The idea behind a Word Study program is for children to see the patterns in the words and come up with the rules on their own. Being given a few words that fit a pattern, word study allows them to find more words that fit that pattern. The idea is if you can spell play you can spell say, day, May, stay, etc.
However, we know many parents prefer traditional methods of practicing spelling words. But after a few days, asking students to write their spelling words out five times, can get to be boring, and doesn’t help them remember the words outside of their spelling test. So here are 75 ways to make spelling practice fun.
Writing and Fine Motor Practice - you can do the old stand-by and write your words on a piece of paper, maybe even the dreaded 5x each or you can…….
1. Play Dough Words – use play dough to form letters to spell out each word.
2. Pipe Cleaner Words – use pipe cleaners and bend and form to make letters used to write out the words.
3. Yarn Words – supply some yarn and scissors and let kids snip and create letters to spell out the words.
4. Puffy Paint Words – mix up a batch of puffy paint, write words and pop them in microwave to watch them puff up.
5. Stamp It! – use alphabet stamps and ink pads to stamp out words or let child use fingerprints to write words if you don’t have letter stamps.
6. Paint It! – use a paintbrush and paint to spell words.
7. Finger Paint – let them get messy and have some sensory fun and finger paint to spell their words
8. Reverse Chalk Writing (aka Water Writing) – an easy and fun twist on writing words on the chalkboard. Use chalk to cover the chalkboard and have your child use a paintbrush dipped in water to write their words over it.
9. Type It! – many of our students love computer time, so let them type their spelling words on the computer/ipad/lap top.
10. Rainbow Words – spell words using different colored markers or crayons for each letter.
11. Salt/Sand/Flour Tray – spell words using finger or paintbrush (great sensory experience too). Put colored construction paper under the salt, sand or flour to make the letters really pop.
12. Trace – have fun and let kids trace their words on your back or palm. Have them focus on properly forming each letter so you can feel it being drawn.
13. Sidewalk Chalk (or Paint) – go outside and spell your words using sidewalk chalk. Just taking the spelling practice outside makes it more fun for kids.
14. Shaving Cream - This is another fun sensory experience. Make a thin layer of shaving cream on a tray and use a paintbrush or better yet a fingertip to spell out the words. Have some napkins on hand.
15. Trace in the Air – watch as children trace the letters in the air to spell each word.
16. Alphabet Blocks – use ABC blocks to spell words
17. Letter Beads – use alphabet letter beads and pipe cleaners to build words
18. Letter Tiles – spell words using letter tiles
19. Alphabet Stickers – build words using ABC stickers
20. Small/Medium/Large Words – Children often find writing their words out to be boring. How about jazzing it up by having them write the word using the smallest letters they can possibly write (this one is a fave), then doing it normal sized and finally jumbo sized. It makes tedious writing practice so much more fun.
21. Build a Word with Legos – using some tape write the letters needed for each word ahead of time on some legos. Mix them up and then call out a word and have child(ren) build it using the appropriate legos and you will end up with some spelling word towers. Now that’s a fun way to spell.
22. Crayon Bits – use your broken crayons to make letters and spell the target words.
23. Q-Tip Writing – Use q-tips and paint to dot letters to spell the word or write the word using the q-tip as a paint brush.
24. Magnet Letters – Take a cookie sheet or head for the fridge, add some magnetic letters and spell out the words.
25. Glue & Glitter – Write out spelling words in glue and sprinkle some glitter on top. Glitter makes everything fun, doesn’t it?
26. Wikki Stix – What a fun bendable material and perfect to use in building letters to spell words.
27. Alphabet Rocks – If you have a set of painted ABC rocks these can be a fun way to build and spell words.
28. Marble Words – You could also use small rocks, decorative gems, flat marbles or whatever you have handy.
29. Coffee Filters & Markers – let your child write the words using markers on coffee filters. Once you are all done, hand them a spray bottle of water and let them turn their spelling practice into art!
30. Hidden Spelling Words – on a white piece of paper let your child write out the spelling words using a white crayon. Once all words have been written use watercolors and paint to make hidden words appear.
31. Paint (or Hair Gel) Bags – Pour paint into a ziplock freezer bag and seal. Use fingertips to write words on bag. To erase, simply squish bag and you are ready for the next word.
32. Alpha-Bit Spelling – Use Alpha-Bit cereal, alphabet pasta or even alphabet cookies to spell words – this can even double as a snack when done reviewing if you use the cereal or cookies.
33. Print Words – Use newspaper or magazine print to cut out fun letters. Have child make words using clipped letters.
34. Novelty Erasers – use small erasers to spell words.
35. Q-Tip or Toothpick Letters – use q-tips or toothpicks to build letters and make spelling words.
36. Flower Words – draw a flower for each word, 1 petal for each letter of the word.
37. Other Hand – if you are right handed write your words using your left hand, if you are left handed write words using your right hand.
38. Alphabet Cookie Cutters – use ABC cookie cutters to make words. For extra fun, go ahead and make some word cookies.
39. Window Writing – use Crayola Window Markers and write words on windows or sliding glass doors. They wash off easily and writing on windows or doors is so much more fun than boring old paper.
