There seems to me to be some stigma around the humble word search. I think it comes from the challenges and stresses facing the beginning teacher. In the quest to cut down lesson planning and preparation time and reduce their stress levels, they grab for a tool like a word search and use it over and over… and over. Then, they perhaps continue using it (regularly) for levels of students where they would be best using another tool.
In fairness, though, I think the word search can be a great tool for beginning students because they have to think about words and letters and combining them together. Many kids love them, although a few don’t. I remember really enjoying them as a child.
Here’s some of my favourite online word search generators: