Word Chain

Time 30 minutes
Age 7 & up
Group Size 4 or more
Tags Game, Games, Minimal Materials,   more...

How long a chain can you build using words?

Word games are a great way to help children flex their literacy skills and have fun at the same time. This activity focuses on vocabulary and concept development as well as spelling.


If doing the activity in the Suggestions section (see “Make it Better”), cut about 50 strips of paper.

Word Chain

Suggested Materials

  • Just the kids!

Optional Materials

  • Strips of construction or copy paper (around 2” X 6”)
  • A pen or pencil

Make it Matter

Opening Discussion

Tell your students that you’ll be playing a game using just words. Ask them if they have ever played a game like that before. Explain the rules of this game to them (see “Make it Happen”).

The Challenge

Build the longest “word chain” you can!


Make it Happen

Doing the Activity

  1. Choose a category for the word chain. Give your students a few options, like Movies, Actors, Foods, Animals, Countries, Singers, Sports Teams, etc. You might want to limit it to 3-4 choices.
  2. Once a category has been chosen, the first player should choose a word that fits the category. For example, if the category is “Foods”, the first child might pick “banana”. This word is the first link in the “chain”.
  3. The 2nd player must then think of a new word that starts with the same letter that the 1st word ended with. Banana ends with an “a”, so the 2nd player could say “avocado”, or “asparagus” or “Apple Jacks”, etc.
  4. Play continues around the group (when it gets back to the first player, she should continue play) until a student can’t think of a word.  That student is “out”. The student who said the last successful word begins the next round of play and gets to choose a new category (or use the same one). Keep playing until only one student is left.

Make it Click

Let’s Talk About It

After your students have played once, bring them together to have a quick discussion. Was it easy or hard to come up with the words? What are some other categories they might try?


Make it Better

Build On What They Talked About

Play it again with a new category.


  • Have one student (or the teacher) act as the recorder and write down all of the words the group comes up with. At the end of the game, write down each of the words on a strip of paper, turn the first strip into a chain link by gluing or taping its ends together, then link all of the strips together into a real “word chain”. Hand the chain up—and then try to make a longer one!
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