Very Popular! Mental stimulation, social interaction, promotion of self worth
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  • Mental stimulation
  • social interaction
  • promotion of self worth.


A white board or large piece of paper / cardboard will be required


  1. Ask residents to think of a word for the game. It can be any word so long as it is not too short.
  2. Write the word on a white board and ask residents to form other words using only the letters of the word on the white board.

This is a fun and entertaining game that will generate a lot of discussion.

Once, one of my clients chose the word 'pedestrian' and we made an amazing 122 words from it. We invited staff and management to join us and we played for well over an hour.
For many days afterwards, we had staff coming up with extra words.

A very worthwhile activity!

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Comments   Post a Comment

Shirley 24th Oct 2017
Good Morning Every One,
I am new to this site and I am enjoying reading every thing.
I am a memory care coordinator and I am always looking for ways to engage our residence through words.
I love this idea using the white board and making words out of other words.
We also play a game called Name That Letter. We have all the letters of the alphabet each printed on a card. A resident draws a card and we try to make as many words with that letter as possible. In memory care it takes a little time and encouragement but we come up with some great words. Example Name that letter "A" what is a word that starts with an "A". Most every one can name a word with "A" I also look for the person who's name starts with the letter. This game is fun, engaging and our guest can join in.
Thanks and have a Happy Day
Solange 29th Oct 2017
Hi Shirley, what an engaging activity; so simply giving everyone the opportunity to participate. Thank you very much for sharing.
Solange 13th Oct 2017
Hi Roslyn, thank you for your feedback, it is much appreciated. Here are other words that have possibly 100 plus words: Unbelievable - Entertainment - Promotion – Distraction - Amusement.
All the best!

