108B. Nightlight: Two Words Become One

Activity Name: Two Words Become One

In “Nightlight”, the WordFriends™ put two words “night” and “light” together to make a “nightlight”. In this fun activity, you and your child can explore hidden words inside of words and create new words by putting two words together.

Related Episode: 108 B. Nightlight.
Age Range:
Understanding Compound Words.
Literacy and Language Development.


  • Pieces of paper.
  • Crayons, markers or pencils.


  1. Think about some compound words (words made up of two smaller words) that might interest your child. Here are some examples:
    toothbrush (tooth + brush) birthday (birth + day)
    schoolyard (school + yard) bathtub (bath + tub)
    nightlight (night + light) bookmark (book + mark)
    daytime (day + time) earring (ear + ring)
    shoebox (shoe + box) postman (post + man)
  2. Say each compound word out loud (for example, “toothbrush”). Tell your child that there are two words hidden in that word. Ask your child to listen closely and see if he can find the two words (for example, the words “tooth” and “brush”).
  3. Draw or cut out and paste pictures of each smaller word (for example, “tooth” and “brush”) on a separate piece of paper. Write the word below its picture.
  4. Take the word/picture cards and use them to practice building bigger words with your child. For example: Pick up the “tooth” card and say, “What’s this?” Then pick up the “brush” card and say, “What’s this?” Once your child has said “tooth” and “brush”, ask your child to put the two words side by side. Then have your child say the words one at a time “tooth…brush” and then together: “toothbrush.” Point out the fact that he has made the word “toothbrush.” Discuss the relationship between the two words–the new word is a type of brush that is used on your tooth. Then draw or cut out and paste a picture of the word “toothbrush” on a separate sheet of paper. Write the word “toothbrush” below its picture.
  5. Repeat steps 1-5 with other compound words.

Take it Further:

  • Build a WordThing™ Write a compound word, like “bathtub”, in big letters on a piece of construction paper or cardboard. Then have your child turn the word into a WordThing by drawing an outline of the object’s shape (a bathtub) around it and decorating it.

With a Group

Making New Words Use the word cards from the “Two Words Become One” activity for this game:

  1. Place all of the compound words (like “nightlight) in front of you with the picture side facing up. Place all of the other words (like “night” and “light”) in a bag and mix them up.
  2. Pick a card from the bag and put it face up on the playing surface. Take turns doing this with your child.
  3. If a player picks out a word that can make a real compound word with one of the words that have already been picked, he can say, “It’s time to build a word. Let’s build it. Let’s build it now!” He then puts the two words together. For example, if one player pulls out the word “night”, he puts it down, face up, for all to see. If another player then pulls out the word “light”, he says, it’s time to build a word and puts the two words together to create “nightlight”. Everyone says each word out loud as the player puts them together. Then all players say the new word and applaud the fact that they have built a compound word. The player who picked the last word (for example, light) then puts the compound word (nightlight) and the two words that form that word (night and light) in his pile.
  4. The game continues until all of the words have been used.