Word games



There are many different WORD GAMES you can play to test your language, memory and attention. You can challenge yourself with games such as crosswords or word search, or you can ask friends or family to join in playing scrabble or finding as many words as possible. Word games are also a wonderful opportunity to test your vocabulary and encourages teamwork. Time yourself to make it even more fun!

Basic information


A game in which players form or guess words according to a set of rules. Many different rules can apply, e.g. Find words beginning with letter A, How many animals can you think of?, Spell the word “crossword”, etc. Word games are used for language and attention training and can also be a source of entertainment.

The game can be played in many different ways, verbally (without any props), as a board game, online or as apps.


The objectives of word games are different.

  • Pencil&paper word games: The objective of other word games can be to find as many words beginning/ ending with a certain letter/ syllable, to find as many objects/ animals/ names etc., to form words with a certain number of letters, and more.
  • Board word games: The objective is to form as many words possible from given letters. Letters can be given on tiles, cards or in other forms.
  • Word search: The objective of this type of word games is to find all the words on a provided list, hidden inside the grid. The words can be placed horizontally, vertically or diagonally, so there are 8 ways in which a word can be found.


This game can be very good to improve the following cognitive dimensions:


Duration depends on the type of the game. Board games, such as Scrabble or Boggle, can take up to 1 hour to finish. Pencil & paper and ICT word games are usually shorter, lasting approximately up to 10 minutes.


  • Physical version: from 15€
  • ICT version: free in many websites, free apps available
  • Pencil & paper version: free


  • Explanation:



  • Background material: download this pdf:


Play online:




Participants’ profile:

  • Dementia level: mild to moderate dementia levels.
  • Physical requirements:
    • The game can be played verbally, so even highly limited players can cooperate.
    • For physical (board) word games: good motoric function and hand-eye coordination, especially of arms and hands; highly limited players can cooperate with the help of an assistant.
    • For computer games: the ability to use a mouse
    • For mobile/tablet games: basic functionality of arms and fingers. Better quality of sight for smaller devices (phones or small tablets).

Number of participants:

  • Individually, in small groups or in larger groups (an assistant coordinates the game, includes every player).

Material and requirements

Materials needed to develop the game:

  • In general:
    • For physical word games: A table or other similar horizontal surface
    • A chair or other comfortable surface to sit on
  • Physical game (depending on the game): cards or tiles with letters, timer, dice, board
  • ICT game: computer and mouse, tablet or mobile device.
  • Pencil & paper: paper, pencil, template (crossword, word search, hangman, etc.), timer (optional)


Environment considerations:

  • Good lighting, low noise levels

Support needed

Professionals / relatives can:

  • Explain the game instructions and their variants
  • Supervise the correct playing of the game and coordinate playing in bigger groups.
  • Play along – the person with dementia guesses one word, then the assistant guesses another etc.
  • Helps the player guess the correct word by clues, e. g. descriptions of objects/ animals etc.
  • For ICT games, they can also help with how to use the device, e.g. how to select a letter, how to cross the word, how to type letters in a crossword, etc.; in cases of hand/ finger disability, professionals/ relatives can select letters/ words on instructions of the person with AD.

Starting point:

  • Physical game: put the materials in the box on the table in front of the player, play the game according to the rules.
  • ICT game: select the word game you want to play and a difficulty level
  • Pencil & paper game: place a pencil and a paper version of the game (crossword, word search, etc.) on the table in front of the player; the player (or the assistant in the case of hand difficulties) uses the pencil to write/ cross words on the paper


There are different instructions for different word games. There are word games that are commercially available (Scrabble, Boggle, Activity, …), word games can also be found in newspapers (crosswords, word search, …) or in specialized magazines. Players can also think of their own rules of the game in paper & pencil version. If word games are played in a group, players guess/ think of the words one by one. The goal is to find as many words as possible (in a crossword, word search, etc.).


In word search, a list of games is presented and a grid with letters. The objective is to find all the words on a provided list, hidden inside the grid. Word can appear horizontally, vertically or diagonally, from top to bottom, bottom to top, from left to right and right to left (8 different ways).


  • paper & pencil word search


Word search

ICT Word search

See an example of an ICT version of this game at the following video:

Additional information

Variants of the game:

  • The game can be played individually, in pairs, in smaller groups (up to 4 participants) or in larger groups.
  • The game can be made more difficult by adding rules, e. g. think of animals, beginning with the letter N; think of objects with 5 letters, etc.; or by adding a timer, e. g. think of as many cities beginning with a letter D in 1 minute.

Alternative games:

Similar AD-GAMING games:

Similar games:

  • crosswords
  • Scrabble
  • Boggle
  • quiz, trivia


DIY options:

  • A professional/relative can write letters on pieces of paper or cardboard and mix them together. Player then has to find letters and form different words.
  • A professional/relative can write sentences/proverbs/words/etc. on paper and copy it for all players.

A professional/relative can prepare a PPT presentation and project it onto the screen. S/he then writer the players’ answers on the blackboard.  



  • Number of words guessed
  • Points achieved (in a board game)
  • Time needed to think of a given number of words (e.g. time needed to think of 10 animals)

Notes / observations

  • Searching on google you can find many possibilities to play this game for free. Search for: “word games online”, “hangman online”, “crossword online”, “word search online” etc.

Practical activity

Put the tiles with different letters on the table facing up.

The player then tries to form as many words as he can with given letters, using each tile only once.

When all of the letters are used or there cannot be any more words formed from the letters, the game is finished. You can play again, trying to find different words than in the first try. Or try to form as many words possible considering a specific theme (e.g. animals, summer, kitchen, etc.).

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