BlogELA for KidsWhat are Compound Words: Definition, Examples & More

What are Compound Words: Definition, Examples & More

Compound words for kids are everywhere, seamlessly blending into our daily language. By merging two words into one, they help kids understand each word better and grasp complex ideas. This blog will guide you through different types of compound words, provide a compound words list, and ways to teach compound words to kids. Let’s dive in!

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What are Compound Words?

Compound words are words that are formed by joining two or more smaller words together to form a new phrase that has a different meaning.

Here are some compound words examples:

  • Sunflower – Combines “sun” and “flower.”
  • Toothbrush – Merges “tooth” and “brush.”
  • Playground – Joins “play” and “ground.”

What Are the Types of Compound Words for Kids?

Types of compound words

Now that we know what compound words are, let us understand what are the types of compound words that students should know and understand. You can focus on the utility of compound words to help students learn them better.

Type of Compound WordDefinitionExamples
Closed Compound WordsWherein two words come together to form a completely new type of word.Base + Ball = Baseball
Open Compound WordsWhen a modifying adjective is added to a noun to create a new noun, that is an open compound word.Store + Room = Storeroom
Hyphenated Compound WordsWhen two or more words are connected by one or more hyphens. They often retain a clearer link to their original meanings than other compound word types.Father-in-law,  Well-known

150 Examples of Compound Words for Kids

Compound words come in all variations, making them an important topic to focus on as kids progress from grade to grade. You can use these 150 examples of compound words to teach kids about the subject area within your own lesson plan.

50 Closed Compound Word Examples

Word Parts
Word Parts Close Compound Word
After + noon Afternoon Angel + fish Angelfish
Air + plane Airplane Any + body Anybody
Air + port Airport Any + one Anyone
Arm + chair Armchair Arm + pit Armpit
Basket + ball Basketball Bath + tub Bathtub
Bed + room Bedroom Birth + place Birthplace
Blue + berry Blueberry Body + guard Bodyguard
Book + store Bookstore Brain + storm Brainstorm
Bull + frog Bullfrog Bus + boy Busboy
Butter + fly Butterfly Cab + driver Cabdriver
Can + not Cannot Candle + stick Candlestick
Cat + fish Catfish Cave + man Caveman
Cross + bow Crossbow Cross + walk Crosswalk
Day + break Daybreak Day + dream Daydream
Day + light Daylight Desk + top Desktop
Dog + house Doghouse Door + bell Doorbell
Door + mat Doormat Down + hill Downhill
Dragon + fly Dragonfly Drop + down Dropdown
Dust + bin Dustbin Every + thing Everything
Extra + curricular Extracurricular Eye + ball Eyeball
Eye + brow Eyebrow Finger + nail Fingernail
Fire + cracker Firecracker Fish + bowl Fishbowl
Fisher + man Fisherman Foot + ball Football
Foot + path Footpath
Optimized for both B&W and colored prints

50 Open Compound Words Examples

Word Parts
Word Parts Open Compound Word
Ice Ice Cream Post Post Office
Living Living Room Full Full Moon
High High School Real Real Estate
Half Half Time Bath Bath Towel
Hot Hot Dog Swimming Swimming Pool
Fire Fire Drill North North Pole
Middle Middle Class Police Police Officer
Grand Grand Opening Class Class Room
Web Web Page Washing Washing Machine
Bus Bus Stop Coffee Coffee Shop
Data Data Center Voice Voice Mail
Master Master Key Roller Roller Coaster
Dining Dining Room Cell Cell Phone
Play Play Ground Snake Snake Bite
Merry Merry Go Round Sick Sick Leave
Waiting Waiting Room Bed Bed Room
Arm Arm Chair Note Note Book
Space Space Station Video Video Game
Solar Solar System Race Race Track
Flower Flower Pot Dinner Dinner Table
Motor Motor Boat Parking Parking Lot
Long Long Jump Rock Rock Band
Guard Guard Rail Smoke Smoke Detector
Ice Ice Skating Snow Snow Man
Credit Credit Card Light Light Year
Optimized for both B&W and colored prints

50 Hyphenated Compound Words

Word Parts
Word Part Hyphenated Compound Words
Father Father-in-law Mother Mother-in-law
Well Well-being Long Long-term
High High-speed Short Short-term
Check Check-in Double Double-check
Half Half-baked Merry Merry-go-round
Part Part-time Full Full-time
Sister Sister-in-law Brother Brother-in-law
Editor Editor-in-chief Up Up-to-date
Long Long-lasting Mass Mass-produced
Well Well-known Old Old-fashioned
Wide Wide-ranging Hand Hand-picked
Middle Middle-aged Brand Brand-new
State State-of-the-art Self Self-esteem
Self Self-control Dry Dry-cleaning
Second Second-hand All All-inclusive
Vice Vice-president Cross Cross-section
Cross Cross-reference X X-ray
T T-shirt Decision Decision-making
Free Free-for-all Hand Hand-to-hand
Step Step-by-step Self Self-aware
End End-to-end Well Well-documented
Cost Cost-effective Two Two-thirds
Energy Energy-efficient User User-friendly
All All-out Far Far-reaching
Single Single-minded Duty Duty-free
Optimized for both B&W and colored prints

