Ice Cream Word Family Game May 03 2010

Use this fun game, complete with free printable game template,  to reinforce  word families.

Materials to Create the Game:

Instructions to Create the Game:


  1. Laminate all of the game pieces (ice cream cone, scoops of ice cream, score cards and both dice). Because the game pieces are laminated you can re-use the game several times. If you choose not to laminate the game pieces it may not last as long, but you students can still play the game without the pieces being laminated.
  2. Cut out, fold and tape together the dice.  You will find one dice to use with word families already written on it. The blank dice can be used to write any of the word families your students are in need of studying. If you laminate the dice and use a white board marker to write the word family, you can re-use the dice when students are ready to move on to a new word family. If you don't want to laminate the dice, you can print it onto card stock and use a black pen or pencil to write the word family on the dice.

The 37 most common word families in English are: ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash, at, ate, aw ay, eat, ell, est, ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck ,ug, ump, unk (Wylie and Durrell).


  1. Cut out the ice cream cones, scoops of ice cream and score cards.
  2. Cover the yogurt container with construction paper and tape the words "Ice Cream" on the side. Put the scoops of ice cream inside the container.

How to Play the Game

1. Give Each Player One of the Following:

  • One Chocolate Rainbow Sprinkle Ice Cream Cone
  • One Score Card
  • Pencil or White Board Marker (if score card is covered with laminate).

2. Put All of the Following Materials on the Table:

  • Dictionary
  • Word Family Dice (Dice is filled in with a word family on each side. Use the example dice or create your own on the blank dice.)
  • Container of Ice Cream Scoops
  • Word Family Dice
  • Timer (to time seconds)

To determine the first player, roll the word family dice. The first player to roll "ice" starts the game.

In a clockwise direction, each player rolls the dice. After rolling the dice the player has 10-30 seconds (amount of seconds is determined by the teacher) to write a word in the appropriate word family. For example, is the word family is "all", the student has to write a real word before time runs out. If the student wrote the word "call", the word is correct, so he gets a scoop of icecream and puts in on his cone. If he wrote "jall" a student can say, "I scream you scream, we all scream for ice cream." Saying this phrase means that you are being challenged and that you must look your word up in the dictionary. If it is not a real word, you don't get a scoop of ice cream. If it is a word, you get to take a scoop of ice cream off of your challengers cone. If your challenger does not have a 2nd scoop of ice cream, he cannot challenge you. The teacher, however, can challenge you at any time.

The first player with 5 scoops of ice cream (4 correct words) wins.


Wylie, R.E., & Durrell, D.D. (1970). Teaching vowels through phonograms. Elementary English, 47, 787-791.