I’m not a big fan of using Word Searches in class – I think they’re more busy work and a genuine learning activity.

However, I have, on occasion, had students create their own, which classmates than played.

You might also be interested in The Best Sites For Making Crossword Puzzles & Hangman Games.

Here are a few tools and examples of not totally useless word searches:

Thanks to Alison Rostetter, I learned about Teachers-Direct. They have two styles of games you can create without registering. One is called Quiz-Busters. The other is sort of interesting. I’m not a big fan of Word Searches, and view them as basically busy work. At this site, you can create a Word Search – with a twist. Instead of listing the words students have to find, you list sentences with a blank and the students have to come up with the word and find it. I wouldn’t spend any teacher time on creating one, but I could see having students use it to create ones for classmates to play now-and-then.

Word Search Labs is an easy tool for creating word searches online.

Novel Games’ take on Word Searches has the twist of giving the definition (though I might have come up with better meanings) and then having players find the specific word. There are also other good games for language development, like Word Scramble.

Smithsonian Magazine had an intriguing kind of word search.


It seems to me that this new Apple word game called Quartles could be modified for ELLs and, in fact, I think ELLs could create versions of this game for their classmates to play. It’s sort of a word search, but instead of single letters, there are tiles with a few letters. Not everyone thinks it’s great, though.