Early Lit Bits: Learning with Crafts — Clothespin Word Puzzles

Clothespin Word PuzzlesPlay-Grow-Read

Fresh laundry drying on an outside clothesline is one of the sure signs of summer. Here’s a way to reuse those old wooden clothespins to make simple letter puzzles. Pinching clothespins helps young children develop fine motor skills they will need to hold a pencil once they are in school. Matching and sorting letters also helps children learn the form and shape of letters and words.


  • Wooden clothespins
  • Glue
  • Cardboard cut into rectangles (a cereal box works well for this)
  • Pictures cut from a magazine or printed from a computer
  • Glue
  • Markers or crayons

To Make:

Write a word on a piece of cardboard. Add a corresponding picture to the cardboard cut from a magazine or printed from a computer. Draw one letter for each letter in the word onto a wooden clothespin.

To Use:

Have children find the clothespins that match each letter in the word  and clip the corresponding pin over the letter written on the piece of cardboard.

Other Ideas:

Make a long strip of cardboard with the whole alphabet written on it and a clothespin for each letter. This is also a good way to have a child practice writing his or her name.

— Anjie G. at KDL’s Walker Branch



This article originally appeared in our Early Lit Bits eNewsletter. Read the most recent issue online or sign up to receive this monthly update highlighting early literacy tips and resources for parents and caregivers.


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Written by Ali


Ali is a Collection Development Paraprofessional at KDL. She loves cookbooks and memoirs.

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