10 Spelling Activities & Games Kids Will Love [episode 41]


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One of my favorite things we do at Wife Teacher Mommy with creating resources is making mundane activities exciting and engaging for students. Because let’s be real, there are some concepts that students need to learn, but aren’t engaging enough. Therefore, we have a real treat for you today that will enhance your literacy content. In today’s episode, I’m sharing 10 spelling activities and games that your students will love. 

Before getting into the actual spelling activities and games, it’s important to know the why behind the practices and how to effectively teach those instructional practices. A key component to meaningful spelling practice is the understanding and use of phonemic and phonological awareness, which are two ideas that I provide background knowledge on during the episode. Having that understanding helps students build reading skills, along with the relationship between letters and sounds. 

Creating meaningful and engaging activities increases your students’ knowledge and interest level, which is exactly what these 10 spelling activities and games will be for your students. While some of these activities are designed through Wife Teacher Mommy resources, many others you can take and implement in your classroom today! The 10 spelling activities and games kids will love are:

  1. Spin & spell
  2. Vowels & consonants
  3. Writing words in alphabetical order
  4. Word boxes
  5. Holiday & seasonal spelling lists
  6. Word focus
  7. Roll it
  8. Trivia cards
  9. Shaving cream spelling
  10. Playdough word

Long are the days where spelling is all about memorization. We now have a better understanding of best instructional practices, which are integrated in these 10 spelling activities and activities. Each activity helps students practice and dissect words in a meaningful way. Once implemented in your classroom, your students will not only learn, but have fun while doing it!


In this episode on spelling activities and games, I discuss:

  • The key differences between phonemic and phonological awareness, especially as it pertains to spelling
  • How Wife Teacher Mommy resources can assist you in these spelling activities
  • An explanation of each spelling activity and game
  • The benefits of including spelling as part of your weekly literacy routine

Resources mentioned:

Related episodes and blog posts:

Connect with Kelsey:

Read the transcript for episode 41, 10 Spelling Activities & Games Kids Will Love:

I am so excited to talk about spelling today. The reason I’m excited is because I know that some kids may find spelling boring and frustrating. But when you find the right activities to use with your spelling words, it can make it all that much more fun. And so the activities I’m going to talk about today, help them practice the spelling words and dissecting them in a meaningful way. And we want to make sure that they’re able to do that along the way, rather than just rote memorization. And that’s because you might have heard of the science of reading. It’s kind of felt like a buzzword on all the education blogs and podcasts lately, and I realized I hadn’t brought it up yet on the podcast, but is basically the culmination of an extensive body of scientifically based research that spans decades, like decades worth of research. And it shows us how the brain learns to read. And as you all know, I love learning about the brain and how it works. And from this, we can learn best instruction practices. And we always want to learn how to grow and improve in our teaching, right. And that’s why I’m starting to dive into this. And we’re excited to create even more resources that will help you with the science of reading. But reading comprehension is the product of decoding and language comprehension. And those are things that we all work on a lot, but we want to make sure that we are purposefully teaching these skills too. So now I’m not fully diving into the science of reading in today’s episode, I would love to dive into it more in a future episode. But I wanted to make sure that you knew that at Wife Teacher Mommy, we are definitely keeping up with the research. And we want to help you teach your children in the best way possible. And the great thing is that spelling can help students build those reading skills and understand the relationship between letters and sounds.

Now one really important thing to keep in mind when we’re teaching spelling is that we want to be teaching phonemic awareness, phonological awareness along the way. Now let’s talk about the difference between those two terms. So phonological awareness is the understanding of different ways that oral language can be divided into smaller components and manipulated so that is from Charlotte, and Dixon in 1999. So with phonological awareness, we’re looking at chunks of language, and those can fall into phoneme onset and rhyme. For example, if you’re looking to break cat would be the onset of the word an at is the rhyme, and this is r-y-m-e. Then there’s the syllable, the syllables, like you can clap them out in the Word, and then the full word. So each of those four parts can build up a word. So we’re looking at all of those things, we’re looking at compound words, we’re looking at rhyming words, we’re looking at just parts of words and how they go together. Phonemic awareness is under the umbrella of phonological awareness. So we’re looking at just the individual sounds called phonemes. We’re not looking at onset rhyme, syllable or word. So basically, it’s like phonemic awareness is a part of phonological awareness within phonological awareness is the full picture. So we want to make sure that we are addressing both of those. So right now in Wife Teacher Mommy club, if you are one of our members, we have an incredible resource for phonemic awareness, it is called 36 weeks of phonemic awareness. So definitely check that out. We are hoping to create a more extensive resource that covers all phonological awareness in the future. And even as students get a bit older too. It is on our teams list as when I’m recording, if you’re listening to this a ways down from October 2022. We may already have it, but we do still have phonics activities that you can find right now. So we’d like compound words with rhyming sort inside the pre K In Kinder sub plans and homeschool lessons, so a lot of these activities are built within other resources. So we’re going to be working on pulling some of those out for you to make it easier to find the resources you need. So the club is always growing and improving. So obviously talking to the members here, but I know a lot of them are here listening to the podcast.

