Little Learners Universe, learn more about who we are and what we offer here.