Word Search Dos and Don’ts!

Today, in the interest of both public service and better puzzling overall, I thought I’d present a brief list of dos and do-not-dos when it comes to constructing word search (or word seek) puzzles.

Now, full disclosure, I will be talking about PuzzleNation apps a bit here, but only because they’re great examples of well-crafted puzzles, and a little shameless self-promotion never hurt anybody. *smiles*

So, without further ado, let’s talk word searches!


Offer fun bonuses, like trivia, facts, and bonus entries to hunt down!

These additions can make for a richer, more fulfilling solving experience.


Do NOT create a holiday word search without being very careful to edit out any questionable or inappropriate vocabulary.

For instance, these words do not belong in a kids’ Christmas word search.


Make sure your puzzle has audience-appropriate vocabulary and a family-friendly theme.

For instance, the Penny Dell Bible Word Search app features entire passages from the Bible, broken up into searchable words and phrases.


Do NOT make a 50 Shades of Grey-themed word search and distribute it to middle school students!

Yes, this actually happened.


Freshen up the word search formula with interesting and challenging variations.

[An Around the Bend word seek from Penny Press.]

Our friends at Penny/Dell Puzzles have some really clever variant word searches, like Missing Vowels, Missing List, Zigzag, and plenty of others. Whether you’re discovering bonus messages, finding craftily hidden words, or dodging red herrings planted by clever constructors, you’ll find plenty to keep you interested.


Do NOT get a word search grid full of swearing and foul language tattooed on your lower back.

No, I’m not including a link or a picture on this one. Trust me, it exists, and it definitely belongs on the Do-not-do list.

Well, there you have it! Some important dos and do-not-dos of word searches and word seeks. With these few simple rules (and cautionary tales), you can craft high-quality, fun, worthwhile puzzles for friends, family, students, and more.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!