But basically, the reason I bring up phonological and phonemic awareness is because we want to keep these things in mind as we do our spelling activities, we want to make sure that we are teaching, not just having to memorize how to spell the words, but all along is they’re doing these activities, having them look at the sounds and how they relate to each other. So that was a little bit of a tangent, but I just wanted to make sure that we started with that.

Okay, so now let’s dive into the actual fun spelling activities. All of these are covered in some of our spelling resources. If you’re in the club, if not, a lot of these can be done just on your own, like you can turn off this episode and implement some of them right away others you would need the pages to go along with that, but you can pick and choose which of these 10 activities you would like to use. So the first one is called a spin and spell. And this is one where we have a graphic organizer for it. So the kids they have like their pencil and a paperclip and they can spin. And then it says different ways that they can write the word. So they can do it with their eyes closed, or they can do it with a different color or in all capitals, or whatever. So it’s really fun activity, my children and is their favorite. So I use our 36 weeks of spelling in my homeschool. So right now I teach my own children. They’re in third grade and first grade. It’s super fun. And we love these activities. So the spin and spell is their absolute favorite, when it’s the day of the week that they get to do that they’re like, yes, we’d love this. So I definitely recommend that activity.

Number two is vowels and consonants. So for this one, students can write the vowels in one color and the consonants of another color. And that you can just do anytime, anywhere. It’s part of our 36 weeks of spelling, but you can just do this on any page, you can just pick k, let’s do the vowels and read the consonants in blue, or whatever you would like. And you could even do this with different parts of words like for phonological awareness, like you could have them do the on the set of one color and the rhyme in another color, or different syllables, like kind of mark where those are. So there’s a lot of different ways that you could do this, like where they do different parts of the word in different colors. Okay, so that was number two.

Number three is writing the words in alphabetical order. In order to do that, students will need to, like sound out the word and make Okay, what does that start with, to then put that in alphabetical order. So that is a great way for them to practice writing those words, but then also thinking about the onset of the word as well.

Okay, so number four is word boxes. And this one is also really fun. It’s another one where you’ll need our 36 weeks of spelling, which is our whole year spelling curriculum. But with that, you will have the shapes of the words on the page and then the students will get to look through and kind of see which one fits. Now this one, as they do it, they’ll want to kind of sound out the letters as they do each one. But it’s kind of a fun little mystery activity for the kids. So that one is also a lot of fun.

Number five, and this isn’t really a game or an activity per se, but it’s a fun way to mix up your spelling. And this is to have holiday and seasonal spelling lists to mix things up. For Halloween, you might have like skeleton or pumpkin or Jack-o-lantern then they make sure they need to capitalize in Jack-o-lantern, or Santa Claus, snowflake different fun words for different holidays. Obviously, I’m thinking of Halloween, and Christmas right now, November you could do like Turkey, obviously depends on the age of your students. But having a Halloween and seasonal spelling list can be a fun way to mix things up. It can be the list or it can just be like some bonus words that you add to your current list. If you have certain skills you’re working on, you’ll want to just add these as like bonus words, but it can just be a lot of fun to do that. And then kids when they’re writing about these like holiday and seasonal topics, they’ll learn how to spell the words correctly to go along with it.

Okay, number six is a fun graphic organizer, we have called Word Focus. And this is inside of our newest spelling games resource. So that has tons of ideas. I’m going to just share just a few here. But for one of them there’s a word focus page, and where they choose a vocabulary or a spelling word to learn about. And they’re going to fill in each of the prompts. So for each one, they’re going to write it, define it, draw it and rewrite it. So that is number six.

Number seven is a really fun one that anybody can do anytime it’s called Rowlatt. So for this students, we each have a die, and then for each number on the die that you can do one of these things So for number one, they’ll define the word number two, they will read the word number three, they will act it out. Number four, they will use it in a sentence, number five, they will draw a picture. Or number six, they will spell it three times, at least that is what we have. But you could change these numbers to do whatever you would like with them. So it’s a super flexible activity to have students do spelling practice with dice, super fun, they love rolling dice, and it really turns it into a game. So I would highly recommend trying this out customizing it to however you would like to do it.

Number eight, is a fun activity kind of like Jeopardy called Trivia Cards. So you will divide the class into two teams. Choose one person from each team to play rock paper scissors to decide which one will go first, then each team will take turns choosing the category and point amount they want to complete, just like in the game show Jeopardy. So once they’ve chosen the category and point him out, you will lift up the post it and reveal a word, the team member will then complete the category task using that word. So if they do it correctly, their team gets the number of points assigned. So basically, you’re just playing Jeopardy with your spelling words. And that’s such a fun way to bring in kind of a Real Life TV show the kids are maybe familiar with maybe not, but just super fun turning it into a game, we always love that.

