Teaching Resource

SMASH IT! Compound Words

PDF, Google Slides | 9 pages|Grades: 1 - 2

Practice compound words with this set of 8 game boards and letter cards.

Maybe you’ve never noticed it before but…

Some of our most commonly used words are compound words.  

Everything. Cannot. Anybody. Herself. Something. Inside. Outside. Etc. 

Whether you’re fascinated with the English language (or just learning it), knowing how to break up these words into their parts is a phonological awareness skill that helps students:

  • Understand how words are formed
  • Decode words while reading
  • Identify context clues

Aside from the fact that compound words are just fun! 

In this game, players will draw cards to match the first word of a compound word to its counterpart on the game board, and use molding clay to SMASH IT! 

Practice Compound Word Identification  

This resource can be used as a reading center activity, with your guided reading group, or as a full class activity (see below) to practice

The download includes 2 versions of this game: depending on your students’ reading proficiency, players can match using words or pictures. 

All players will need molding clay and a compound word mat. Shuffle the word cards and place them in the center of the player area. Students take turns flipping over a card and identifying the word. Then, players look for a corresponding compound word on the board and use their molding clay to SMASH IT! The next player chooses another card and continues smashing words. Continue playing until one student has SMASHED all of the words on their card. 

More Compound Word Activities + Scaffolding and Extension Tips

This resource can be used for individualized practice, especially if you’ve got fast finishers! You can also use this game to create full-class learning opportunities like scoot activities, lesson reviews, exit tickets, and more. 

Extend this activity by asking students to put the words in alphabetical order.

If students struggle sounding out the words, remind them to use a visual reminder, like an anchor chart, poster, or an alphabet display.

Group Play 

Divide your class into groups and give each a word mat. Using your smartboard or another projection device, present the word cards. Students will work together to identify compound words on their boards. The first team to cover all words on their card wins! 

Warm-Up/Exit Activity

This activity can also be used as a formative assessment. Pick a word mat and project it on the board for the whole class to see. Read each of the words as a class, and have students write the compound word on a separate sheet of paper, or on a whiteboard. 

Knock Off

Organize word cards as they appear on the compound word mats. Project a compound word mat on the screen, and use our Random Name Picker widget to draw a student’s name. Flip a card and reveal the word to the player. If the student correctly identifies the matching word on the mat that forms the compound word, they tap the person on their left or right to send them back to their seat. If the student answers the card incorrectly, they must sit out. Play continues until there is only 1 student standing.

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print the SMASH IT! cards on cardstock for added durability and longevity. To make this game more sustainable, print the game boards on cardstock and slip them into dry-erase sleeves. The dough will be less likely to stick to the cards and/or stain them. 

Provide students with molding clay. Place all game parts in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Before You Download

Use the drop-down icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. 

This resource was created by Lindsey Phillips, a teacher in Michigan and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 

Build more compound words with these exciting activities: 


  Common Core Curriculum alignment

Teach Starter Publishing
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