The letter K has been part of the alphabet for a long time, since the Phoenicians in fact, and while it's only moderately common in English, it's a universal sound: nearly every language has the voiceless velar plosive. This list of K words for kids is designed to engage students with these unique words.
Preschool/Kindergarten Words That Start With K
English abounds with simple, important K words. This K words list starts your students off with the linguistic basics they can build on later.
- Keep: To hold onto, to retain for yourself; or another word for a castle
- Kick: To strike with the foot
- Kid: A young goat or a young person
- Kin: Family
- Kind: Good and gentle; or a particular type of person, place or thing
- King: The male ruler of a monarchy
- Kit: A set of parts for building something
- Kitten: A young cat
- Knee: The joint in the middle of the leg
- Knot: A way of tying rope or string
These words are linguistically simple, but often convey non-obvious meanings. Letter K activities, especially visual aids, are important to make sure your students understand these words. We've provided a visual quiz to help out, which you can download and print in PDF format below.
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1st Grade Words That Start With K
Many of the following K words are concrete rather than abstract. Visual aids will help young students grasp the things they describe.
- Keel: The main beam at the bottom of the boat
- Keen: Sharp, either literally like a keen edge or figuratively like a keen mind
- Kelp: Long strands of algae that form forests in the ocean
- Key: A tool to open a lock
- Kidney: An organ that filters unhealthy chemicals from the body
- Kiln: An oven for drying pottery
- Knit: To join together loops of yarn to make something
- Kneel: To go down on one or both knees
- Knife: A tool to cut things
- Know: To understand
The big next step in these words is the silent K. We've included several words that begin with a silent K, like "know" and "knit." Verbal games such as saying these words aloud to a rhythm, or choosing multiple students, each with one word they must repeat when another word is said, will familiarize your students with this oddity of English.
2nd Grade Words That Start With K
Your students are likely to know at least some of these K words already. That's a wonderful way to connect them with the new additions to their vocabulary.
- Kangaroo: A large Australian mammal that hops
- Keg: A small barrel
- Ketchup: A smooth spiced tomato-based sauce
- Kibble: Dry pet food
- Kitchen: Room for preparing food
- Kindle: To light a fire, or to inspire or interest someone in something
- Knock: To strike lightly with a closed fist in order to make noise, as on a door
- Knowledge: Things people know
- Koala: A tree-living Australian marsupial that looks like a tiny bear
- Krill: Tiny crustaceans that live in the ocean, often eaten by whales
Use the familiarity of some K words to your advantage. Encourage them to write complete sentences, even whole stories, centering on kangaroos, kelp or krill.
3rd Grade Words That Start With K
These 3rd grade K words come from all over the world, from sources as disparate as Yiddish, Inuit and onomatopoeia. That represents a wonderful way to engage your students' interest in expanding their vocabulary.
- Kayak: A small boat pointed at both ends, rowed with a double-ended oar
- Kazoo: A small wind instrument that produces a buzzing sound
- Khaki: A stiff yellow-brown fabric, or pants made from that fabric
- Kilt: A Scottish plaid skirt worn by men
- Klutz: A clumsy person
- Knack: A natural skill or talent
- Kneepad: A soft protective pad for the knee
- Knob: A rounded lump
- Knuckle: A joint in a finger
- Kook: A strange or crazy person
To interest your students, explore the origins of these words. Try printing out a map and writing the words in each country they come from, then drawing lines to where you and your students are!
4th Grade Words That Start With K
Activities in 4th grade should engage students with the context and larger significance of the words on this list.
- Karate: A Japanese martial art
- Keepsake: An object kept to remember something or someone
- Keyboard: The panel of buttons for using a computer
- Kimono: A traditional Japanese ankle-length robe.
- Kindred: A person's family
- Kiosk: A small storefront or booth
- Kiwi: A small flightless bird from New Zealand
- Knead: To work dough with the hands
- Knight: A European nobleman who fought on horseback
- Kudos: Praise for an achievement
Many of these words fit videos and other visual aids. Your students are likely to enjoy videos of knights jousting or karate demonstrations, and what they see will help them associate images with these vocabulary words.
The Letter K Is Everywhere
One of the unique qualities of K as a letter is that its sound occurs in almost every spoken language. Since English is so rich in derivatives and borrowed words, this creates a wide range of vocabulary to engage your students' minds.
For more enriching vocabulary and etymology, take a look at our words starting with B! We bet your brilliant students will benefit from such a beautiful list of words.