Spelling is not one of the most exciting of subjects, but it can be fun by using a variety of these thirty ways to practice your words. (This post contains affiliate links.)
1. write in sand, salt, sugar, or flour (best with a bold background beneath)
2. write in shaving cream
3. write in pudding
4. write in finger paint
5. write with chalk on sandpaper
6. write with water on a chalkboard
7. write with eraser on dark magazine pages
8. write on rainbow scratch paper
9. write on photo-sensitive paper
10. form letters with playdough
11. form letters with string or yarn
12. form letters with pipecleaners
13. form letters with lego blocks
14. form letters with toothpicks
15. use alphabet rubber stamps
16. use foam alphabet stickers
17. use printable scrabble tiles
18. use alphabet pasta or cereal
19. use letters cut from newspapers or magazines (ransom note style)
20. use alphabet cookie cutters in salt dough
21. use alphabet magnets
22. use letter tiles
23. draw pictures to illustrate the words
24. use sign language
25. jump from letter to letter
26. trace the letters on a partner’s back for him to read
27. draw letters in the air with a flashlight in a dark room
28. use Morse code
29. play at Spellingcity.com
30. use an old typewriter or label maker
great ideas! thanks for sharing them!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Great ideas! Tweeted & shared on Facebook 🙂
Thanks for all of the great spelling suggestions! My daughter is in 1st grade and spelling practice with a pencil and paper is torture to her. These look more fun!
I LOVE this! So helpful!!! Reminds me that THIS is the kind of homeschooling I want us to do, i.e. getting away from just pencil and paper and getting our hands dirty. Sometimes I just need a little nudge with numbered list for suggestions! Perfect! Thank you, thank you!
thanks for the ideas! when my older daughter was younger, she loved to write on the fish aquarium and the windows with dry erase markers. i would tell her to teach the fish or the birds to spell and she. she also enjoyed writing each word in a different color–we called that “turning the list into a rainbow.” (i don’t recommend writing each letter of a word in a different color, though–we tried that, too. there was too much time spent deciding on colors and words weren’t learned.)
What a lovely list. We mostly use shaving cream or tile letters. I should mix it up a bit.
Thanks! I needed some more ideas!
Brilliant multi-sensory approach. Targets many learning styles. FUN!
Great ideas here! A variety adds fun to the mundane – so we’ll try some new practices to our mix!
Thanks Jimmie! I needed some ideas for Butterfly to use with the spellings they send home from school. She is very right-brain so visual should help her LOADS!! You’re an answer to prayer!
I love the photosensitive paper idea!
Dana Wilson says
So many kids, especially younger ones, do SO much better MOVING while they are learning! Great suggestions, Jimmie!
Dana Wilson says
Anytime we can add an large motor or kinesthetic activity to school it is a good thing! Thanks for the creative suggestions, Jimmie!
My students’ favorite way to practice their spelling words is by using “Vocabulary and Spelling City.” http://www.spellingcity.com. This site offers free, fun games, resources, and printables. They especially love to play Hangmouse on our interactive white board.
Michelle Breum says
Great ideas! My favorite is using magnetic letters, mix them up, and have a child put the word back together making the sound of the letter or group of letters while making the word.
My last post on my blog has two videos with my son demonstrating this very thing.
Thanks for sharing this list of ideas. I am reminded to get out my scrabble tile stamps with my daughter.
Thank you so much! I was stuck in a rut…write each word 2 times, write words in ABC order. These are great ideas!
Awesome ideas. My 7 year old loves spelling… not sure where he gets it from (definitely not from me). Twisty Noodle might be useful for spelling practice too… check it out and let me know what you think.
Agnes Tong says
Hello! Jimmie, Thank you so much for your sharing, it’s really useful for me, and I’ve 2 daughters. May God bless you!
from Hong Kong
Thanks for the ideas! My father taught me fingerspelling (sign language) to help with my dislexia and very poor spelling. I am now conversational in ASL (late 20s), I kinna took it and ran with it 😛
My husband likes to use the military phonetic alphabet (alpha, bravo, Charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot, etc.) as a game in the car. We plan on using it as a car game when our kids get older.
Monica Schroeder says
FUN! FUN! I love your hands on ideas. I use Lakeshore’s Spelling Stamps like you cookie cutters. My 2nd Graders are so much more involved in practicing their spelling words when the practice is hands on. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. A favorite of my students at school and my kiddos at home is http://www.spellingcity.com so glad it made your list. It is a great way to bring technology into spelling and vocabulary:)
The Schroeder Page
Thanks for these ideas! Just a note: I love the printable scrabble tiles, but did you know that “W” is missing?
Jimmie Lanley says
I did not! Maybe you can flip the M?
Hi jimmie. I like your blog. I also wanted to tell you that my mom is Jimmie too! She is Jimmie June. Her mama named her after a bride in the paper back in 1937! This was in Oklahoma. Years later she met the bride, Jimmie, in California! Yeah Jimmie’s!
Thank you! Great ideas!!!
We’ve done many of these ideas before and just printed out the Scrabble Tiles– Thanks!
One of the grocery stores around here sells letter cookies so we did an Eat Your Sight Words activity that I blogged about here: http://schooltimesnippets.blogspot.com/2012/03/eat-your-sight-words.html
Learning + food = FUN!! : )
I am loving this blog. I’m getting all sorts of ideas to implement when I get to stay home with my daughter and hopefully homeschool.
I currently teach and I wanted to add my 2 cents on the spelling…
Someone mentioned not doing “rainbow spell” with each letter because it takes too much time. I get around the wasted time by having them pick their two favorite colors and alternate the colors as they wrote. I would also have them write the consonants in one color and the vowels in another. I used Words Their Way program and the focus was always on patterns within words. I would have the students write the word then highlight the pattern as well. Seemed to work great.
Of course, at the school I’m at now, we don’t do spelling. Ask me how I feel about that!! (Can you see now why I’m considering homeschooling?? 😀 )
Again, I love your blog. This is how I wish my classroom could actually be!
Great ideas! I’m always on the lookout for writing skill builders that don’t involve actual writing. These look really fun.
Cindy Magee says
I’m going to pin this for sure! My kids are just starting elementary school and have spelling tests every week! We were struggling with one of them and I’m going to start using some of these ideas. THANKS!
Thank you for this list of ways to keep spelling interesting. Just started homeschooling and I’ll be saving this for reference!