If you think all spelling games are rigid and boring, think again! At HOMER, we’re all about building confident learners ready for school and life, and we believe this can be done in fun and exciting ways!
From sneaky switching letters to jumping across letter lily pads, we’ve selected our favorite spelling games to share with you to make your child’s spelling journey an enjoyable one.
In this article, we’ll break down the importance of spelling in early learning, including the stages of spelling development.
We’ll also tell you about six fun, simple spelling games that you can play at home with minimal equipment required. Let’s get started!
Why Is Spelling Important In Early Learning?
Spelling development is a critical skill in early learning for many reasons.
Spelling is a lifelong skill that your child will use every day, no matter the career they choose later in life, so it’s important that we build strong, confident spellers from early childhood.
As children learn to spell and write with higher accuracy, it makes their writing easier to read — not only for the adults and peers in their lives but also for themselves. This increases confidence in children as spellers and writers.
Additionally, strengthening your child’s spelling abilities assists in both reading and writing skill development.
Phonetically reading and spelling are connected in that one skill blends sounds into words and the other involves separating sounds to spell a word.
Taking advantage of this skill reversibility is a plus for early readers and will help your child simultaneously build skills in reading and spelling.
The Stages Of Spelling Development
The five stages of spelling development are the precommunicative stage, the semiphonetic stage, the phonetic stage, the transitional stage, and the correct stage.
With these stages in mind, the games we’ve selected below are geared toward children in the semiphonetic, phonetic, and transitional stages.
This means we’ll be focusing on developing your child’s skills in using consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, sight words, phonetic spelling, and letter-sound correspondences.
Keep reading to find out how to play our favorite spelling games!
6 Fun Spelling Games You Can Do At Home
Kindergarten Spelling Games
Throughout kindergarten, your child will begin to learn CVC words that are phonetically regular, such as bed, kid, top, and bug.
When choosing spelling games for your child in this age group, it’s best to stick to activities that include these types of words to build confidence and enhance what they’re learning at school.
Try out our favorites below!
1) Letter Switch
For this exercise, you’ll need letters written on post-it notes, magnetic letters, or some letters cut out from a magazine — whatever is most easily accessible for you.
Starting with a CVC word such as “cat”, have your child change out the first letter to create a new word, such as “pat”. It’s best to start with first-letter changes, as most children will find this the easiest way to learn.
Once your child becomes more familiar and confident with CVC words, you can increase the level of difficulty by having them change the last letters of the word (changing “pat” to “pan”, for example) and then introduce changing vowels, so “pan” becomes “pin”.
Start with a small goal — five correct letter changes equals a win, for example.
Eventually, as your child becomes stronger with their letter changes, you can increase the number of correct changes needed to win the game.
Start by gathering the post-it notes, magnetic letters, or cut-out letters that you would have used in our first game.
Pick out three letters in no particular order that create a CVC word, and then have your child create a word using the letters you’ve chosen.
If your child is having trouble spelling a word using the letters given, try first putting the vowel in place. This way, your child only needs to fill in the beginning and ending consonants.
Ready to increase the difficulty level of this game? Try picking out six letters and have your child spell out two words!
First Grade Spelling Games
As your first grader is learning to solidify CVC words and phonetically spell words with beginning and ending consonant blends, it’s important to find spelling games that help reinforce these lessons.
We’ve chosen our favorite games to help your first grader reinforce phonetically regular words and memorize crucial sight words that aren’t phonetically regular. Take a look below!
3) Letter Removal
Using magnetic letters or a chalkboard, select and spell out three words that your child is learning to spell.
Have your child close their eyes and take away one letter from each word. Scramble up the removed letters and once your child opens their eyes, have them remake each word.
Once they’re an expert, try taking away two letters from each word, then three, and so on. You could also add in time limits once your child is ready so they can try to beat their personal best!
4) Poster Words
Using the Dolch Word List or your child’s writing, select a word that your child is often misspelling or would like to learn to spell.
For more advanced spellers, try selecting a few words at a time to watch their progress bloom!
On a sheet of paper or cardboard (one per word), draw five large checkboxes at the top and write the word in large bubble letters in the middle to create a poster.
Next, spend some time decorating the letters with colorful markers, stickers, glitter — anything you want!
Once per day, have your child spell out their chosen word without looking at the poster. Each time they’re able to spell it correctly, they get to add a giant check mark to one of the five boxes.
After they’ve filled all five boxes, it’s time to create a new poster! You can even hole-punch each poster once it’s completed and store it in a loose-leaf binder, watching it get thicker and thicker as your child masters more words.
Second Grade Spelling Games
Your second grader now knows words with less frequent letter-sound correspondences, such as oy, oi, ou, and aw sounds. This means you can select a variety of age-appropriate words in the spelling games you play to help expand their vocabulary.
Two of our favorite spelling games for second graders are below!
5) Build A Spelling Snowman
This game is just like the traditional Hangman game, but more kid-friendly!
Start by choosing a word in your head, and on a whiteboard or piece of paper, draw the correct number of lines for each letter to be filled in as you play. For example, the word “fright” would have six blank spaces to be filled in with each correct guess.
Have your speller guess what letter might be in the word and fill in a blank with a letter on each correct guess. For each incorrect guess, gradually draw a snowman piece by piece until you run out of additions.
This could start with a large circle for the snowman’s body, a smaller circle for his midsection, and an even smaller circle for the head.
It’s up to you how generous you’d like to be as to how many extra parts the snowman has, but remember to draw in his sticks for arms and fingers, buttons, carrot nose, and of course, his smile!
This fun spelling game can also be played in reverse so that with each correct answer, you’re slowly building the snowman.
6) Leap Across The Spelling Lily Pads
Start this game by writing out each letter of the alphabet on separate pieces of paper to act as your lily pads.
Place the lily pads in any order on the floor and choose a word for your child to spell, saying it out loud. Start with shorter words, and then slowly build up to more complex words.
Once your child knows the word to spell, they can hop like a frog from one lily pad to another until the word is correctly spelled out.
You can add time limits or a points system if your child is more advanced, and keeping track of their achievements makes this game even more fun!
Make Spelling Fun And Simple With HOMER!
With the spelling games above and some practice, your child can improve their spelling skills while having fun in the process!
From simple CVC word games for kindergarteners to more advanced spelling words to develop your second grader’s vocabulary, these spelling games are the perfect addition to the lessons found in our Explore Letters Kit!
Packed with fun activities and expert tips and instructions, our Explore Letters Kit will take your child on a spelling journey like no other!
Watch their imagination lead them through ABC Island as they build their literacy skills through play.