Roslyn 13th Oct 2017
Hello, just letting everyone know that this is a GREAT activity.I work at Trangie MPHS & the residents came up with 149 words from PEDISTRIAN. We put the word on a white board in dining area. This was the discussion at meal times over several days. Thank you so much for the idea.
Gaylene 4th Oct 2017
Our lastest game using the whiteboard is Going around the room each resident gives me a letter of the alphabet and I write it up on the board. They then have to make a sentence using each letter. Works really well for us.
Talita 9th Oct 2017
That sounds like fun Gaylene!
Michelle 21st Aug 2017
Can you all give me some starter words that you use for the word in a word game please - I'm new to this!
Solange 21st Aug 2017
Hi Michelle, word game is played by forming other words with the word chosen for the game. There is only one rule: Letters may not be repeated unless the chosen word has repeated letters. For instance, if the chosen word is ‘PEDESTRIAN’: it has two ‘E’ so words like ‘deep’, ‘seen’ or ‘respite’ are fine. Start with the first letter, forming all words you can with the letter ‘P’, (pen, pea) then “E’, (eat, end) then ‘D’, (dean, dare) and so on. Best wishes,
Solange 21st Aug 2017
Hi, Michelle, any word will do, ask for clients opinions. For themed word games, you may join words like CHRISTMASTIME, or EASTERBUNNY. Here are some Word Game words for you to try; I added the number of words you may possibly find in each. CALENDAR (60 plus), SQUIRREL (30 plus), HOSPITAL (60 plus), SERENITY (80 plus), EASTERBUNNY (150 plus), VALENTINES ( 100 plus), PEDESTRIAN,( 100 plus) JACKHAMMER (possibly 50), LUMBERJACK (100 plus), BRILLIANT (80 plus) , CHRISTMAS, ( 50 plus) HALLOWEEN (60 plus)
Melanie 6th Jul 2017
Hi I am looking for some great activities for my clients for a day centre I need 10 any ideas?
Jane 21st May 2017
Hi there is so much to choose from I'm printing things every night love the sound of this game so off tomorrow to buy a white board only been doing activities for one and half months it seemed so easy when I was cleaner to play odd game or quiz but full time a different matter the golden carers are brilliant.
Talita 22nd May 2017
Thanks so much for your feedback Jane. All the best to you in your new position!
Rose 17th Jan 2017
Excellent for residents!!!! Thay enjoyed and got 122 on pedestrian, not bad l will add this to my calendar twice a month, thank you
Solange 19th Jan 2017
Excellent Rose, thank you for sharing your experience.
Morgan 27th Jun 2016
Another sucessful word game we play is..beat the alphabet. List the alphabet ..leaving room to add on the found word. Provide a theme to work within...Names...Countries, famous people , diseases, etc..and then work thru the alphabet..If we get stuck on a letter we leave it and move on ...asking staff family and residents through out the morning to problem solve too.
Talita 27th Jun 2016
Great idea Morgan! Appreciate your feedback, thank you.
Solange 30th Dec 2015
Excellent entertainment Kathy, variety keeps them going!
Kathy 30th Dec 2015
Other than finding words in words, our game afternoon includes:
- Brain Teasers and picture riddles on board to start (to keep residents entertained while I am preparing)
- hang man (people's names, sayings, phrases like Merry Christmas)
- scatergories (having a list of items like food, profession, etc and picking a letter they have to start with. e.g. 'S')
- writing a four letter word on the board and having each resident change one letter to make a new word
- words unscramble
- memory (putting ten items out on display, briefly, and having them name them all at the end of the activity)
- find words with a certain word in. e.g. cat, a word meaning to throw around - sCATter
- Just a few we use. I always try to change it up and use a theme, if relevant. For New Year's I will decorate with streamers and balloons, and have word games relating to it. I also try to be mindful of those who have limited sight, so activities where you don't have to write anything down or read is good.
Solange 30th Dec 2015
Hi Margaret, I experienced the same thing. When we played 'Word Game' everyone was interested: management, gardener, kitchen staff, nurses, and cleaners! It was so much fun!
Margaret 29th Dec 2015
we play similar to this regularly as our 'whiteboard Quiz'. I will particularly use "special events" as the header..... mother's/ father's day; Melbourne cup ,Christmas, happy new year, Easter hat parade, football finals/teams; Remembrance day, ANZAC Day, St Patrick's Day etc.....possibilities are endless and the residents, staff and even visiting relatives get involved.
Linda 21st Jun 2015
We also play this game, and to make it more interesting, we put the word on a piece of paper in the staff lunch room for the staff to try and outdo the residents with the number of words! makes for very interesting lunches! :)
Solange 9th Jun 2015
Congratulations Colleen! That's fantastic!
Colleen 3rd Jun 2015
We play this game in our facility on a regular basis, our residents all love the challenge. Today we used the word "pedestrian" to see if we could better your scores and achieved a score of 244. We are all so proud of ourselves!!
Jodie 26th May 2015
We have played this game for years. To make it more personal I use the full name of residents playing the game. eg Jonathon Micheal Smith
Claire 12th May 2017
Love the idea using residents' names. Thanks for the great idea!
Geraldine 15th Mar 2015
For my spring theme, I used the word springtime for my word in word game and we got a least seventy words. Springtime is also great for an activity for reminisce, it lifts the clients spirits.
Cheers Ger
jean 31st Jan 2015
We play a game called boy,girl animal,country,flower it can be played with residents who are able ,give them a pen and paper and write these titles at the top of the page ,someone says a letter in the alphabet and they write the name of a boy , girl ,animal ,country, flower starting with that letter If they have the same name as someone else they get 5 points and if they have an original answer they get 10 points.For those who can not write or poor vision we use a white board and they call out and Iwrite the names . It creates a lot of fun and it makes everyone think some of the answers are funny and questionable thats part of the fun....Jean
Vicky 21st Oct 2014
Thanks Paula for sharing,what a great idea. Looks like I have my next project for work.
Paula 19th Oct 2014
We play word mat in our dementia facility, we have a old piece of curtain and on the backing its divided up into squares each with 1 letter from the alphabet then we ask a resident to throw a quoits hoop or bean bag on to the mat and then what ever letter it lands on they have to come up with as many words as they can with that letter or sometimes I just give them a letter to use.
Rosemary 5th Apr 2017
Thank you . That particular activity sounds excellent. Hadn't thought to just write one letter and let them go. :)
Liz 17th Feb 2014
Ok the challenge is on to beat 155 for PEDESTRIAN. (we allow a proper name IF he/she is in the room!). We do this every week along with a selection of other word games such as anagrams which can be adapted to suit - 3 letter ones up to 8 letter ones. Sue
Eryl 9th Dec 2013
Thanks for the idea ladies. I have a mixed bag program this afternoon, which is unfortunately going stale due to a turn over of residents. I think this one might be the shot.
Have a good day. :)
Lynne 29th Sep 2013
Kathy, exactly what I have been doing, with great success. Sometimes giving them the first letter to help find the word. Although I find myself more in the dementia unit now, I will try with small words and any amount will be an absolute bonus. Cheers.
Kathy 3rd Nov 2012
I do this every week with my residents, and they never seem to tire of it. Our goal is usually 100 words. On the internet you can get all the solutions for a word, so to make the activity a little more interesting, you can give clues for certain words they have to find. For example, one of the words might be lounge, so you could give them the clue that the word they have to find is a piece of furniture.
Susannah 20th Jun 2012
I put the word Pedestrian to my residents for a challenge to see if they could beat the original 122 word score and they managed to find 150 words which was amazing from just one word. Very good game - especially for the competitive sorts. Thanks.
Solange 26th Feb 2012
Hi Ann, thank you for the feedback. I am also very successful with word games. Not long ago I had a session with early stages Alzheimer's residents and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
Anne 26th Feb 2012
we call this activity Words in a word and we managed to get 201 words from uncopyrightable. I use words that have all the vowels in them. next time I will try pedestrian and see how we go. Another good word game is words that sound like Say. Words don't have to end in ay e.g. neigh, weigh etc.
Sharyn 15th Jun 2011
I have that game on my monthly activity planner and call it whiteboard trivia, they have words in the sunday telegraph that I use we get the answers the next day and most times we get them all right.
Solange 1st May 2011
H Nicole, you and your residents ought to be congratulated!
Nicole 1st May 2011
We played this game at our facility and found 155 words in pedestrian I was so proud of the residents
Marjana 18th Mar 2010
Hi. We play ward game
Rules: no less than four letter words,no plurals and no proper nouns
We will try PEDESTRIAN
Amanda 2nd Mar 2010
Hi there,
We used the word PEDESTRIAN for a word game and I informed our clients that another place had found 122 words. Well the challenge was on and they found 169 words before we had to stop for lunch. Visiting relatives eagerly joined in and we had a great time.
Solange 4th Feb 2010
Hi Peter,
Welcome to Golden Carers. Yes , this is a very popular game and usually gets everybody involved; residents, staff and visitors.
Peter 4th Feb 2010
This is a wonderfull game, we call it in in our famaly in Germany "Worte herausholen" (= Make words out of it). We played it after the last war(1945) in the time in wich it was not possible to buy other games. Today we like to play the game sitting in the train or waiting for the meal in a restaurant.
Liz 12th Jan 2010
Super.We have used the same idea using song titles, this gets everyone involved. For the visualy impaired we have used shorter titles like the months of the year and it is amazing how many words they can give you verbally.
sandi 22nd Sep 2009
Great, another version is to do the same with the letters and then use boys/girls names, foods and animals that begin with that letter! This is successful in high care or low care - Cheers Sandi
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