Compound Word Activities for Big Kids

Check out these great upper elementary compound word activities. A detailed word list shows when to close or hyphenate a number of compound words. The foldable organizer works well with advanced or simple words. Games and activities will make learning fun.

Compound Anchor Chart

This simple anchor chart took just a few seconds to create. First, write words that can be turned into compound words on sticky notes. Then place these in a random fashion on a table. Students come to the table and select two words that will form a compound word. Next, the student places the sticky notes on the chart.

Compound Word Anchor Chart

Compound Word Activities for Smart Notebook

15 Slide SmartBoard Activities on Compound Words

This Smart Notebook resource contains 15 pages of activities. Just click on the image to open the Smart Notebook file.  

Free Printable Graphic Organizer

Free Compound Word Foldable Organizer


Get the organizer here.

Print the organizer onto colored paper.

Students write two words, one on each side of the organizer, that when put together will form a compound word.

In the center of the organizer, students will write the definitions of each compound word in the first row of boxes. In the second row of boxes, they draw illustrations of the compound words.

To assemble the foldable organizer, fold the organizer on the dotted lines and cut on the solid lines between the words.

See the illustration for the completed organizer.

Compound Word Activities from Teachers pay Teachers

Compound Word Chains Activity

This product may be purchased at Teachers Pay Teachers.

This teaching set contains cards to make 14 compound word chains. To make the chain each word forms the end of one compound word and the beginning of another.

For example:
campfire ~ fireplace ~ placecard ~ cardboard ~ boardgame ~ gameplay ~ playtime  

[The pictures in the bottom corner of the cards are used to not only keep sets together but also help if using the cards in a center. Once students complete the activity, they record their answers on the page provided by writing the words next to the matching image.]

Spelling Rules

Words ending with -up are usually hyphenated.

  • warm-up
  • close-up
  • runner-up
  • sign-up
  • follow-up

Words ending with -down are usually one word.

  • hoedown
  • showdown
  • meltdown
  • rundown
  • breakdown
  • slowdown
  • lowdown
  • sundown
  • countdown
Words ending with  -in are usually hyphenated.

  • break-in
  • run-in
  • trade-in
  • sit-in
  • drive-in
  • check-in

Words ending with -out are usually one word.

  • fallout
  • dropout
  • whiteout
  • standout
  • buyout
Words ending with  -on are usually hyphenated.

  • add-on
  • carry-on
  • run-on
  • follow-on

Words ending with -off are usually one word.

  • kickoff
  • playoff
  • liftoff
  • layoff
  • takeoff


  • tip-off
  • show-off
  • send-off
Words  with a preposition in the middle are usually hyphenated.

  • attorney-at-law
  • brother-in-law
  • word-of-mouth
  • right-of -way
  • editor-in-chief
  • not-for-profit
Many compound adjectives are hyphenated.

  • accident-prone
  • sugar-free
  • camera-ready
  • power-driven
  • custom-build
  • good-looking
  • bad-tempered
  • fair-haired
Use a hyphen with the prefixes ex-, self-, and all-.

  • ex-wife
  • ex-mayor
  • self-satisfied
  • self-serve
  • all-powerful
  • all-inclusive

Online Interactive Activities 

Here are some online resources with game-like activities for practice. Just click on the image to go to the activity.

Compound Words
Online Compound Word Interactive Activity

Crazy Compound Words
Compound Word Creator

Activities on Common Compound Words
Online Compound Word Interactive Activity

Break It Up
Online Compound Word Interactive Activity

Word Vine
Compound Word Activities
Learning Compound Words

Compound Word Activities for Upper Elementary Students

Gay Miller


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