This game is very popular! It offers both a mental challenge and a chance for social interaction.
This is one of many free activities.
Golden Carers has 1000s of activities and resources for senior care.

This game is very popular!  It is fun, social, and entertaining and is sure to generate a lot of laughter and lively discussion.


  • Provide mental stimulation
  • Foster social interaction
  • Reinforce self-worth


A whiteboard or large piece of paper


1. Encourage participants to brainstorm a word for the game

3. Write the chosen word on the whiteboard

2. Challenge participants to create new words using only the letters from the initial word

Personal Experience:

Once, one of my clients chose the word 'pedestrian'. 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 afterward, we had staff coming up with extra words.

A very worthwhile activity!

6 Popular Whiteboard Games for the Elderly

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Comments   Post a Comment

Sharon Sparkes 4th Jul 2023
We did this today using the word padestrian we manage to get 1890 words from it we all had a great time we'll done Castlefarm
Susan 22nd Mar 2022 Activity Director
Here are some other words and words game Page one lists them
Christina rice 22nd Mar 2022
My mom and I have played this for years. But it's been awhile and I just thought she'd love if I randomly video chatted with her ready to play a game. But we're pretty even in skill and don't know what we haven't used by now. And want to be fair in picking. So wondered what word would be the hardest you could think of
Leo 27th Dec 2021 Activity Co Ordinator
The residents loved this new game! It went down so well and carers were helping the residents as well which was so nice to see. Thanks so much for the great ideas!
Talita 3rd Jan 2022
Thanks so much for your feedback Leo, this is great to hear!
Virginia Santos 8th Sep 2021
It's help me to created more ideas for our daily program. Thank you
Fiona 4th Aug 2021 Life Style Coordinator
We love this game, it would be great if golden carers would make a large word list for this activity, for inspiration and because of time limits. Thank you golden carers :)
Susan 2nd Jun 2021 Activity Director
Hi Mary Fran
There are several in the Apple Store and probably some add google play just type in words in words and see what there is
Mary Fran 2nd Jun 2021
Is this game available as an app? One that can be played on an iPad or computer? Thanks!
Talita 2nd Jun 2021
Hi Mary, if you search in your app store or playstore you should be able to find some word in words games!
Tommy Greene 30th Apr 2021
This is a great activity i use a variation on this at least twice a week.
I use the 9 letter wheel containing a 9 word within the wheel. A vowel in the center and the remaining letters around the edge. Then come up with words with four or more letters..
15 words average 20 words very clever 30 or more genius
Susan 1st May 2021 Activity Director
Hi Tommy
Is a wonderful idea
Can you send a picture of your wheel
Jill 9th Aug 2020 Artist - Workshop Practitioner
We too in lock down. We are currently on a nine week arm chair cruise, the company have asked all homes to do it.
It was quite daunting at first but a weekly theme has given me some nice projects to work on.
There are some great ideas on Golden Carers for countries.
I also incorporate foot spas, pedicures, manicures, quizzes.
Talita 15th Aug 2020
This sounds lovely, thanks for sharing Jill. It is a great idea to work to a weekly theme.
Sarah M. 27th May 2020
I am an Activity Director at a long term care nursing home. WIth the COVID-19 hitting all of us hard, nursing home specially, my aides and I are having a really tough time being able to do activities with the residents. Being stuck in their rooms, or having to wear a mask is NOT fun at all. We do video chats every morning with the ones who are set up to do so, but for the rest of them, it sucks. They are bored and need something to do. We are able to take up to 8 residents in the dining room to do activities with them, but they have to be at their own table. We can play some games using our large whiteboard but it's still very challenging. If anyone has any fun ideas that we can do with the social distancing, much would be greatly appreciated!!
Susan 27th May 2020 Activity Director
Hi Sarah read the comments I gave to Brenda because I think these ideas will help you
Faye 26th Feb 2020 Recreation Coordinator
We do this activity at work but called word.Spaghetti instead
Grace 20th Feb 2020
Woow. Thanks so much for all the fun tips. Will incorporate them into the care of the elderly hear. Kindly post more activities. I'm new in this area but the passion is massive.
Talita 24th Feb 2020
Thanks so much for your feedback Grace! All the best!
Susan 10th Jul 2019 Activity Director
What a great idea Janice
This way you can get staff and residents involved and can work together
Janice 10th Jul 2019 Activity Co-ordinator
This is a great game, the residents love it. I leave the board out so that anyone can go back to add words.

