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Great Word Puzzles for Tiger Moms and Their Cubs: Common Sense Puzzle #1

Updated on April 24, 2011

Oh, there are so many fun word puzzles and games that can serve as a source of enjoyment and learning for Tiger Moms and their Tiger Cubs - and a source of learning while having fun!

One interesting type of puzzle is a "Common Sense" word puzzle, also known sometimes as Family Ties. In this type of puzzle, each numbered segment contains four words that belong to the same topic or subject, but each word has had one letter changed to disguise it. And what's more, when the letter was changed, an actual word was formed - not merely a meaningless jumble of letters.

The puzzle solver sees four apparently unrelated words and has to figure out which letter to change in each one to make a new word, and to do that in such a way that the four new words are all related in some way.

One helpful trick for those who are new to this type of puzzle (and especially for solvers who are children) is to look at each word individually and perhaps to cover each letter, one at a time, to see what words might be created when one letter is changed. Brainstorm a whole group of words. When that has been done for each of the four words, some sort of pattern should emerge to help find the meaning or sense that the four words have in common, and from there to select the four answer words.

The puzzles presented here are designed for elementary age children. Since this type of puzzle is likely very new to most children, a hint is given for each group of four words (although you will not normally find hints with these puzzles). But, assuming that a puzzle solver really doesn't want too much help, the hints are slightly indirect. A parent or teacher who is sharing this puzzle may choose to change the hint, if more help is needed. The idea is to have fun!

Speaking of having fun: If a child becomes frustrated or bored with this, it's likely best to stop for a while and come back to it again later during leisure time. But even as a fun, brainy game, there is plenty that a solver can learn from this puzzle and others, including some new vocabulary words.

There are three levels of puzzle presented here. In each level first the puzzle appears, then the hints and the solution side-by-side. Please contact me if you have questions about this. Your comments are always welcome, and I hope you and your Cubs enjoy the puzzles!

Level I Puzzles

1. top    dill    coat    black 

2. mouse    hug    shark    dent 

3. bar    bud    maxi    drain 

4. ark    peg    ton    singer 

5. sports    stacks    pangs    beans 

6. slate    sky    shed    lure 

7. tight    spade    mark    fright 

8. shorn    friar    slicker    splitter 

9. bug    cut    class    giblet 

10.lingo    yards    mice    spanner

Level I Solution

  1. toy doll boat block
  2. house hut shack tent
  3. car bus taxi train
  4. arm leg toe finger
  5. shorts slacks pants jeans
  6. skate ski sled luge
  7. light shade dark bright
  8. thorn briar sticker splinter
  9. mug cup glass goblet
  10. bingo cards dice spinner


Level I Hints

  1. play
  2. home
  3. travel
  4. body
  5. wear
  6. winter
  7. see
  8. ouch
  9. drink
  10. games

Level II Puzzle


  1. prance  sing      pace     dune    
  2. racket   moat     scare    grove   
  3. wall      bag       bale      mount  
  4. clue      greed    bellow  frown  
  5. beat      broad   means   brink   
  6. spool    place    fort       class    
  7. sleep    pain      haul      know   
  8. dunk     pleasant   bard     swam           
  9. print     drag     scamp  lye       
  10. harden  slant     blower  feed     
  11. gruel     moan    marsh   fateful  
  12. sharp    yelp      ploy      balk     
  13. winnow   sputter   wane   flame
  14. rope     dairy     oily       penny  
  15. chore    reach    wafer    band

Level II Solutions

  1. prince   king      page     duke    
  2. jacket   coat      scarf     glove   
  3. ball       bat       base     mound 
  4. blue      green    yellow  brown 
  5. meat     bread   beans   drink   
  6. spoon   plate     fork      glass    
  7. sleet     rain       hail       snow   
  8. duck     pheasant   bird      swan   
  9. paint     draw    stamp   dye      
  10. garden  plant     flower   weed (seed)
  11. cruel     meant   harsh    hateful 
  12. share    help      play      talk      
  13. window  shutter  pane     frame   
  14. rose      daisy    lily        peony  
  15. shore    beach   water    sand

Level II Hints


  1. court
  2. winter
  3. game
  4. rainbow
  5. table
  6. table
  7. weather
  8. wings
  9. art
  10. grow
  11. unkind
  12. friend
  13. wall
  14. blossom
  15. summer

Level III Puzzles

  1. nook    reap     trite      span    
  2. worse   pin        cog       steep   
  3. wish     fat        dot       douse  
  4. lined     pool     milk      radon  
  5. bad      lack      curse    pallet   
  6. piece    runt      bother  rather  
  7. ample   merry   time      glum    
  8. born     yaw      union    popper
  9. marriage           part      baggy   roach   
  10. swine    threat    spring   word   
  11. slow     repeal   oven     bark    
  12. feel       flout      pure     gait      
  13. cable    choir     stoop    cheat   
  14. fountain            galley    plaid     mill      
  15. roam    dart      boil       silo      
  16. crew     booth   coup     stem    
  17. quiet     blanked            cower   sweet  
  18. rumor   colic     woke    best     
  19. field      bold     left        grass   
  20. brand   greet     barge    luge

Level III Solutions


  1. book    read     write     scan    
  2. horse    pig        cow      sheep  
  3. fish       cat        dog      mouse 
  4. linen     wool     silk       rayon   
  5. bag       sack     purse    wallet  
  6. niece    aunt      mother  father   
  7. apple    berry    lime      plum    
  8. corn     yam      onion    pepper
  9. carriage  cart    buggy   coach  
  10. twine    thread   string    cord    
  11. show    reveal   open     bare    
  12. reel       float      lure       bait      
  13. table     chair     stool     chest   
  14. mountain  valley  plain  hill        
  15. loam     dirt       soil       silt       
  16. brew    broth    soup     stew    
  17. quilt      blanket  cover   sheet   
  18. humor   comic   joke     jest      
  19. wield    hold      heft       grasp   
  20. grand    great     large     huge

Level III Hints


  1. library
  2. farm
  3. pet
  4. sew
  5. tote
  6. kin
  7. pie
  8. soup
  9. ride
  10. tie
  11. uncover
  12. fishing
  13. room
  14. land
  15. grow
  16. eat
  17. bed
  18. smile
  19. sword
  20. big


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    • Aficionada profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Thanks, flying_fish! I hope you enjoy this and some of the other word puzzles here. I am a big puzzle buff and have just recently renewed my enjoyment of creating them on my own.

    • flying_fish profile image


      7 years ago from GTA



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