Making your own minority language crosswords

My 6-year-old loves crosswords. We discovered some really cool ones in an issue of her Storybox magazine.  They were not too long, had pictures, the list of words to fit, and the words were simple for an early reader. The crossword was done in no time and my daughter was disappointed not to have more to do.

At first, I turned to Internet to find some more; but none of the freely available crosswords were as good as the one of my daughter’s magazine. As the French saying goes, one is never better served than by him/herself. So I decided to design my own… and they were a hit!

Here are tips as to how to go about designing them.

Challenges:

  • Time consuming though well worth it!
  • Finding the inspiration!
  • Choosing the vocabulary adapted to your child’s level

Resources used:

  • Computer (Excel and Word)
  • Printer

Steps:

  1. For children aged 5+, pick a list of about 10 words, which can be around a given theme, such as farm animals for instance.
  2. In an Excel sheet, type up these words 1 letter per cell, with the words crisscrossing each other on a letter they have in common.
  3. Insert the border lines around the cells containing the text. You now have the “results grid”.
  4. Copy-paste your results grid on another Excel sheet.
  5. On that copied grid, delete the words across, replacing the first letter of each word by a number.
  6. Repeat with down words. You now have the “blank grid”
  7. Copy-paste the blank grid as an image in a blank Word document.
  8. Make 2 columns in the Word document:
    1. One called “Across”, in which you list the numbers of the words across. For each answer, add next to each number a fun and colourful clip art from the web to illustrate the word.
    2. Repeat for the “Down” words.
  9. For early readers who do not yet know how to spell, add a list of the answers mixed randomly, that they can refer to and cross out as they progress through the crossword.
  10. You can add a personalised header with your child’s name such as “X’s farm animal crossword”.

End result:

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 22.29.11

Tips:
It can also be designed for older children, using their reading books for inspiration in the choice of words. You might also want to make the crossword bigger than just 10 words.

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