40. Clothespin Words – Write letters on clothespins and have child pin letters to make words. They can pin onto hanging string (think clothes line) or even an index card.
41. Snap Cube Words – Those colorful snap cubes aren’t just for math. Use them to build letters and form spelling words.
42. Flashlight Words – set up an Alphabet chart, turn out the lights and use a flashlight to shine on each letter (one letter at a time) to spell words.
43. Craft Stick Spelling – write the necessary letters on craft sticks, mix them up and have child build words using the appropriate sticks.
44. Scrabble Spelling – use scrabble pieces to build words. For some sneaky math fun have child total the amount for each word.
45. Tub Spelling – use foam letters in the tub and stick onto the wall to make words.
46. Shower Spelling – Yes, more spelling fun in the tub. This time spread some shaving cream on your shower door or tiled wall over the tub and let your child(ren) finger write words.
47. Bathtub Paint – Still feeling adventurous about the tub? Use bathtub paint and write or paint words onto your shower door, tub or tiled wall. It washes out!
48. Cheez-it Spelling – use ABC Cheez-it crackers to spell words. Then enjoy a yummy snack.
49. Cereal Words – using circle shaped cereal like Cheerios or Froot Loops build letters to form spelling words. Then have a sweet, crunchy snack.
50. Penny or Coin Spelling – use pennies or other small coins to make letters and spell out words.
51. Lima Beans – Another fun manipulative to use are lima beans. Write letters on beans, mix them up and put them in a pile for the children. Call out spelling words and have child search for the appropriate beans to spell each word.
Oral Practice – sure you can just practice spelling your words out loud but wouldn’t it be more fun to……..
52. Sing – Use whatever song or beat you like but a simple B-I-N-G-O like song & some clapping works wonders especially on that first day of practicing words. It really helps kids begin to remember those words.
53. Rap – Yes rap! This is so much fun and a great way to – S to the P to the E to the Double L, spells SPELL! Let them have fun with it and get creative. We always end up in fits of giggles and it really doesn’t feel like homework.
54. Partner Spell – take turns adding a letter to spell each word. For example, for the word FUN – child starts by saying the letter F, parents adds letter U and child then completes word by adding the letter N. This requires focus and listening and is a great exercise for elementary aged learners.
55. Cheerleader Chant – Give me an S, give me a P, give me an E, give me an L, give me a L – what’s that spell? SPELL!
56. Record – record child(ren) orally spelling words.
57. Make a Video – use the household video camera or even your phone to take some quick video of your child spelling the target words.
58. Microphone – Spell words into a microphone. There is just something fun about hearing yourself loud and magnified so have fun with it and practice those spelling words too.
Gross Motor Practice – make spelling practice fun by getting active while practicing words.
59. Jump Rope while orally spelling the words.
60. Hula Hoop and spell words out loud.
61 Hopscotch Spelling – Write letters outside in chalk or play indoors with large letter cards on floor. Hop from letter to letter to spell words.
62. Bounce a Ball – bounce a ball as you spell words – 1 bounce per letter.
63. Balloon Bop – keep a balloon up in the air while spelling your word. This one gets lots of giggles.
64. Swat & Spell – put letter cards on the floor and using a flyswatter, swat the letters in the order necessary to spell words.
65. Froggy Spelling – leap like a frog and spell words – 1 letter for each leap.
66. Jumpin’ Jack – do jumping jacks as you spell words – 1 jump per letter
67. Hop & Spell – hop on one foot as you spell words, this is a great exercise in balance especially with longer words.
Games and Online Fun – you can use flashcards or you can take your spelling practice to a whole new level by playing games and even having some online fun.
68. Have child spell and write 2 sets of words onto flashcards and then play a Memory Game with them.
69. Which is Correct? Write words on dry erase board and include misspelled words. Have child identify the correctly spelled words.
70. Wordsearch – you can visit sites like PuzzleMaker , plug in your child’s spelling list and create a word search that you can print. Then have your child search for the correctly spelled spelling words and circle them. Let them use different colored highlighters for some added visual fun.
71. Mystery Letters – write words with missing letters. Child must figure out which mystery letters are missing in order to complete words .
72. Word Puzzle Scavenger Hunt – Write words onto construction paper and cut apart letters. Put letters in plastic eggs or other such container and hide around room. Have child find words you’ve hidden and put words together correctly like a word puzzle.
73. Puzzle Words – How about using old puzzle pieces to practice spelling words? I love this idea from No Time for Flashcards.
74. Spelling BINGO – Make or print a few blank BINGO cards to use with spelling practice. Kids love to play BINGO. Write spelling words in boxes and randomly call out (or use flashcards) words. Child should cover appropriate words when called. To make things extra challenging, write words spelled incorrectly in a few spaces as well so child has to discriminate between the correctly spelled words and the incorrect ones.
75. Unscramble – use magnet letters or letter tiles for each word, scramble them up and have child put letters in correct order to spell words.