Word Building Activity for all ages – 5 Minute Craft

Word Building Activity


This post originally formed part of our #LockdownLearning series that was aimed at bringing you quick and easy DIY activities to keep your children learning, while having fun and keeping you sane. This was during the stage of Level 5 Hard Lockdown, so we got creative with supplies. Here we made a Word Building Activity.

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Word Building Activity

Word Building is exactly what it sounds like, using letters to build words. Simple as it may sound, this activity has endless benefits and I share a few of it in this post.

Keeping in mind that we were still in Covid-19 Lockdown, we’re used recyclables lying around the house to make this Word Building Activity, as running to the store was not an option.

Word Building Activity

My child can’t read yet.

Letters have no meaning to children before they learn to read. Until then, a letter is simply a picture in their minds. A picture that we add meaning to over time.

This is a really easy Word Building activity to enhance your child’s cognitive and language development, whether they have the ability to read yet or not. I will also give you some fantastic examples of how you can adapt this for different age groups.

How does the activity work?

Word Building Activity for Preschoolers.

Step 1:

Pick a Word Card and count the number of letters in the word.

Step 2:

Choose the correct row on your Word Building activity that matches the number of letters in the word you chose and place your Word Card in the space right above it.

Step 3:

Now look for the cap tops with the letters, matching those in the word on your Word Card and twist them onto the cap bases in the correct order to form the word from your Word Card.

Remove all the cap tops from the Word Building activity board after each word and then choose a new Word Card.


How will my child benefit from this?

Counting of letters:

By counting the number of letters, your child not only enhances the mathematical skill of rote counting, but will also start to recognize (over time) that each letter stands alone in it’s own right.

By adding letters together, you make words. Few letters, make short words, more letters, make longer words. Grasping this concept is invaluable for young learners.

Identifying the correct row:

Matching games are very beneficial for toddlers, preschoolers and adults alike. It improves language development, concentration and memory. Being able to identify the correct row according to the value of the numbers on an entire different object, introduces investigative thinking and promotes problem solving.

Who knew copying is good for you?:

By matching the letters from the Word Card to the Word Building Activity board, your child is learning to copy information from one medium to another. This is useful going forward to copy information from a black board onto a worksheet, or from one book to another.

Twisting action:

The twisting action of placing and removing the caps is good for wrist rotation, but also a good lesson on which direction things like taps, turn to open and close. A lesson that might save your bathroom from a few floods.

Make your own Word Building Activity

This is one of the quickest and easiest activities to throw together. The longest part about making this is collecting the milk carton caps.

You’ll need:

  • Cardboard (Size – whatever you have will do).
  • Milk carton caps
  • Cardboard or paper for Word Cards (cereal boxes work great for this).
  • Pen/Marker
  • Glue – something that REALLY sticks – and dries fast.

Step 1:

Remove the plastic twister from inside the cap. Not removing them, makes it difficult to stick down as you’ll have all these sharp points sticking out the back of your activity board.

There is a trick to this though, took me weeks of struggling and raw, hurting fingers to figure this out – by accident.

Using your finger, a cloth or crunched up newspaper, push the plastic twister from back to front, twisting it to the left (counter clockwise). It will just pop right out, but you will have to apply a bit of pressure.

See video – this was an easy one.

Step 2:

Plan out your rows, depending on how many caps you have and the length of words you want and stick down your cap basis.

Step 3:

Place the cap tops on the basis and close as far as you think your child will be able to – just don’t overtighten. Then write a different letter on each cap top. Some words include more than one of a specific letter, so keep on collecting the caps for a while to add more letters.


If you do, the letter may face a completely different direction once your child twists it into place. This will make it difficult for older children and completely miss the mark for the little ones.

Step 4:

Write the words you’d like your child to work with, on the designated cardboard or paper to make your Word Cards. Making all the Word Cards the same size will make it easier for them, but work with what you have.

Congratulations! You have now made a Word Building Activity.


Adapting this Word Building Activity for different age groups


  • Colours: Instead of letters, colour the cap tops in different colours. Replace the word cards with colour cards.
  • Shapes: Draw shapes on the cap tops replace the word cards with cards that contains the shape, or cut out the actual shape for them to match.
  • Patterns: Draw pattern cards with colours, shapes or pictures. Then fill the top caps to match.
  • Their name: Your own name is the first thing you learn to read and write. Give them a head start and only use letters from their name, with a Word Building Activity board that only has space for that.

Older Children that can read confidently:

  • Revision: Create Word Cards for words they struggle with.
  • New Language: Learn a new language and use this activity to practice.
  • Math: Replace the letters with numbers and mathematical symbols. Have them build their own math problems or you pre-build it for them to solve.

If you’re not keen on making your own, check out our Teach Me Mama! Facebook page where you can purchase ready-made activities at a super low price.

For more learning activities check out our Teach Me Mama section. Here is a great Colour Sorting Activity for toddlers.

One Thought to “Word Building Activity for all ages – 5 Minute Craft”

  1. Wilna Gerber

    This is a very clever activity for kids using recycling material (entrepreneurs), learning to count, learning to write and learning new words. I love this!

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