12 Best Fun Spelling Games For Kids Of All Grades

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Despite technological advances such as spellcheck or autocorrect, learning how to spell still plays a key role in a child’s literacy education. Building expertise in spelling is beneficial for developing other fundamental language skills such as reading and writing (1).

Since many English words do not spell the way they sound, a few spellings may have to be memorized. Children may find this activity boring and lose interest. Playing fun spelling games at home can provide children with the much-needed motivation to practice and strengthen their spelling ability. Read this post for a list of exciting spelling games for kids of all ages.

Why Are Spellings Important For Kids?

Knowing how to spell is crucial for the literacy development of children. Here are a few benefits of learning how to spell (1).

  • Spelling is closely linked to reading: While good readers might not necessarily spell accurately, spellings help them to read better and quickly. They will also know the difference between words that sound similar but have different spellings
  • Spelling and writing are also connected: A study among second graders who spelled poorly indicated that when spelling intervention is done, in addition to improved spelling skills, these children also showed improved writing skills (1). Learning spellings makes the child write effortlessly.
  • Spelling and vocabulary: When children are exposed to different types of words in the process of perfecting their spellings, their vocabulary also improved. Vocabulary, reading, and spelling are all inter-connected (1).

Stages Of Spelling Development

Spelling development occurs in five stages. Read ahead to understand these stages in detail (2) (3).

1. Pre-communicative stage

Generally, children aged three to five years are in this stage. The child may learn the alphabet but lack the understanding of letter-sound or letter-name relationships. In addition, knowledge of rules such as writing left to right, top to bottom, or capital and small is absent. They may also not be able to differentiate between similar looking letters such as b and d.

2. Semi-phonetic stage

Children aged between around six years are usually at this stage. They start understanding that letters have certain sounds. Based on their basic knowledge of sounds, children might start using the first letter or phonetic spelling to communicate the full word. For instance, they may write “U” instead of “You” or “HP” instead of “happy.”

3. Phonetic stage

As the child grows, they become better-versed with the various sounds in the word and starts using the phonetic spellings with more expertise. They may use a group of letters to represent all the different sounds in the word while spelling it. For instance, “fon” for phone and “Kom” for come. Despite the spelling not being correct, the appropriate phonetics and letter choice makes it easy to understand what they are communicating.

4. Transitional stage

At this stage, the child starts writing commonly used words without any errors. They begin to move beyond just phonetics and begin to understand word patterns and structure. The child will start considering the visual representation of words. For instance, they may write “straight” as “strait,” or “hiked” as “highked.”

5. Correct stage

By now, the basic knowledge of the language rules and structure is in place. Children understand concepts such as singular, plural, prefix, suffix, and silent consonants. They have a larger spelling vocabulary and can even spell irregular words. Most of their spellings are correct. While they might still make mistakes in their writing, they can identify their spelling errors.

12 Exciting Spelling Games For Kids Of All Ages

Read ahead for some fun games that will get your child hooked to learning spellings. From kindergarten to fifth grade, we have listed exciting spelling games for kids of all ages.

Kindergarten Spelling Games

At the kindergarten level, your child has just begun to understand the basic sounds of short words (phonetic stage). Hence playing games with simple Consonant Vowel Consonant words (CVC) is ideal at this stage.

1. Make a word

This game will encourage your child to think and create a CVC word. To play, you need letter blocks, post-it notes, letter cut-outs, or magnetic letters. First, choose three letters that can be used to create a CVC word. Then, ask your child to create a word using these letters. You may gradually make the game more challenging by giving them six letters at a time to make two three-lettered CVC words.

2. Swap-a-letter

Arrange the letter to form a three-letter CVC word, for instance, “can,” and tell them to change the first word to create another word such as “pan.” Once they get the hang of it, you can have them change the vowel, such as changing “bat” to “bit.” To keep your little one motivated, you can set up a reward for correct answers.

Spelling Games For 1st Grade

The spelling games given below are effective for reinforcing the spellings of the CVC words they have already learnt.

3. Spell with clippings

Prepare a list of words your child has learned. Call out a word and ask them to spell the word aloud. If they spell the word correctly, tell them to cut the required letters from the newspaper/ magazine and arrange them to form the word. Cutting and arranging each letter of the word will help your child create a visual image of the word and help them memorize it. Do this with all the words on the list.

