Word search puzzles are pen and paper puzzles containing a grid of letters. The player's task is to locate words hidden within this grid. Each word is in a straight line, but can be placed in any direction, horizontally (left to right, or right to left), vertically (upwards or downwards), or diagonally. Just to make the puzzle that little bit more difficult, words may overlap or intersect, and of course not every letter in the grid is actually part of a word.

Most children seem to enjoy solving word search puzzles - they're an enjoyable way to pass the time. Parents often like these puzzles too, as they can keep the kids busy, instead of getting bored, on a rainy day, or during a long plane or train journey.

It should also be remembered that while word search puzzles are mainly about fun, they can also have educational benefits too. Solving a word search puzzle requires concentration and attention to detail. Furthermore, in order to solve these puzzles, kids need to focus on the exact spelling of words.

It is possible to buy books printed with word search puzzles, however a more flexible option is for a parent or teacher to create the puzzles themselves with the help a computer and word search puzzle maker software. Simply enter a list of words, and the computer can generate a puzzle in an instant! Doing it this way has the big advantage that you can tailor the puzzle, for example choosing words based on this week's spelling list or around class project, or perhaps turning off some of the more difficult directions when creating puzzles for younger kids.

By S. Tanna. To create your printable word search puzzles for kids, please go to http://www.wordsearchprinter.com/