This free Thanksgiving word search is a fun printable puzzle to keep the kids entertained during the holiday season.
My family loves word puzzles. Growing up, whenever we went on a trip my parents would bring one of those jumbo puzzle books to pass the time! So this year I thought it would be fun to make my own printable holiday-themed word search and share it with you.
I’ve filled this word search with 20 Thanksgiving themed words. It’s the perfect activity for some classroom fun, or for a bit of family fun before you sit down to dinner!
The words include some holiday food faves (pumpkin pie anyone?), as well as more traditional Thanksgiving words like thankful, November and family.
Words are hidden forwards, backwards, horizontally, vertically and diagonally so this word puzzle might be more suited for older kids. But don’t worry if you can’t find all words because there’s an answer sheet included in your download! Scroll down to the bottom to get it.
Benefits of word searches
Word search are not just a lot of fun, they can also be educational.
Word search puzzles been proven to help kids to build their vocabulary and improve their spelling. They also develop word and pattern recognition, and can even boost working memory and help your kid to work faster by improving their processing speed so they can solve problems more quickly.
Ways to make word search games fun for groups
Personally, I think word searches are a lot of fun on their own. I could quite happily cozy under a blanket for a few hours with a jumbo puzzle book, a cup of hot cocoa and back to back holiday movies on Netflix!
But if you’re entertaining a crowd then here are some ways that you can make word searches more of a group activity.
Competitive Word Search
If you have a few kids to entertain why not take things up a notch and encourage some healthy competition by playing competitive word search?
Simply print off a few copies of the puzzle (one for each person), then have a competition to see who can find all of the words the fastest.
Word Search Time Challenge
Another way to do a competitive word search is to make it a time challenge competition.
Hand everyone a copy of the puzzle and keep it face down. Set a timer for between 2 and 10 minutes depending on how hard you want to make it!
When someone yells START, everyone can turn over their puzzle sheet and see how many words they can find until the timer goes off. The winner is the person who find the most words!
Word Search Bingo
Word search bingo is another fun way to turn a word search puzzle into a group game.
Strictly speaking, for bingo each player’s bingo card should have a different arrangement of letters and even include different words.
But we’re keeping things simple here, so as long you’re only playing with a few people it should be OK to use the same bingo card for everyone.
To make your bingo cards trim off the word list at the bottom of each printed word search so each player just has the letter grid.
Keep one of the trimmed off word lists. These are the words that the bingo “host” will call out.
Cut the list up into the 20 individual words and put them into a bowl.
Now you’re ready to play!
The host will draw one word at a time from the bowl and call it out for the players.
The players will then have 30 seconds to find the word in their word search before the host calls out another word. The first player to find 5 words shouts “Bingo!” to win the game. Instead of shouting “Bingo” it could be fun to keep it on theme and choose a Thanksgiving word to shout instead!
Have fun with it!
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How to get your free word search printable
- Click on the download link below.
- Unzip the file to your hard drive.
- Print out your Thanksgiving word search as many times as you want!
Both the puzzle and the answer sheet are in PDF format in a zipped file. They’re sized for US Letter paper / 8.5 x 11 inches but you could print it on A4 paper as well! You just might need to adjust your printer settings slightly so that your printer doesn’t crop the edges of the page.
For the best results I’d recommend printing on high quality printer paper.
You could also fit 2 word search puzzles on one page to save on paper and use a paper trimmer (this one is great) to cut each puzzle down to size.
Ready for your word search? Download the PDF file below!
Click the BLUE DOWNLOAD BUTTON below to get your free Thanksgiving word search PDF!