Understandably, most children find spelling practice a little dull. Writing out the same word dozens of times might sink in eventually but the process is less than inspiring. At Edu Prints Plus, we believe that learning in the early years should be effective and fun at the same time.
We find that one of the best ways for parents to improve their child’s spelling is by playing spelling games. In this guide, we’ve chosen our favourite spelling games, and the best part is - all you need is a pencil and paper.
Despite the slightly morbid concept, hangman is a great guessing game that children love. Choose a theme with your child, for example, animals, and then think of a related word for your child to spell. Mark out the spaces for the letters using underscores and every now and then, insert one of the letters in their correct position – the less letters you add, the more difficult the game.
If your child guesses a correct letter, write it in its correct space. If they guess incorrectly, add a part of the hangman drawing. Your child can guess the full word at any point, but if they guess incorrectly, the hangman is drawn and the game is over.
For older children, you can replace individual words with short sentences and encourage them to guess the vowels first before moving on to consonants.
Who didn’t love a word search when they were at school? The great thing about word searches is they can be as easy or as difficult as you like – and they’re easy to make. With younger children, start of with a small grid, maybe five spaces across by five spaces down.
Choose three or four short words as part of a broader theme and write them somewhere in the grid. The words can be written horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can write them backwards.
Once you have your words in place, fill in the blank spaces with random letters so that the words are well hidden. Ask your child to find the hidden words and circle them with a pencil. For older children, you can expand the grid, allowing for more and longer words.
Words That Begin With…
This is a good game for helping your child spell those tricky sounds in English like ‘ch’, ‘sh’, and ‘pn’. Cut out some A5 sized cards and choose a sound to explore like the ones above. On each card, draw a picture that represents the word that your child has to guess. For example, for a ‘ch’ sound, you might draw a chicken. Underneath the drawing, mark out spaces for the word, adding in the first two letters, ‘c’ and ‘h’.
Ask your child to complete the word using the drawing as a clue. If you find that the game is too easy with the drawing, take it out and simply mark out the first two letters with an extra one added somewhere in the middle. Your child then has to guess the word without the visual clue and only a broad theme.
This game is easy to set up but can be quite tricky to decipher. Choose a broad theme and about five related words. Mix up the letters of each word and have your child rearrange the letters to make the actual word. For example, if the theme is ‘clothes’, you might have the following scrambled words:
- repmuj (jumper)
- selvog (gloves)
- restours (trousers)
For older children, you can choose longer words, or replace individual words with short sentences. Just make sure that your scrambled words do actually contain all the letters of the proper word, otherwise it’ll be impossible!
Probably the most difficult of our spelling games, crosswords rely on word association clues rather than themes. Start by drawing a grid, maybe 10 spaces by 10 spaces and choose five or six words to place in the grid, either horizontally or vertically.
For each word, write a clue underneath the grid. For example, if you’ve chosen the word ‘guitar’, your clue could be ‘a wooden instrument with strings’. Once you’ve written clues for each word, shade in the remaining grid squares with a pencil, so the spaces for each word are visible.
If you can, try to make the letters of some words overlap others, to give your child additional spelling clues as they work through each word. For older children, you can make the words and the clues more difficult.
At Edu Prints Plus, we make educational posters for children to inspire their learning. If you’re looking to improve your child’s spelling, we have a fantastic range of children’s vocabulary posters to improve their word association skills.
All of our posters are printed on thick, luxurious 350 gsm art card with a lovely velvet finish. They also have surface protection to combat sun, sticky fingers, and juice.
Here are two of our most popular vocabulary prints below: