Not only did we lose Maddy’s very first homework packet over here in the chaos of the first few weeks of school; we also only spent only a fraction of the time we should have on her first spelling word list.
Needless to say, that first test wasn’t pretty, and Maddy really didn’t learn the words like she should have–or could have. So we’ve been trying new ways of tackling the spelling word beast over here.
This teachy-mama has done a little research and has come up with some very exciting Fun Ways to Learn Spelling Words for my sweet Maddy so that she doesn’t look at it as homework–she looks at it as fun.
So here’s what we found:
The entire fun ways of learning spelling words as a pdf to download (find it at the bottom of the post!), but here’s a sampling of what we’re trying. . .
With spelling word flash cards:
- Flash Cards: I’m a flash card fan–not to endlessly flip in front of a kid’s face–but to use in games, activities, and sneaky-learning ways. I’ve created flash cards for each of Maddy’s lists but I’ve also created a Blank Spelling List for those weeks I just can’t type one myself (or for anyone else to use). spelling list-blank sheet is here as a pdf.
- Spelling Word Memory: Create a double set of word cards and play a game of Spelling Word Memory by spreading out the cards face down and then taking turns flipping two cards at a time to find a pair!
- Flip 4 Steps: In just 4 steps, your child can practice reading, spelling, and writing his words.Have him flip over a word card, look at the word, say it out loud, say the letters, then flip it back over, and write the word on paper.
- Trace, Copy, Recall: Fold three columns on a piece of paper, and label one column ‘trace’, the next ‘copy’ and the last ‘recall’. Write the word in the first column, and have your child trace the letters.Next have her copy the word by looking at what she’s just written.Finally, have her fold (and hide) the first two columns and recall the spelling on her own as she writes the word independently.
With a pen, pencil, marker, & paper:
- Spelling Word Race: Create two teams, with a player from each team taking the ‘pen’ at a time.Teacher (or parent) calls out a word from the list, and players race to write the word.
- Spelling Puzzle: Make a home-made puzzle by writing each word in large letters on an index card and then having the child cut each card apart.The fun is in putting the puzzle back together!
- Stairsteps: Write the words as if they are stairs, adding one letter at a time.
- Tic-Tac-Toe: There are a ton of cool ways to play with this old game! Create a larger-sized board and play tic-tac-toe where each player uses a spelling word.OR, have each player use an ‘X’ or ‘O’ but in order to place a mark on the board, she has to spell a word correctly.
- Window Writing: All you need is special wind0w-safe crayons to use, and Window-Writing makes learning spelling words totally crazy and so much fun!
- WORDO!: Kind of like Bingo but with letters, words, or numbers! (Or just stick with a build-your-own bingo— but doesn’t WORDO! sound more fun?)
- Flip and Rainbow Write: Flip a word card and have your child go through the rainbow, painting or writing each word flipped in rainbow colors.Make the first word red, second orange, third yellow, etc. OR write each letter in a colorof the rainbow.
- Water Paint: Use water and a paintbrush to water paint the spelling words.On a hot, sunny day, words disappear quickly—so spellers have to move fast!
With a computer and other fun electronics:
- Type it Out: Open up a Word document and have your child type the spelling words on the screen as you call them out.Enlarge the font, make it a cool color, and he’ll have a ball.
- Spell on Tape: Have your child spell the words into a tape recorder or using the voice recorder on your phone or computer.
- Video Record: Pull out the ole video camera or flip cam and take a video of your child spelling the words. Have him put on a funny hat, dress-up, or use a silly prop to add to the fun.
- Karaoke: That karaoke machine can double as a super-fun spelling machine if you turn it on and allow your child to spell her words into it!
- Use Puzzlemaker: Have your child type in all of the week’s spelling words and then let her search for them using this cool resource from Discovery!
- Use Let them Sing it: Type in a spelling word on this site, and the word is sung back to your student.(This one is bound to get giggles!)
- Use Spelling City: Head over to Spelling City, have your child type in the spelling words, and then he can learn the words, play games with them, and be tested. This site is a gem!
With space to run, jump, and play:
- Chalkboard Race: Form two teams, with one player from each team holding a piece of chalk and standing at a designated spot about 10 feet from a chalkboard.Teacher calls out a word, and players run to the board and write the word correctly as quickly as possible. The winner finishes the word first and spells it correctly.
- Ball Toss: Players stand in a circle with a Nerf ball or something else safe to toss.Teacher calls out a word, tosses the ball to a student, and that student spells the word.If the word isn’t spelled correctly, the student tosses the ball to another person who will try to spell it; if it is spelled correctly, the player tosses object to another student and teacher gives her a new word to spell.
- Swing and Spell: Teacher gives the student a word to spell, and the student says a letter of the word with each back and forth movement of the swing, much like you can do when teaching syllables.
- Run the Bases: Student starts at home plate, gets a word to spell and for every word correctly spelled gets to make a move around the bases, beginning with hitting the ball, then running from first base, second, third, and home.
With anything and everything else:
- Spelling Word Hunt: Look for those spelling list words in the newspaper or in another book, magazine, or text!Circle them or use a highlighter to highlight them.
- Scrabble, Boggle: Use these cool game pieces to ‘build’ spelling words on the on a cookie tray, on the table, or on the floor.
- Crazy Words: Put something ‘crazy’ (like jell-o mix, shaving cream, sand, or rice) on a cookie sheet, and have your child use his finger to ‘write’ spelling words on the tray.
- Paint bag Writing: Put poster paint in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and seal it tightly! Then have your child use her fingertip to write the letters of each word on the paint bag.
- Stamp It: Use alphabet letter stamps to ‘stamp’ the spelling words, first by looking at the words and then on your own!
With magnetic letters or letter cards:
- Word Scramble: Scramble up the letters of each word and have student put them in the correct order.(Don’t forget to point out patterns and families!)
- Word Train: Use the letters to have your child create a ‘word train’ by using the last letter of the first word to begin the second word and so on:cat / tap / pan
No prep, no materials:
- Spell and Eat: While making breakfast, lunch, or dinner, have your child spell a word, and after each word is spelled correctly, reward her with a small, healthy “treat” from your meal prep.
- Examine the Word: Really look at the words, talking about the tough parts and analyzing patterns.Make up silly ways of remembering the ‘tough’ parts: ‘president’ has an ‘I’ in the middle because one day I’ll be president, OR ‘setting’ has two t’s in the middle just like two tall trees in a fairyland forest.
I’ve put all of our ideas on fun spelling games — cards to cut into a Spelling Fun Box for days when we’re stuck, bored, in a rut, or want to leave that day’s spelling excitement up to a little at-home lottery.
If you’d like to download fun spelling games — cards to cut as a pdf, please feel free and make your own Spelling Fun Box at home. Just sign up below, and you’ll get both downloads–free!
And that’s it–that’s our spelling fun. If you choose to fun ways of learning spelling words–awesome! Just kindly let me know and link back if you would!
fun ways of learning spelling words
fyi: I certainly didn’t do this on my own! Many thanks to these folks for inspiration and ideas–
- A very, very big thanks to the incredible folks at MCPS–in our particular cluster of schools–for creating their own ‘spelling ideas’ document and for handing it to students this fall.It is a HUGE help, and it’s much appreciated.
- Elrod School: Spelling Ideas http://www.sd5.k12.mt.us/elrod/multiage/Spelling.html
- Resource Room: http://www.resourceroom.net/readspell/6waysspelling.pdf
- Many other sites, pamphlets, books, articles, and resources I have here at home!
Cheers, and happy reading during this incredibly exciting journey!
Such great ideas, Amy! My older kids would enjoy these, too. I love the paint bag idea….not as messy as the shaving cream on the cookie sheet we used to do, but seems just as fun.
Elle Belles Bows
Great post! Thanks for all the resources that you share! It is appreciated! Kerri
Schick fun ideas
Great ideas! I know that some of them work, but here is one that we love- have them use window markers or crayons (from Crayola) to write their words on the windows or mirrors. Just a different location and lots of fun!
Keep up the great ideas!
great ideas! b's spelling has really improved over the last year–i think it's b/c they used words their way last year 🙂 this year the words are more random, but she is getting it! i am def. going to check out the websites for her! (moms games are just not cool to her; but i've still got my pea—mwaah, hahahahha!) btw, i've got to get me some magnetic letters–how have i gone this long without them?
Shaper of Little Souls
eThese are fantastic ideas! Now I need to figure out how to remember these as my son is only 4.5 and not spelling yet. How am I going to remember this post?
Maybe you can repost it in a year or so!
I can not believe how many ideas you have – I kept expecting the post to end and would scroll to find more ideas. Wow.
I really hate spelling myself so perhaps this will help me, too.
🙂 You're amazing!
wow the spelling help was great for my child
Kelli @ writing the waves
Wow!!! That's a lot of ideas! I like the memory game since they'd have to write the spelling words twice to make the cards and then play. We'll have to try that. Thanks for sharing!
Love your ideas! Just when you think you’ve come up with all the ways to teach spelling using games, you come across a teacher’s blog and learn more!
I teach first grade and am always looking for new ideas, especially with spelling!
Thanks so much for your ideas. My daughter is 6 and in the first grade and I just don’t know how to make studying spelling words fun. I am going to try some of these ideas tonight and see what she thinks. Maybe we can make it the rest of the year having fun doing homework instead of it just being a chore.
Melissa–YAY!! You are taking steps to make it fun, just by searching! Let me know how it goes, and I’d love to stay in touch! HUGE thanks for reading and big thanks for taking the time to write! Spelling CAN be fun!
Liga from Klik Klak Blocks
We just love this blog! It’s something amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and suggestions!
Thank you so much for sharing these brilliant ideas for making spelling fun. My son is in year 1 and is finding having to do any form of homework a real chore. i can imagine him being very taken by these playful ideas – will give it a go 🙂
I am a former teacher now grandmother looking for fun ways to reinforce spelling with my grandchildren.
Such a brilliant ideas for making spelling fun.I am going to try some of these ideas tonight and see what she thinks.Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and suggestions.
Ellen C Baker
You have some awesome ideas here! Thanks. I am sending your link to an assistant teacher friend.