We all know that spelling is the ability to correctly string a series of letters together to make a word, but do we recognize its importance? When students can correctly spell words, it improves their overall reading and writing skills. As students learn to spell, they make connections between letters and their sounds, which spills over into being able to sound out new words. Spelling is also a key component of teaching sight words, which aren’t usually decodable following traditional phonics rules. Recognizing spelling words can also boost comprehension skills and improve writing. While simply copying spelling words is usually quite boring for students, there are many ways to build spelling practice into your lesson plans. Here are 25 spelling activities that your students will love.
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1. Stamp out words in play dough
Give students some dough and letter stampers and have them stamp out their spelling words. Letter-shaped cookie cutters are an alternative to letter stampers. Provide a cookie sheet to help keep the mess to a minimum!
2. Spell words with a stamp pad
Provide students with a stack of index cards, a stamp pad, and some letter stamps. Encourage them to stamp out each of their spelling words, one on each index card. This activity also allows students to use their index cards as flashcards so they can practice their spelling words during free time or at home.
3. Put old keyboards to use for spelling practice
Keep a few old keyboards on hand to build in some fun spelling word practice. Younger students especially love to pretend to do “work,” and allowing them to type their spelling words is a great paper-free way to build in some extra practice.
4. Stick and spell with alphabet stickers
Purchase inexpensive alphabet stickers at discount or dollar stores for your students to stick and spell onto index cards, which can double as flashcards.
5. Trace words in shaving cream
This is one of the most hands-on spelling activities. Squirt shaving cream on a cookie sheet or large tray and have your students trace their spelling words right in the cream. After each word, they can swirl the shaving cream around to create a canvas for their next word.
6. Jump and spell with sidewalk chalk
Write the letters of the alphabet on the cement using sidewalk chalk. Call out a spelling word and your students can learn to spell it by jumping on the letters in the correct order. Even better, write several sets of letters and put kids in groups so they can work together to practice their words.
7. Use blocks to build words
Gather several building block mats and blocks in many sizes. Students can spell their words using the blocks to create the letters.
8. Spell words using dot stickers
Write individual letters on dot-shaped stickers. Students can peel off letters and stick them to index cards or post-it notes.
9. Lay out words using letter cards
Use a fun font to create individual letter cards. Print or copy the letters large enough for students to easily move them around and cut them out. Encourage them to lay out their spelling words.
10. Spell with alphabet erasers
Check dollar and discount stores for novelty erasers shaped like letters. They are a quick and easy way for students to practice their spelling words.
11. Have fun with letter magnets
Letter magnets are easy to find in discount and dollar stores and are a terrific way to encourage spelling word practice. Provide magnetic cookie sheets or small magnetic white boards and your students can get in some good practice.
12. Collect the right letters using tweezers
Not only is this a fantastic way to practice spelling words, but it also helps build fine motor skills. Lay out plastic tweezers and small letter beads or magnets and students can pinch the letters one-by-one to spell each word.
13. Spell with letter tiles
Use letter tiles to have students spell each word. Letter tiles often have numbers printed on them, as well, which you can have your students use to add up and find the “value” of each spelling word for a little math with their spelling!
14. Cut and paste from magazines
Stash a few old magazines in your classroom and your students can practice their spelling words by cutting out letters. Like a few previous activities, students can glue the letters to index cards to create flashcards.
15. Rearrange some noodles to spell words
Cook up a batch of spaghetti noodles and bring them to school with you. Your students can use the cold noodles to create the letters that make up each of their spelling words.
16. Bend pipe cleaners into letters and words
Stock up on pipe cleaners in a variety of colors, and your students can use them to form letters. They can line these letters up to spell out their spelling words.
17. Use pompoms to trace the letters
Pompoms are cheap and can be used for so many things, including spelling activities. Your students can use the pompoms to create letters to spell out their spelling words. This can work with any number of small objects, such as buttons or novelty erasers.
18. Hold a spelling bee
Turn spelling practice into a friendly competition by holding a class spelling bee. Outline the rules ahead of time, give your students some time to review their words, and then get spelling. This is also a fun alternative to the traditional spelling test.
19. Hunt for letters in sand
Fill a container with something like colored sand or rice. Throw in some letter beads or magnet letters and stir them into the sand or rice. Have your students go on a word hunt by digging through the container to find the correct letters to spell their words.
20. Rearrange mixed up letters into the right word
Cut strips of card stock and use a marker to divide the strip into sections – one section for each letter of your spelling words. Write each spelling word on a strip, mixing up the letters so they are scrambled. Your students will cut the letters apart and put the puzzle together by arranging them to spell words.
21. Flip words and give students a mirror
Gather a bunch of colored index cards and write a spelling word on each one but write each of the letters backward. Give your students the cards and a mirror. They will hold each card up to the mirror to be able to read and spell the word they see aloud.
22. Have students test each other
Write each of your spelling words on index cards. Then, write each spelling word again, but spell it wrong this time. Mix the cards up and have your students “grade” the words by sorting them into two piles – one with correctly spelled words and one with incorrectly spelled words.
23. Go on a scavenger hunt for spelling words
Give your students a list of their spelling words and challenge them to go on a scavenger hunt to find as many of them as they can. You can do this in your classroom by having them read books to find their words, or you can take them on a walk around the school to see how many words they can find.
24. Make a bracelet with letter beads
Set out alphabet beads and string and have your students make bracelets that spell out their spelling words. To save on cost and repeated trips to the store, let the students wear their bracelets for the day and then take them apart so they can be used again during future spelling practice times.
25. Spell words with lettered pop-its or bubble wrap
Use these trendy little learning tools to help your students learn their spelling words. Write a letter on each pop and let your students push them down to spell out their words. Bubble wrap will achieve the same goal!
Every time you provide your students with some hands-on learning, you’re showing them that learning can be fun! Introduce a few of these spelling activities into your classes and you’ll see better spellers, happier students, and higher spelling test scores.