4. Poster spelling art

This game helps your child memorize the spelling of words they find difficult. Check the child’s schoolwork to understand the spelling they generally get wrong. Create a large poster of the word with magazine clippings, colors, and glitter. To track the progress, create some checkboxes at the top of the poster. Show the child the poster once and ask them to memorize the word. Ask them to spell the chosen word every day and tick the boxes whenever they get the spelling right. Create a new poster with another tricky word after five checkboxes get ticked.

Spelling Games For 2nd Grade

This is the perfect age for your child to learn new words and expand their vocabulary. Here are a few games that can help.

5. Word chain

Ask your little ones to write their favorite words. Then ask them to write another word from the last letter of the first one. The chain of words can go on. For instance,

Bat
Team
Math
Happy

This can be a single-player or a two-player game. The more words your child writes, the more points they win.

6. Lily pad spelling game

Play this game with two players. You need cut-outs of all the 26 letters. Draw individual letters on separate pieces of paper large enough for a child to step on. Alternatively, you can draw all the letters on a large construction paper and cut out each letter. Place these cutouts on the floor. When you call out a word, the players have to spell it by hopping on the letter lily pads. Whoever spells the most words correctly, wins. Start with simple words and slowly move to challenging ones.

Spelling Games For 3rd Grade

Third graders are usually aware of the commonly used words, so these games can serve as a revision for them.

7. Spelling relay

This game requires two teams, a whiteboard, and two markers. The two teams have to be arranged in a line a little away from the board. The relay race will start when the word is announced. The first member of both teams will run and write the first letter of the word and pass on the marker to the next member and continue the relay. If one of the players of the team writes a wrong letter, the next member in the relay can correct it. However, then they cannot add in a letter of their own. The team which completes the spelling first wins the first round.

8. Word jumble

You need individual letters to play this game. You can use letter clippings, alphabet blocks, or fridge magnets, whichever option is most accessible. Take the letters of a word and jumble them. Your little one has to identify the word and accordingly rearrange the letters. You may give a clue by showing a picture that describes the word. Once your child gets used to the game, raise the difficulty level by keeping a timer.

Spelling Games For 4th Grade

These are perfect games to practice and enhance a fourth-grader’s spelling ability.

9. Fill in the blanks

You can play this game with two or three teams. Write two separate words on the board with some letters missing, for instance, p_ c t_ _ e. The teams have to then work together to fill in the missing letters. The team which completes the word correctly first wins one point.

10. Spelling the rhyme

Play this game in a group setting. The players sit in a circle, and one player is asked to hum a rhyme of their choice. Other players have to guess the tune. The child who raises the hand first gets a chance to answer. They have to name the song by spelling all the words of the title. If the guess is correct, they get a point and an opportunity to hum the next tune.

Spelling Games For 5th Grade

At this age, you can start introducing more complex words and language rules. Here are a few games that can help you challenge your children’s spelling skills.

11. Synonym-antonym game

This game requires multiple players. A coin toss will decide what the player has to spell. Head stands for synonym and tail for antonym. The host will call out a word. The first player has to flip the coin and spell out the antonym or the synonym of the word. If they answer correctly, they remain in the game; else, they are out. The game continues until only one person remains.

12. Guess the word

This interactive game involves dividing the children into two teams. You need multiple post-it notes with different words. One member of the team will be seated in a chair facing the other team members. A player from the opposite team will choose a word post-it from the bowl and stick it on the seated player’s forehead without showing it to them. The other team members can read the post-it and have to help the seated member identify the word without saying it directly or writing it. The team members can enact the word, use synonyms or antonyms of the word. If the member guesses the word in the stipulated time and spells it out correctly, the team wins a point. Continue the same with the other team.

Spelling is an important part of language development and effective communication. Spelling games and activities are perfect for making spelling learning interesting for your child. Your little one will have fun and become more confident in their ability to spell. Keep their spirits high by praising and rewarding them when they spell right and encourage them patiently if they make mistakes.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Spelling as It Relates to Literacy: Reading, Writing, and Language; Sarah Ingebrand; Florida State University Libraries
    https://fsu.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/fsu:183765/datastream/PDF/view
  2. Summary Chart for Five Stages of Spelling Development; Monitoring progress in spelling using developmental information by Cedric Croft
    https://www.academia.edu/37045082/Summary_Chart_for_Five_Stages_of_Spelling_Development_Stage_One_PrecOmmunicative
  3. The Five Stages of Spelling; Park School
    https://www.mvschools.org/Page/6596
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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship articles, where she deals with both the rosy and the grey side... more