Free Printable Kwanzaa Word Search Puzzles

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These free printable Kwanzaa word search puzzles are perfect for learning about this African-American holiday, which is celebrated from December 26 to January 1.

There are nine different word search puzzles of varying difficulty, which means the whole family can join in the word fun!

Don’t have time for this printable now? Be sure to tap the heart icon in the bottom right of the screen to save this post for later!

Digital images of printable word searches for Kwanzaa.

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Free Printable Kwanzaa Word Search

Word games are a great way to learn new words, and while compiling this word search puzzle for Kwanzaa, I learned a lot of new words!

I wanted my series Create the Holidays (see below) to include the different holidays that are celebrated around the world, during the winter season, so I created this free printable Kwanzaa word search as a starting point!

Where Are The Downloads?

  • You will find the download links further down this page surrounded by a purple box.
  • Tap the purple download buttons to save the file(s) to your device.
  • Printables are available in two paper sizes – A4 and US Letter (8.5″ x 11″).
  • Download the size that is appropriate for your printer.
Free Printable Word Searches for Kwanzaa

What Is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a secular, annual celebration of Pan-African and African-American culture from December 26 to January 1, with a community feast called karamu.

It was created in the 1960s, by activist Maulana Karenga, who took inspiration from harvest festivals in various parts of West and Southeast Africa.

The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruits”. It was decided to spell the holiday’s name with an additional “a” so that it would have a symbolic seven letters.

Other countries that celebrate Kwanzaa include Great Britain, Jamaica, France, Canada, and Brazil.

Kwanzaa has many symbolic things associated with it, and it’s actually been quite the learning experience for me as I put together the word list for the word puzzles.

I found pretty much all of the associated words on the Official Kwanzaa Website, as well as the Wiki page.

I’m going to share the symbolism and meanings of [some of] the words used so that you can in turn teach your kids (or yourself) about them while they solve the puzzles.


The Seven Principles & Celebratory Symbols

  • Nguzo Saba – the seven principles of Kwanzaa and are Swahili words that comprise the common philosophy (Kawaida).
  • Umojameans unity.
  • Kujichaguliameans self-determination.
  • Ujimameans collective work.
  • Ujamaameans cooperative economics.
  • Niameans purpose.
  • Kuumbameans creativity.
  • Imani – means faith.
  • Mkekaa mat upon which the symbolic items are placed.
  • Mishumaa Sabaseven candles – 3 red, 1 black, and 3 green. Learn more about the candles and their meaning.
  • Kinarathe candle holder for the seven candles.
  • Mazaothe Swahili word for crops.
  • Mahindiears of corn, which represents the children celebrating.
  • Kikombe cha Umojathe unity cup for commemorating and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors.
  • Zawadigifts, which are exchanged on the final day, are often handmade, and intended to symbolize and encourage growth and success. Must always include a book and a heritage symbol
  • Benderathe Kwanzaa flag, which is red, black, and green.

Other Symbolic Items

  • Kentea Ghanaian textile, made of handwoven cloth, strips of silk, and cotton.
  • Kaftans in West Africa this is a pull-over woman’s robe.
  • Dashikia colorful garment that covers the top half of the body, worn mostly in West Africa.
  • Kufi Cap – a brimless, short, and rounded cap worn by men.
  • Karamuor Karamu Ya Imani is the feast of faith that takes place at the end of Kwanzaa.
  • ShukraniSwahili for thanks.
  • Habari Gani – the greeting for each day of Kwanzaa and is Swahili for “How are you?”. The answer is each of the seven principles, such as “Umoja”, on the first day, “Kujichagulia”, on the second day, and so on.
  • Dagi Knota Pan-African symbol of unity found in several African cultures. (Umoja)
  • Ahenwathe Akan Throne, a symbol of national identity, cultural groundedness, and rightful governance. (Kujichagulia)
  • Akoma Ntoasothe Adinkra symbol of shared effort and obligation. (Ujima)
  • Adinkra Symbolsare from Ghana, often used in fabrics, logos, and pottery. Akoma Ntoaso is an Adinkra symbol.
  • Nsibidi Symbols pictograms from what is now the far South of Nigeria. The two interlocking half circles symbolize togetherness and family. (Ujamaa)
  • Hieroglyph, Neferthe ancient Egyptian symbol of beauty and good. (Nia)
  • Dogon Symbolthe seven vibrations of divine creation. (Kuumba)
  • Ankh the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph for life is combined with…
  • Djed …the ancient hieroglyph for stability to create the djed pillar ankh, to symbolise Imani (faith).
Free Kwanzaa Word Searches to Print

