The perpetual fascination with word search puzzles intrigues ME too. To watch a group of children crowding around, vying to find the hidden words while satisfying all those commendable requirements of word recognition, letter formation and patterns, "proficiency through practice" and having a bunch of fun at the same time. It does warm my heart, even as I fight the temptation to join in the word hunt myself.
So a word search puts the giggle into spelling practice.... computers quickly manipulate data.... generous programmers have made their coding available for free copying from the World Wide Web .... browser programs and plug-ins present the result in a simple format.... it's time to dip a toe in the Java pond. Here we go!
I frequently use the Puzzlemaker -Word Search web site to prepare printable word search charts. Then one day while browsing our "Something Froggy" website I happened upon Frederick Frog's Word Search. I liked the fact that it is interactive and easily "rescramblable" so I clicked on "View" then "Page Source" to investigate.
By viewing the source code of this web page I found that this word search derived from a Java applet named "Seek-A-Word", authored by Eric Harshbarger and made available for free copying from The Applet Depot.
I discovered that tailoring this applet for our own requirements is worth the few hours of initial time invested. Building multiple versions from the original code is a breeze and in fact separate versions can be made ahead, stockpiled and rotated as they are needed.
The following word search example welcomes first grade classmates on the first day of school. The steps to take in making this Java word search puzzle are described following the example. (Click on the first letter and drag your mouse across the word to solve the puzzle.)
(Click on the first letter and drag your mouse across the word to solve the puzzle.)