teaching resource

Multiple Meaning Word Puzzles

Teach Starter Publishing
PDF | 5 pages | Grades: 3 - 5

Match words to their many meanings using this set of 14 word + multiple definitions puzzle cards.

Practice Decoding Multiple Meaning Words

Use this activity to enhance your English Language Arts lessons. Your students will develop their vocabulary skills in no time by determining the correct usage of words with more than one meaning.

This ELA activity includes 14 word puzzles, each with 2-3 meanings. Students read the definitions and match them to the given words to form a complete skyscraper.

Through this activity, students will show they can use context clues to determine the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words.

Scaffolding + Extension Tips 

A team of dedicated, experienced educators created this resource for students to work on independently in your reading center

Preview words ahead of time and discuss the different meanings, providing read-aloud opportunities as needed.

Support struggling students by limiting the definition options for puzzles that have three definitions. You can also partner-up struggling readers with other students. 

Challenge fast finishers who already understand the concept to write sentences with the completed words in context to their multiple definitions. 

Plus, check out our suggestions for using this activity to reinforce your small group and full-class lessons too: 

🛴 Scoot Activity

Number the definition cards and place them around the room in numerical order. Instruct students to number a sheet of paper to use a recording sheet. Assign students or pairs to a starting point card and give them time to read it and write the matching word in the corresponding space on their paper. Students will rotate to the next card when you say, “SCOOT!” Continue in this manner until students return to their starting point. 


Optional: Display the words on your whiteboard for students to reference for spelling.

🎭 Charades

Use the definition pieces for Charades prompts. Divide students into two teams. Teams will take turns sending up one student to act out the card for their team while you keep score and hand the cards to the players. If their team guesses correctly, they get 1 point. Once every student has had their turn to act out a card, the game is over, and the group with the highest points wins. (Need a timer? Try one of these!)

👯 Find Your Match

Provide each student in your class with a card and challenge them to find their word-definition match. For an extra challenge, make the activity a race, or ask the students to complete the task in silence!

Get our 10 Best Scaffolding Strategies here! 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the color or black and white PDF versions of this resource. 

Print on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Cut apart puzzles and pieces. 

Optional: Label the backs of matching puzzle pieces with letters or symbols so that students can self-check their matches.

Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Grab these multiple-meaning word activities and teaching resources while you’re here: 

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