If there’s one thing that always intrigues my students, it’s puzzles. They love searching until they find the “just-right” piece and then watching the big picture come together.  That’s why I love to incorporate puzzles into our learning stations as often as possible. And these compound word puzzles are an easy way to bring some fun learning to your literacy centers!

Grab the fun freebie below!  Then, for more word fun, snag our Editable Word Work Games in our shop!

Getting Ready

Prepping these puzzles was quick and easy.

I wanted the cards to be sturdy since I knew the kids would be manipulating them quite a bit, so I began by printing each of the ten puzzles on cardstock.

Then, I laminated them to ensure the pieces and the lamination would line up when the puzzles were being put together.

I cut the puzzles apart to make 10 compound word top puzzle pieces and 20 smaller word bottom pieces.

We were ready to play!

Compound Word Puzzles

To start, I placed only 10 of the smaller puzzle parts on the table.

I wanted my group to figure out which word parts went together to form a compound word, without seeing the compound words yet.

The students worked in pairs to combine the smaller parts to form an entire compound word.

Once they thought they had a match, they placed these puzzle pieces side by side.

Then, I brought out the compound word puzzle top pieces and had students complete their puzzle.

You could hear the students sounding out, “star….fish…..starfish!” The visual of the three puzzle pieces together helped emphasize the elements of a compound word.


For readers still struggling to master the concept, I chose to only give out five word sets at a time. Then, I added more once they had mastered the skill.

I wanted a real challenge for my strongest readers, so I created an additional set of 10 compound word puzzles that have picture cues only for the compound word.

To complete this advanced version, my high readers looked for the correct word parts to form compound words, without using any visual clues.

Once the students had picked the two words they believed made the compound word, they were ecstatic to add the top piece and visually confirm that they were correct.

The ability to differentiate instruction with my students was a great way to use these puzzles again and again until the entire class grasped the concept of compound words.

Grab Your Download

Grab the fun freebie below and then hop over and snag our awesome Editable Word Work Games, too!

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  1. Hi Ashley
    I thank you for your puzzles.They are what I wanted all along.My class is going to enjoy using them.

    1. Hi Nomsa!
      Thank you so much for your kind words!
      I hope your class loves them as much as we do.

    2. These are great for learning compound words.

      1. Wonderful!
        I hope your students enjoy as well 🙂
        Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  2. I can’t print this because it says a password is required. Is there a password?

    1. Hi KinderDawne!
      No password needed, it might be that your Adobe Reader Other needs to be updated before your computer can properly download the freebie.
      Just head here https://get.adobe.com/reader/ to download the Adobe Reader Other (it is free) and then try downloading the compound words again.
      I hope this helps!

  3. Thanks….all the way from South Africa x

    1. You are very welcome, Julia!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  4. These are great and fulfilled for learning compound words..
    Thanks for sharing..

    1. You are very welcome!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  5. I’m having trouble printing out the compound word puzzles !!
    printing on the sheet is coming out all black except for the pictures,,,
    using up all my black ink …not seeing any of the words

    1. I am having the same problem – can print in black and white but that takes the fun out of the colored pictures. When I print in color no words show up just a black background (pictures come out in color) – have tried many different ways with no success.

  6. This is wonderful!! Thank you so much 🙂 My students love it <3

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