Do you have a ‘go to’ list of generic spelling activities that you use to add variety to your spelling program? Here are some of my favorite quick and simple ‘go to’ spelling activities.
1. Mini whiteboards
I’m not sure what it is about the humble mini whiteboard, but as soon as I ask my students to get it out….there is definitely enthusiasm. The activity could be as simple as asking my students to, “say the sounds and write the word” and then hold it up to show me.
2. Silly sentences
We also use mini whiteboards to write silly sentences with our spelling words. I must admit my sentences are never very silly….but some of the sentences that come from my students are extremely imaginative.
3. Magnetic letters
Magnetic letters are a terrific tool to have available in your class. Set up a spelling station with some magnetic boards and letters. Each student brings their spelling list and use the magnetic letters to build their words.
Have your students use their spelling words to inspire a piece of art. Your students select 5 of their spelling words to draw a picture that matches each of their chosen words. The challenge is that they must try and make their picture have an overall meaning.
5. Magazine words
Your students make their spelling words by cutting the letters they need from magazines and newspapers. They glue the letters to a sheet of paper making their spelling words.
6. Play dough
I’ve used play dough for spelling with kids from kindy through to grade 6….and they all love it. Get your students to make their words from play dough. This is a great fine motor activity for little kids as well.
7. Pipe cleaner words
For this activity you will need some pipe cleaners and beads that have letters on them. Have your students thread the letters on to the pipe cleaners to make their spelling words.
8. Paint bags
Oh the joy of paint….if you’re anything like me it’s a bit of a love hate relationship. My kids love using it, but oh the mess that they can make! That’s where the paint bags come in. Fill some zip lock bags with paint, and then your students use cotton buds/tips to write their spelling words in the paint; on the outside of the bag of course.
9. Ink stamps
Stamping is lots of fun as well. You will need some ink pads, stamp letters and paper. Students use the letters to stamp their words on the paper.
10. Sand/salt tray
My little miss four loves playing with sand, so this activity is definitely a hit with her. Fill a tray with sand (or salt) and your students use their fingers to write their spelling word in the sand. Make sure the sand is a little bit damp so that the words come our clearly. You could also use chop sticks or paintbrushes to write the words.
11. Counters/match stick words
If you have counters or match sticks laying around in your class, then these are another tool that your students can use to make their words. And the bonus is that it doesn’t really involve any preparation. Just leave out some counters or match sticks, your students bring their list of spelling words and then they use the counters to build their words. You could also get them to finish with writing the words on their mini whiteboards.
We love chatterboxes (cootie catchers / fortune tellers). They’re such an interactive way for your students to revise phonics and spelling words. Have your students make some of their own, or if you’d like a freebie to try with them, then see my post:
13. Word puzzles
I use word puzzles with students in just about every lesson that we do on spelling. You can also get your students to make their own sets. You will need some small square bits of paper (or laminated cards or post it notes). Have your students write each sound in the word on an individual square, rather than each letter. For example in the word ship, there would be 3 squares for ‘sh’ ‘i’ ‘p’. Also get your students to write the whole word on another square. The puzzles can be paper clipped together with the word on top. Then get yours students to work in pairs. They remove the cover word, mix up the puzzle pieces and the other student must put the word back together again, trying to work out the word. You can then get them to finish with writing the whole word on their mini whiteboards.
14. Words sorts
There are many different ways that you can get your students to sort their spelling words. The main way that we sort, is to sort the words according to how a particular sound is spelled. For example, sort the words into the different spelling of the /oe/ sound. Spellings: ow, o, o-e, oa.
I also think that you can’t go wrong with games…right! If you need some new ideas for spelling games, then check out my posts:
What are some of the quick and simple spelling activities that you use with your students?