melanie 14th Mar 2019 Activity Director
I am an a activity director in the United States. In the state of Kansas. And I had a few residents come to this activity this morning and they made a total of 130 words from this word Pedestrian. They had lots of fun. Enjoy looking at this site. They have great activities. Melanie
Solange 14th Mar 2019 Diversional Therapist
Well done Melanie! I once had a session where 123 words were found and meanwhile, we had lots of fun. You can try the words 'tambourine' or 'catastrophe' next time.
Isabella 19th Mar 2023 Recreation Therapist
This is a much loved game at our center. Our residents got 243 words from the word pedestrian! I challenged them to beat the score of another center. They loved the fun competition!
Please post your words and scores for us. :)
Gemma 24th Jan 2019
Hi all...
Just come across this site some fantastic ideas. Started my new position as activities and wellbeing coordinator a month ago although I was senior carer before for 3 years so I know all my residents really well.i will definitely be doing lots of these fab ideas
Thanks you
Talita 27th Jan 2019
Thanks so much for your feedback Gemma. Congratulations on your new position and all the best!
Jenny 19th Oct 2018 Caregiver
Love your ideas! I’m new at activities and am wondering about seasonal or holiday crafts with residents who have very different ability levels with scissors, etc. Help please! :)
Talita 21st Oct 2018
Hi Jenny, thanks for your feedback! There are sooo many seasonal craft ideas here! You can adapt activities for different abilities by choosing who helps with what jobs. Some people can cut, others can paint or sort etc. You can pair people together as well so that one can help the other.
Jackie 30th Sep 2018 Activity Co Ordinator
our residents on the residential side love these word search games, but the residents on the EMI unit not so, but we plod along
Talita 3rd Oct 2018
It can be difficult to please everyone, can't it!
WENDY 7th Aug 2018
I use lists of words that are commonly used every day and ask the residents to make a sentence using the two words.
Words like went and saw are good for dementia residents and on our residential floor I make it a little harder for them with words like hedge and balloon or pardon and shout. It is very funny. I go around the room asking each resident in turn but they often help each other which is brilliant team and friendship building between them.
I also made a grab bag of giant laminated words, like place, laugh, believe, cheese, angry, singer, pets, season. I have around 40 in my bag and all of them can be conversation starters. I have endless fun with "words".
Talita 12th Aug 2018
Love these ideas Wendy!
carole 19th Jul 2018
Do you allow two and three letter words. My residents like to start with 4 letter words and
don't allow two and three.
Barb 3rd Jun 2018 PCA
I've been playing this game for yrs with my residents. We call it search a word. And usually use sayings, like Beautiful Spring Day or Memorial Day Today... Resident love covering the board
with words. I also started a game where we just make words. I give the first 3 letters like cha or shi and they make word in a row down on board. Usually 5-6 each. Chair, chalk, chase etc The Next row down chi or Che .. They love this. Says it get them thinking and most can come up with words. Then I'll go harder with whi words whe, wha etc
Talita 4th Jun 2018
Love these ideas Barb, thank you for sharing!
karen 29th May 2018 Recreation officer
Our residents really love the words in a word game. They also enjoy picking up my spelling mistakes. They look forward to so much we have it on the program every week. This is a good game for high and low care residents. Our residents also enjoy hang - man.
Talita 4th Jun 2018
Thanks for your feedback Karen. Yes, hangman is great also! Love that they point out your spelling mistakes, ha! I'm sure that ads to the fun of the activity!
Rosa 16th Mar 2018 Diversional Therapist
hangman and words in words are great ideas!!! I usually use them, is a lot of fun!!! and give opportunity to everyone, especially during hangman, as each participant get the opportunity to say a letter, even if the cognitively is not there a 100%,
thank you for posting such a great help this website.
Talita 17th Mar 2018
Thanks so much for your feedback Rosa!
Shirley 24th Oct 2017 Memory Care Coordinator
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 Diversional Therapist
Hi Shirley, what an engaging activity; so simply giving everyone the opportunity to participate. Thank you very much for sharing.
Solange 13th Oct 2017 Diversional Therapist
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 Diversinal Therapist
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 Activities Co-ordinator
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 Activities Coordinator
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 Diversional Therapist
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 Diversional Therapist
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 Recreational Activities Officer
Hi I am looking for some great activities for my clients for a day centre I need 10 any ideas?
Jane 21st May 2017 Activities Coordinator
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 Activity Director
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 Diversional Therapist
Excellent Rose, thank you for sharing your experience.
Morgan 27th Jun 2016 Diversional therapist
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 Diversional Therapist
Excellent entertainment Kathy, variety keeps them going!
Kathy 30th Dec 2015 Recreational therapist
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 Diversional Therapist
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 Diversional Therapist
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 lifestyle therapist
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 Diversional Therapist
Congratulations Colleen! That's fantastic!
Colleen 3rd Jun 2015 Diversional Therapist
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 Residential Care
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 Owner, Retreat Centre And Adult Day Program
Love the idea using residents' names. Thanks for the great idea!
Geraldine 15th Mar 2015 Care
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 activities officer
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 actvity officer
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 Dementia Practitioner
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 Lifestyle Facilitator
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 Lifestyle Assistant
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 Recreational therapist
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 diversional therapy
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 Diversional Therapist
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 diversional therapist
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 Leisure Coordinator
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 Diversional Therapist
H Nicole, you and your residents ought to be congratulated!
Nicole 1st May 2011 Recreational activities officer in aged care
We played this game at our facility and found 155 words in pedestrian I was so proud of the residents
Marjana 18th Mar 2010 Lifestyle Coordinator
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 Diversional Therapist
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 Diversional Therapist
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 Consultant
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 Supervisor Recreation Therapy Program
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 diversional therapist
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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