Free Word Searches

Welcome to our collection of free word searches! The largest collection of word search puzzles online, regularly updated and completely free. Our puzzles are free to play online or print out, and if you want to make your own use our word search maker!

Created by people who want to help kids and teachers learn and grow through the power of words.

Find a word search

Our selection of word searches have been curated for the easiest use and you can print them without advertising or attribution - making them perfect for use in schools, and best of all there is no charge. Word searches can be created in a 18 x 18 grid, with words up to twelve letters long, and you can add as many words as will fit. Once you've created the puzzle, it will live on the site forever and you can edit and amend it as you like. Please get in touch if you have suggestions!

Word Search Categories

Our free word searches are divided into different areas of interest. You can browse the categories below, each category contains more wordsearches. If you don't find one that suits your need, why not create a word search?

The History of Word Searches

Where did it all begin? Word searches seem like such a commonly played and popular puzzle that you might find it hard to believe that they were only created in 1968! This makes word search puzzles quite new in comparison with crosswords, sudoku or most other word games.

Who invented word searches?

According to Wikipedia, Norman E. Gibat originally designed and published the first word search puzzle in 1968 in Norman, Oklahoma. He is normally credited with their invention in the US, although a Spanish puzzle creator was publishing what he called a "Soup of letters" before that. These humble beginnings in a small want-ad digest in a small town, was distributed free to other stores in town. The puzzle was immediately very popular, and several more followed.

Teachers in local schools began to realise that this is an ideal puzzle format to keep kids focused, and asked Gibat for extra copies. From these humble beginnings as a twenty by twenty puzzle with the names of Oklahoma cities, teachers mailed it to other teacher friends around the country and the distribution blossomed into the ubiquitous presence we know today.

Word Search - image of a word search

As the puzzles grew in popularity, syndicators created books of puzzles and they found wide-spread adoption in newspapers around the world. With the advent of the internet, it became a popular desktop app, and then a mobile game as companies developed ways for people to play at any time or create their own word search puzzles.

Used by Teachers

Teachers and parents are the main users of word search puzzles in a classroom environment, particularly those teaching children or English as a second language. Word searches offer learners a different method of instruction that combines hands-on tactile learning with word identification, sorting, and strategy. It's also a low-pressure way to get students immersed into the material, or simply as a quick break for the teacher while they need to do other things.

Word Search FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Have you ever wanted to know more about word search puzzles but were too afraid to ask? We've got you!

What is a word search?

A word search is a grid of random-looking letters, which have hidden words located within the grid. These words can be arranged vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, and they may also be reversed. The goal of the word search is to find all of the hidden words contained in the grid.

Who uses Word Searches?

There are three main audiences for word search creation:

  1. Teachers: Teachers create a LOT of word searches. It's a great way to introduce an easy refresher on the material that has just been covered, which helps students who have different learning styles. Particularly when teaching language and vocabulary, a puzzle is a great way to have students identify word patterns.
  2. Workplaces: It is not always easy to get adults to engage with training exercises, and introducing a word search is a very easy way to get your crew to absorb more of the material for meetings, training sessions, or even just for fun like with a holiday word search.
  3. Individuals: Maybe you have a friend's birthday coming up and want a game to play? Maybe you just need to keep your kids entertained for a few minutes while you're doing something else? Word searches are the perfect solution.

How can I create a word search?

There is a completely free word search maker on this site. There is no charge, and no license - so you are free to print, republish or distribute your word search as needed.

Do word searches need to be in English?

No! Word searches can be created in any language, though non-latin character sets such as Russian, Chinese or Japanese will probably look strange with a mix of english words and non-english words - the default language to "fill-in" the grid is English, so any non-latin characters will stand out like a sore thumb! There are Spanish Word Searches, Italian Word Searches, German Word Searches and many more.