Word Family Blocks

I was inspired by this project I’ve had pinned on my homeschooling board for years, but it was a little light on details, so here’s what I did.

DIY Word Family Blocks


  • 9 unfinished wooden blocks
  • Craft paint in desired colors
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint Pen or Sharpie (optional)

I have a bunch of unfinished 1.5″ wooden blocks that my mother made and sent to me, oh, years ago. I always meant to do something with them but here we are, right? If you have to get your own blocks you can buy a bag of 13 unfinished 1″ blocks from JoAnn fabric, or a set of 10 1.5″ ones here. Of course, if you’re handy with a saw, you can pick up a 2×2 and cut yourself enough blocks for half a dozen sets for less than $2.


In order to make a reasonably diverse set of words, I made three ‘first letter’ blocks (for a total of 18 first letters) and six ‘ending’ blocks (for a total of 36 word endings).

I began by painting the ‘ending’ blocks. I painted each side a different color for visual interest. If you’re in a hurry or making many, many sets of these for a school or gifts you could always leave them unpainted…I just like colors. Set aside, let dry.

For the ‘first letter’ blocks, I left them natural and just wrote the letters on with a black sharpie. The letters I used were B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, V, W, Z (excluding A, E, I, O, Q, U, X and Y).

Once the colored blocks were dry, I wrote the endings on them. I used this list of word family endings – there are exactly thirty-six. The Sharpie did not write very well on the paint, so I used a black paint pen I have. If you don’t have a paint pen, you could always try your hand at painting the letters on with a paintbrush.

DIY Word Family Blocks

That’s it! You’re done! This project took me about 45 minutes (paint takes time to dry, you know) and could be a very fast, very inexpensive gift for when Christmas time rolls around. To play with these, just take turns rolling the cubes and write down all the words you can make. (You get one point for each word you can make.)

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