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Kids love to play a good game of Tic Tac Toe.

So how about incorporating a word family or two into the game to reinforce what their developing reading skills? Ahh, another sneaky learning activity that is so loved here at Kids Activities Blog!


Today I am excited to share a simple reading game with you using word families!

Word families are groups of words that have a common feature or pattern. They typically have a similar sound and the same combination of similar letters in them. For example, hat, mat, cat, and fat are all part of the “-at” family.

Word families help kids recognize predictable patterns within words and can help them as they learn to decode new words. Word family words also rhyme and are fun to use when playing games!


My son is just starting to learn how to read. He loves discovering words that rhyme and sounding out new words. This week we created a simple word family tic-tac-toe game to help us practice some of the word family words we’ve been learning.

All you need is a pen, paper, and something to use to cover your words. We love using M&Ms!


How to play:

  • First I created a simple game board by writing down several simple word family words that my son knew in a tic-tac-toe format.
  • Then we took turns reading the words out loud while we put our M&Ms on top of each word that we read.
  • Whoever got three in a row first won! You had to read the word correctly to be able to put an M&M on top of it. The three words didn’t have to all be from the same word family.

After we used the game board I had created for awhile, then my son decided he wanted to create his own game board. He chose his favorite word family words (2-3 from each family) and then wrote them on his game board. Then we played our game again… and again… and again!

This was such an easy and fun way to practice decoding words and talk about the similarities and differences in the words!

What other simple reading games do you like to play to make learning more fun?


Tic Tac Toe is a classic game that is fun for kids. Combining the game with learning about a word family is just a brilliant idea! For more brilliant kids activities, you just might want to check out a few of these ideas: