Turning Letters into Words Game


For group members to work together to accomplish a goal.

Group Size:

8 or more


  • 3×5 index cards
  • Marking pens


Divide the group into teams of four to ten and give each team the same number of 3×5 index cards. Ask them to divide the cards evenly among their group members. Give each person a marking pen and instruct them to write down any five letters of the alphabet on the cards (one per card) and to not show these letters to the other members of their team. After everyone has done this, have each team put all their cards into a pile.
Set a time limit (five to ten minutes) and challenge the teams to use their cards to make as many words as possible, using each card only once. You may give points according to how many words they come up with, extra points for longer words, etc. The team with the most points at the end wins.

Discussion Prompts:

  1. Did the letters you chose hurt or help the group? How did this make you feel?
  2. Did the helpfulness of the letters you chose depend on the letters that others chose?
  3. Do you sometimes do a lot of work for a group and then find out later it wasn’t needed? How do you feel when this happens?


  • After each team has made as many words as they can with their letters, have them write the words down on a list. Send the list and cards to another group, who can get bonus points for any additional words they make.
  • Tell the participants why they are writing down letters before starting and then surprise them by telling them they have to give their pile to a different group.
  • Let people collectively choose which letters to use and then either allow them to keep the cards or make them trade with another group.
  • Simply challange the entire group to make as many words as they can, with the letters they’ve chosen. Once they have done this, challenge them to make more words than before, still using the same letters.

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