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Fun Spelling Games For Kids


The ability to spell well is a sign of literacy. Spelling is a skill of constructing words rather than memorizing them. A good speller predicts how a word is spelled based on knowledge of what is probable in English. Sadly, spelling is one of the most neglected subjects of study.

Spelling instruction is reinforced through activities that:

  • Apply spelling words to daily reading and writing
  • Build phonemic awareness and phonics skills
  • Emphasize basic spelling patterns and generalizations
  • Promote word analysis and build vocabularies
  • Help students correct common spelling errors
  • Develop student interest

A worthwhile spelling program includes the following characteristics:

  • About fifteen minutes of daily instruction, five days a week
  • Lists of spelling words based on spelling patterns or similar structures
  • Use of pretest-study-test format
  • A self-corrected test procedure
  • A word-study strategy that is both visual and auditory
  • Teaching words as whole units, not as parts
  • An emphasis on teaching how words are spelled rather than on teaching rules

Immediate reinforcement, specifically self-correction, is essential. In fact, self-correction is the single greatest factor in learning to spell.

Enhancing spelling instruction with games sparks students’ interest. Although games do not involve real-world reading and writing, they serve to focus the players’ attention on the structure of words. This, in turn, helps to create visual images of the words, which students will then use as they read and write. Playing games fosters a positive attitude towards spelling, which is critical to improving spelling skills.

Spelling Games

  1. Keep Climbing
  • Keep Climbing game board
  • pencils and erasers
  • list of spelling words that progress from easy to more difficult


  • Make a copy of the game board for each student.

How to play:

  1. Ask for a volunteer to be the caller and give him or her the word list.
  2. The caller reads out each word and uses it in a sentence.
  3. As the caller reads the words, the players write them on the lines of their game board, starting at the bottom of the page.
  4. After the players have written each word, the caller writes the word on the chalkboard so that the players could self-check. If incorrect, the players self-correct.
  5. When the caller reads the next word, the players write it on the next line, or, if the last word had been spelled incorrectly, on the same line.
  6. Play continues in this manner until one player reaches the top.
  1. Word Detective


  • letter cards
  • list of spelling words


  • Copy a set of letter cards, making multiple cards for vowels and other letters that appear more than once in a spelling word.

How to play:

  1. Use letter cards to build a spelling word, or ask a volunteer to build a word.
  2. Have the players read the word and then have them turn around.
  3. Remove a letter.
  4. Have the players turn back around. Have them identify the missing letter and tell where it belongs. A volunteer may replace the letter.
  5. You may have each player write a sentence that uses the word.
  1. Copycat Words


  • word strips cut out into cards, each one approximately six inches long
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • list of spelling words
  • chalkboard and chalk

How to play:

  1. Write a spelling word on the chalkboard.
  2. Ask the students to copy the word onto a strip. Check their spelling.
  3. Have the students say the word and spell it. Invite volunteers to use the word in a sentence.
  4. Cover up the word on the chalkboard, and ask the students to cut apart each letter.
  5. Have them say the word again and visualize how to spell it. Then have them rebuild the word using their letters.
  6. Reveal the word on the chalkboard so that the students can check their work.
  1. Pass the Pad


  • pad of paper and pencil
  • paper bag
  • music player
  • index cards
  • marker


  • Write spelling words on cards, or have the children write the words. Place the word cards in a paper bag.

How to play:

  1. Invite the students to sit in a circle. Play music while the students pass the paper and pencil around the circle.
  2. Periodically stop the music and choose a word from the bag. Read the word aloud.
  3. The player who is holding the pad when the music stops writes the word that you read.
  4. The player displays the word and confirms its spelling with the word card. If the word is spelled correctly, he or she remains in the circle. If not, the player corrects the spelling and leaves the circle. He or she reads the spelling word the next time the music stops.
  5. Continue playing until all the words have been spelled or until just one player remains in the circle.

Other Games

  • Move and Form a Word
  • Roll It, Say It, Spell It
  • Hidden Words
  • ABC Hop
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