Okay, number nine is shaving cream spelling. This one, if you’re feeling brave, it’s really quite fun for the children, you definitely need to set clear boundaries and rules for using shaving cream in the classroom just like you would with glitter or anything else that can make a huge mess. But with this, it can be super fun, all you need to do is spray a glob of shaving cream on the table or the desk, and the students can spread it out all over. So like their whole desk, they just like cover it. Then you say one of the words aloud to the class and have them practice spelling the word in the shaving cream. And as you do this, you can have them sound out the word. So have them kind of like sound it out as they’re writing it down. And definitely be brave, clear expectations and rules before you even get out the shaving cream. This could even be like a reward for like good behavior or something like that, that they get to do this activity, then it turns into a game. It’s super fun. And they’re also practicing their spelling. So win win.

Then number 10 is playdough word and so your students will get played out lots of different colors, you can let them choose or whatever. But they will practice spelling each word by shaping playdough into each letter. So I love this for like hands on learners, especially because they get to feel it, they get to spell it out. And then once they spell it out, they can read the word a few times before moving on to the next word. I love this one because it’s so simple, anyone can just get some Play Doh and do it. But then students need to kind of like sound out the word and figure out how to spell it with the playdough. But then it’s tactile, the kids are having fun. So that is a great one to end our 10 spelling activities and games that kids will love.

And I hope you’ve got at least one awesome idea that you can implement into your classroom or your homeschool in the next few weeks. So I wanted to just let you know what resources I mentioned in these that can help you cover these activities in case you are a member of Wife Teacher Mommy club listening, or if you want to just purchase individual resources that are available for that as well. So the 36 weeks of phonemic awareness I mentioned at the beginning. And we also have some great phonics activities within our kindergarten sub plans and homeschool lessons and our pre K ones, so be sure to check those out. Next, our 36 weeks of spelling has a lot of those first activities I mentioned the spin and spell, vowels and consonants, alphabetical order word boxes, and all the spelling lists done for you for the entire year with our 36 weeks of spelling. But if you have your own words you want to do so like if you’re like we want to practice these specific skills this week, or you have a specific curriculum you use but you want some more activities to do with them. We have a blank version of the 36 weeks of spelling that is editable where you can add your own words. So that is also available. I will link to that in the show notes. We have fun holiday spelling activities. We have them for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Easter. So if you want to mix things up for a week, a holiday, you can check those out. And then last but not least some of the more exciting activities like the shaving cream spelling or the dye or playdough words like just some really fun activities that you can do with any word list. Those are available in our spelling games resources. We have one for upper grades and one for lower grades. There’s so much more than I even mentioned in this podcast episode is great for spelling or vocabulary. You can also use it for sight words or high frequency words. Just keep in mind to teach the skills behind reading those words too. I would love to talk some more about the science of reading in future episodes and how our resources can adjust that and future ones will continue to as well. All of these are linked so club members go ahead and download all of them as much as you want for any level or levels to meet all of your students take advantage of the unlimited downloads that you get. If you’re not in the club yet, it’s an incredible deal. I would love for you to join us. It’s so much fun. But all of these are also available for individual purchase in our shop Teachers Pay Teachers, and some might be on Etsy too, so you can check that out. And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to listen to episode 20, where we talk all about choosing high quality reading materials for your classroom or your homeschool. So if you’re like, how do I know if this is a good high quality reading resource to use in my classroom? Be sure to check out that episode. And if you missed it on Episode 39, we aired an entire coaching call the whole thing we taught our five step framework, the coaching model created by Brooke Castillo, normally life coaching costs quite a bit of money. We aired a full call for free on episode 39. So be sure to check that out if you haven’t yet. And next week, I plan to share a really personal story about my experience with anxiety. And this is actually going to get really raw and real and man is I’m going to talk about the panic attack in my experience I had three years ago, when I was overworking myself. I know so many of you teachers do that as well. I’m going to share some actionable strategies that can help you handle anxiety handle all stressors being put your way. So I’m not only going to share my story with you, but I’m going to share what I learned and how it can help you so you don’t end up in the same place in the ER like I did. So be sure to stay tuned for the episode next week and share this podcast with a friend so they can benefit from it too. And I will talk to you next time.

More about Wife Teacher Mommy: The Podcast

Being an educator is beyond a full-time job. Whether you’re a teacher or a homeschool parent, the everyday to-do list is endless. Between lesson planning, grading, meetings, and actually teaching, it probably feels impossible to show up for your students without dropping the ball in other areas of your life.

Wife Teacher Mommy: The Podcast is the show that will bring you the teacher tips, practical strategies, and inspiration that you need to relieve the stress and overwhelm of your day-to-day. Your host, Kelsey Sorenson, is a former teacher and substitute turned homeschool mom. Tune in weekly to hear Kelsey and her guests cheer you on and help you thrive as a wife, teacher, and mommy. Because with a little support and community, you can do it all. For access to every single Wife Teacher Mommy resource, join the club at www.wifeteachermommy.com/club.

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