Plastic eggs each with a printed word family with a bunny Easter basket in the background.

Egg word families

Easy-to-create word family activities - including braille contractions - for springtime fun!

I’m always looking for motivating educational activities that do not require a lot of materials or tons of time to create. Here is a last minute literacy activity for emerging readers that only requires plastic Easter eggs, a black marker and stick-on braille labels – and can be created in minutes!


Use the word families that your student is learning or reviewing. On the longer (pointy) side of the egg, write the two letter word family ending, such as: it, at en, ad, op, etc. Write one word family ending per egg. On the shorter, rounder side of the egg, write the starting letter of each word, such as: s, m, t, c, d, p, etc. There will be multiple starting letters on each round end. Use the same color of plastic egg for the starting letters and the ending letters – this will make it easier to identify the right ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the egg, should thee eggs come apart. Add the corresponding stick-on braille letter letters. Ideally, use the clear plastic stick-on braille labels, so that the sighted peers (or sighted adults) can also match the eggs and read the words!

If desired, the eggs can be filled with a piece of candy or small item such as a Lego block. When the student reads the all the words correctly, he/she can open the egg and have the prize!

Word families

Here are a few word families to get you started:

-at: bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat

-it: bit, fit, hit, lit, pit, sit

-ad: bad, dad, fad, had, lad, mad, pad, sad, tad

-ar: bar, far, jar, tar, star

-en: den, hen, men, pen, ten

-in: bin, fin, pin, sin, tin, win

Game play

The student twists the round end of the egg to line up the beginning letter with the two ending letters. Read the word. Twist the round end to line up the next beginning letter to make the next word. Repeat until all the words formed with that egg are read. Open the egg to receive the prize!

The eggs can be placed in a basket. The student can pick up an egg and shake it. If it makes noise, then the student has not yet read that ‘egg family’. If the egg does not make noise, the student has already read the egg and received the prize.


This is a great activity to practice word families with braille contractions, such as ‘ar’ and ‘en’.

Tech word families

Can you take the egg word family activity a step farther and turn it into a tech activity? Write a word family ending. Ask the student to make a list (one word per line) of words in that word family.

Want to challenge your student’s tech skills? Write a list of the SAME word multiple times. Ask the student to edit that list to make a list of new words in that same word family. Example: Use the word family “-at”. Write the word “sat” five times, in a list format. The student has to navigate to the second word and replace the “s” with “b” to make the word “bat”. Navigate to the third word in the list and replace the “s” with the “c” to make the word “cat”. Repeat until the 4 words under the original “sat” have been replaced to make new words.

by Diane Brauner

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