Kwanzaa Foods

Throughout the week, favorite African-American dishes, as well as traditional African, Caribbean, and South American recipes, are on many menus. Source: Epicurious

  • Candied Yamsa classic soul food recipe made using sweet potatoes.
  • Collard Greens large, leafy green vegetable common in southern U.S. cooking.
  • Fried Plantains – a tropical starchy fruit related to bananas. A popular side dish in African and Caribbean cuisine.
  • Gumboa hearty stew made from combinations of seafood, meat or vegetables that’s served hot over cooked rice.
  • Jambalayaan American Creole and Cajun rice dish of French, African, and Spanish influence, consisting mainly of meat and vegetables mixed with rice.
  • Jollof Ricea West African rice dish with tomatoes and spices.
  • Okra Stew a spicy stew made with okra (known as okro throughout West Africa), seafood and meat.
  • Peach Cobbleran American South dessert made with cooked fruit topped with biscuits or dumplings.
  • Peanut Stewa spicy dish and a staple food in Western Africa, also known as maafe, sauce d’arachide, tigadèguèna or domoda.
  • Sweet Potato Piea traditional dessert, originating in the Southern United States created by the African American community.
Download Kwanzaa Word Search Free Printable

Kwanzaa Word Searches

I have created nine different word searches of varying difficulty (they are color-coded) using words and phrases associated with Kwanzaa as described below:

  • In the three easy word search puzzles, single words appear horizontally and vertically and forwards only.
  • In the three medium word search puzzles, single words and phrases appear horizontally, vertically, and diagonally and forwards only.
  • In the three hard word search puzzles, words and phrases appear forwards and backward and in all directions – horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.

The answer sheets to all the puzzles are included should you have trouble finding all of the words/phrases.

Puzzles like this Kwanzaa word search set are also fab for those with a competitive nature!

Whether it is by yourself and trying to solve the puzzle against a timer, or with other people and see who can find all the words first.

As you find the words, cross them off the list.

I like to use highlighter pens to mark words when I find them instead of crossing them through.

Highlighting the words is best for children as the letters can still be clearly seen (helpful for when words cross paths on the grid).

Word Searches for Kwanzaa Printable

Benefits of Word Searches

Word searches are great brain-training puzzles for people of all ages.

They are fun to do and they have some great benefits including:

  • Developing word recognition
  • Developing pattern recognition
  • Encourage problem-solving
  • Increasing vocabulary
  • Improving spelling
  • It can help to boost your memory and brain development

More Word Search Printables

Looking for more word search printables to download? Right-click and open these ones in a new tab to check out next:

We have created more than 100+ Free Printables for you to download and use. They include seasonal crafts, decorations, puzzles, coloring sheets, and more! Right-click and open a new tab to read next.

Free Printable Kwanzaa Word Searches

Download Free Kwanzaa Word Search Printables

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Download Kwanzaa Word Search Free Printables

The Create the Holidays series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog features free printables, crafts, recipes, and more for Christmas and the Winter Holidays. Check out Create the Holidays (formerly Create Christmas) from 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016201520142013, and 2012.


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This post features in Twinkl’s Create Unique Christmas Gifts blog.

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