Compound Words for First Grade: A Foundational List

As kids continue to build their vocabulary in first grade, it's important to introduce them to compound words for kids. Use this extensive list of compound words appropriate for first graders along with the included worksheet to help early elementary students establish a solid foundation that will help them throughout every aspect of their language arts education.

cupcake is compound word example cupcake is compound word example

Reviewing Compound Words

Putting it simply, a compound word is made by putting two words together to form a single word. The resulting compound word may have a meaning that cannot be determined directly by examining the two original words.

Examples are:

  • cupcake (cup + cake) - A small cake for a single serving, usually with icing on top.
  • something (some + thing) - A thing that may not be entirely known.
  • nowhere (no + where) - Not in any place.
  • anybody (any + body) - Any person at all.

Compound Words for First Grade

There are many compound words for first grade that students of that age can easily understand and enjoy working with. There are actually three types of compound words, but it's best to stick with closed compounds (two words that become a single word with no punctuation) with first graders. Focus on the basics; they can discover more complex compounds later.

Compound Words Table A-D

Review a selection of basic compound words starting with the letters A-D.

airplane

airport

applesauce

armchair

armpit

babysitter

backbend

backpack

barefoot

baseball

bathtub

bedroom

billboard

birthday

blueberry

bookcase

bookmark

bookshelf

brainstorm

bullfrog

butterfly

butternut

campfire

cardboard

catfish

chalkboard

cheeseburger

classmate

classroom

clockwise

copycat

cornbread

cornstalk

crosswalk

crossword

cubbyhole

cupcake

daydream

dishwasher

doghouse

doorknob

doughnut

downhill

downtown

dragonfly

drawbridge

drawstring

driveway

dugout

dustpan

Compound Words Table E-L

Many additional basic compound words start with the letters E-L.

earache

earrings

earthquake

earthworm

eyeballs

fingernail

firefighter

firefly

flagpole

flashlight

football

footstep

forearm

gingerbread

goalkeeper

goldfish

grasshopper

groundhog

hairbrush

hallway

hamburger

hamstring

handstand

hardship

hardware

heartbeat

hedgehog

highway

hillside

homemade

hometown

honeydew

hopscotch

housework

humankind

hummingbird

iceberg

jellyfish

keepsake

keyboard

kneecap

ladybug

landslide

leftover

lifeguard

lighthouse

litterbug

locksmith

lowercase

lumberjack

Compound Words Table M-Z

There are many basic compound words that start with the letters M - Z.

mailbox

moonlight

newborn

newscast

nightfall

nosebleed

notebook

oatmeal

online

outside

pancake

pathway

peanut

peppermint

pinball

playhouse

playmate

ponytail

popcorn

pothole

rainbow

restroom

sandbox

schoolwork

seashell

seesaw

sidewalk

snowball

sunburn

sunflower

sunglasses

sunrise

sunroof

superhero

tablespoon

tadpole

teamwork

teardrop

teaspoon

textbook

underground

viewpoint

waterproof

website

workbook

worksheet

worldwide

wristwatch

yearbook

zookeeper

Printable List of 500+ Compound Words for Kids

For a great teaching resource that's also a fun and cute handout, download the printable list of compound words. It features more than 500 compound words kids can start learning in first grade (and beyond!).

500+ Compound Words for Kids

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Activity: Matching Game Using Compound Words

Compound words work really well in matching games. Children love finding matching pairs among the pile, and it also allows for some creativity in forming new words altogether. It's easy to make your own.

  1. Choose a selection of compound words from the list above. (Five words per student is a good number to start with, though you may want to go with more or less.)
  2. Cut cardstock paper in halves or quarters to form cards, or use index cards.
  3. Print the individual words that join together to form the compound words on their own card. (For example, if you choose yardstick as one of the words, write "yard" on one card and "stick" on another.)
  4. Assign students to work individually or in pairs, letting them know that their task is to match the cards to form five (or whatever number you are using) compound words.
  5. Provide each student (or pair of students) with the appropriate cards.
  6. When students have completed the task, have each student (or pair of students) call out their words. Then, lead the class in a discussion of the activity. Ask them to share what they found challenging, as well as what strategies they used.

Compound Words Practice

In addition to the matching game above, you may be interested in some practice exercises to help teach compound words to children. The answers to these practice questions appear below the printable worksheet, which includes additional practice questions.

Practice Forming Compound Words

Choose the correct answer from the options below each sentence.

  1. Which of the following words can be combined with "pony" to form a compound word?
    1. cake
    2. tail
    3. fish
  2. Which word can be combined with "back" to form a compound word?
    1. yard
    2. quake
    3. fly
  3. Which word can be combined with "grass" to form a compound word?
    1. pan
    2. grow
    3. hopper
  4. Which word can be combined with "play" to form a compound word?
    1. ground
    2. earth
    3. tooth
  5. Wich word can be combined with "jelly" to form a compound word?
    1. food
    2. fish
    3. rise

Printable Compound Word Practice Worksheet

For even more practice exercises in worksheet form, download the printable worksheet below. It focuses on helping students learn to recognize and form compound words, along with an answer key. Activities include connecting words to form compound words, identifying word pairs that do and don't work as compound words and properly writing compound words.

compound word practice worksheet printable

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Answers to Practice Forming Compound Words

The correct answers to the in-article practice items are listed below. The correct response is bold and the compound word appears in parentheses.

  1. Which of the following words can be combined with "pony" to form a compound word?
    1. cake
    2. tail (ponytail)
    3. fish
  2. Which word can be combined with "back" to form a compound word?
    1. yard (backyard)
    2. quake
    3. fly
  3. Which word can be combined with "grass" to form a compound word?
    1. pan
    2. grow
    3. hopper (grasshopper)
  4. Which word can be combined with "play" to form a compound word?
    1. ground (playground)
    2. earth
    3. tooth
  5. Wich word can be combined with "jelly" to form a compound word?
    1. food
    2. fish (jellyfish)
    3. rise

A Life of Learning

One of the most important lessons you can teach first graders is that learning is fun! When helping them with understanding compound words, be sure that they're having a good time. This will pave the way for a lifelong love of learning. They'll be prepared to focus on compound nouns sooner rather than later. Compound verbs won't be far behind. Before long, they'll even be tackling compound sentences.

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