Thanksgiving word mining

Excavate Thanksgiving phrases you know and love to make as many new words as you can.

You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil or pen


10 minutes

Word mining is when a person uses all the letters from a phrase or other words to form as many new words as she can with those letters. Write a couple of Thanksgiving words like THANKSGIVING DINNER or MASHED POTATOES at the top of a piece of paper, and then challenge your kindergartener to make as many two- and three-letter words as she can.

If your little word builder has difficulty coming up with words, demonstrate to her how it’s done. Your child might also find it easier if the letters are separated into vowels and consonants (changing THANKSGIVING DINNER into AAEII and DGGHKNNNNRSTV or MASHED POTATOES into AAEEOO and DHMPSSTT). If she can’t come up with more than five words, suggest that she try coming up with rhymes in the same word family (sat, pat, mat) as a word she has already made, providing that the other consonants are in the parent phrase. Another trick is to try a different vowel from the list in the middle of consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words (top, tap). She can also check if a word she has built is another word spelled backwards (ton, not).

If your child does very well at building words, challenge her to find words with four letters. Tip: add an E on the end to make a new word (hop, hope).

Some sample words from MASHED POTATOES: to, so, oh, no, at, as, he, she, ate, ape, dot, hot, pot, tot, top, tap, tea, sea, pea, sad, mad, map, man, mat, pat, sat, hat, has, hop, not, ton, toe, ash, sash, dash, deep, team, meat, meet, made, mate, tape, same, seam, seem, seat, moss, toss, tote, hope, soap

Sample words from THANKSGIVING DINNER: as, at, it, he, she, has, sad, sag, sat, hat, rat, rap, ran, rag, tag, tar, tap, tan, tin, ten, kin, kit, kid, rid, red, ran, van, net, get, the, net, and, sand, hand, than, then, thin, grin, gain, rain, ring, king, sing, sang, sank, sink, sign, ride, kite, gate, star, nine, hair, dear, tear, hair