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Free Printable Fall Word Search with Answer Key

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This printable Fall Word Search Puzzle is a great activity to get kids excited about the changing season and also reinforce some spelling practice and observation skills on the sly. Many of the words are seven letters or more, making this a fun challenge for early readers.

A fall-themed word search with leaves.

Whether you just want a simple, frugal activity to keep kids occupied as you prepare Thanksgiving dinner or you want to entertain kids on a rainy autumn day, this free printable word search puzzle is a great choice.

Benefits of Word Searches

There’s a reason word search puzzles are such popular classroom educational tools for teachers of almost any subject. These simple seek-and-find puzzles provide several mental benefits to kids.

Here are just a few of the skills these searches help to improve:


Because word hunts require children to look closely at words and then find the corresponding letters in the puzzle, kids naturally gain familiarity with those words.


Because word seeks are often themed, as this fall word search is, it’s easier for kids to identify and remember new words and their meanings. Used in conjunction with crossword puzzles, which introduce definitions, these can be valuable vocabulary-building tools.

Reading Ability

Even though word searches don’t tell a story exactly, they do provide children with plenty of opportunities to look for and identify context clues, a key reading skill. Not only do they draw inferences from the theme, but they also learn to look for unique letter combinations.


In order to complete the puzzle, children will often develop their own strategies to find words quickly. They may start with looking at the edges to find words that are easier to spot.

Some kids study the list of words first then go line by line forwards and backwards horizontally, then vertically, to find as many words as possible. Then, they browse diagonally to find the diagonal words.

No matter what technique they use, kids almost always develop their own unique strategy which is a great way to exercise reasoning.


Very often, these types of word puzzles present red herrings. Combinations of letters in the puzzle will be similar to those in one of the clue words, but not identical. This forces kids to pay close attention and be able to differentiate between the actual word and the misleading one.

The best thing about word hunts is that kids actually enjoy doing them! They don’t need to know how much they’re learning in the process and the analytical skills they are gaining.

A fall-themed word search displayed on a wooden table.

Fall is my favorite season so hundreds of words and images come to mind when I think of it. Keeping kids in mind, and the purpose of the puzzle, this word list captures several of those terms while offering great variety at the same time.

The included words vary in length, level of difficulty, and concept (e.g. general terms, foods, activities, and items):

  • General Terms: Autumn, September, October, November
  • Food: Corn, Apples, Apple Cider, Pumpkin
  • Activities: Bonfire, Thanksgiving, Harvest, Carnival, Football
  • Items: Boots, Rake, Leaves, Sweater, Sunflower

A wonderful add-on activity once the puzzle is completed is to have kids list other words that remind them of fall. Not only is this a good way to get them thinking, but you’ll also learn a lot about the things they notice and like!

This worksheet is medium hard difficulty. Words run horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. However, none of the words run backward.

It’s ideal for kids who are comfortable with word hunts looking to improve their skill level. As kids get better, seeking out higher difficulty levels in more challenging word searches can be very rewarding!

A fall word search filled with autumn-themed words like leaves and pumpkins.

This printable is completely free. To download and print the free Fall Word Search PDF and answer key sheet, simply fill in the form below.

More Word Puzzles

If you enjoyed this autumn word search, check out some of these other fun word activities!

Other Seasonal Ideas

If you have pre-readers, check out this Fall I Spy. Or download these free Fall coloring pages from Crayola.

Celebrate autumn as a family by playing Fall Bingo or Fall Scattergories. Or, get outside to enjoy a hayride or pumpkin patch! Find a Fall Festival near you.

6 thoughts on “Free Printable Fall Word Search with Answer Key”

    • Thank you, I’m glad you find them useful. Thanks for commenting.

  1. Great blog post have recently become obsessed with this word puzzle and can’t get enough of it.

    • Thanks for commenting. Word puzzles are so much fun to complete! I have plenty more on my blog and in my store if you’re looking for more of them.

  2. i can’t find the words autumn, leaves, rake, or carnival. KEY??

    • If you scroll down the post, you’ll see the headline “Printable Fall Word Search” and these directions: To download and print the Fall Word Search PDF simply click the image below. The file (which includes the Fall Word Search Answer Key) will open in a new tab and you can save and/or print it directly from there.


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