8 Fun Ways of Teaching Compound Words to Kids

kids rejoicing that they understand compound words

Teachers should look for two essential elements when explaining compound words to students:

  • You should remember to explain that compound words can have new meanings when connecting two smaller words.
  • You should also clarify that complex words can be three words coming together to form a new word. Compound words can be multi-syllable, but not all multi-syllable words are compound words. This should help kids understand what they are without feeling confused.

Compound words for kids can be complicated to pick up through verbal instructions alone. You can focus on games, puzzles, toys, and exercises to get kids to understand the utility and versatility of compound words.Here are some fun ways to get started:

1. Fill in the Blanks

In this activity, kids are provided with partially completed compound words, where each missing letter is represented by an underscore. For instance, ‘B__ksh__lf’ corresponds to the compound word ‘bookshelf’. Kids are tasked with identifying the missing letters and filling them in to form the complete compound word accurately. This exercise strengthens kids’ understanding of compound word structures and improves their spelling proficiency.

Here are some fun complete the compound word worksheets:

2. Compound Words Matching

In this engaging activity, kids are given two lists of words on a worksheet. Their task is to draw lines connecting words from the first list to the appropriate words in the second list to form compound words. This matching game not only makes learning fun but also enhances their ability to recognize how two different words can combine to form a new word with a new meaning.

Here are some fun compound words matching worksheet:

3. Name the Compound Word

This activity utilizes visual learning to solidify the concept of compound words. Kids are presented with pairs of images, each representing one word. Below each pair is a blank space where kids write the compound word that combines the two images. For example, a picture of a dog and a house would be combined to form “doghouse.” This visual association aids in better memory retention and understanding of compound words.

Get started with this printable worksheet:

4. Identifying Compound Words in Stories

By reading through books and short stories, you can ask kids to identify compound words within the text. This will help them understand why we use compound words in English and how they impact contextualization and structuring.

5. Sing-Alongs

You can make poems and songs on compound words and use songs to help kids enjoy learning about compound words naturally. You can also bring props to demonstrate which words are compound words and which aren’t. 

6. Chopping Words

You can print out compound words on paper in a nice bold font and have your kids cut in the middle of the compound word to create two words. If your kids understand compound words correctly, they should be able to cut the compound word’s original root words.

7. Determining Which is Compound & Non-Compound

You can play a game with your students to help them understand compound words better. By giving them two options and asking them to figure out whether they are compound words or not, you can test their abilities organically. You can also provide references and compound words list examples.

8. Draw the Compound Word

This gives your kids a kinesthetic way of learning about compound words through painting. Kids can paint out the compound word based on the prompt shared with them. For instance, they can be given sun + screen, and they must draw a tube of sunscreen.

Discover more online educational resources and printable worksheets for kids that will help with their learning experience and make them smarter.

Related Reading: How Can Teachers Help English Language Learners


Understanding compound words is key for kids. By exploring this compound words list, they can grasp simple compound words effortlessly. Encouraging kids to recognize and use compound words in everyday language lays a strong foundation for their vocabulary skills. With practice and exposure, children can confidently navigate the world of compound words.

Related Reading: Sight Words for First Graders That Kids

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Can you use flashcards to teach compound words ?

Yes, flashcards are an effective way to teach compound words to kids. You can print them out as a teaching tool when exploring complex compound words.

Why do kids need to learn compound words?

The etymology and utility of compound words are essential to teaching kids to make them more comfortable with speaking, understanding, writing, and listening to the English language.

How to introduce compound words to young kids?

You can introduce compound words to kids through multiple strategies, such as with toys, props, storytelling, and games.

What are some compound words for kindergarten?

Examples include “sunflower,” “rainbow,” and “cupcake.”

What are some compound words for 2nd graders?

2nd graders might encounter words like “skateboard,” “snowflake,” and “basketball.”

What are some first grade compound words?

Examples of first grade compound words are “sunflower,” “playground,” and “toothbrush.”

Amy Paige
Amy Paige has been teaching for the last 12 years. She’s a late tech convert who loves to utilize technology in her classroom to motivate students and prepare them for the 21st century.