10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play

Spelling activities in any classroom should feel more like play and less like busy work. Do you agree?

Imagine this scenario: The kids get out a pencil. They’re handed half a sheet of paper.

The teacher says, “Number your paper from 1-10.” Insert wait time.

Now the teacher says, “The first word is “dog”. The dog wagged his tail. “Dog.””

Ahh, the weekly spelling list. The dreaded paper and pencil spelling test. The vanilla, un-differentiated, stagnant paper and pencil spelling test.

Come on, you know what I’m talking about. Why do we still test kids like this? It has it’s time a place, but there are many other options for us to get kids to show us what they know.

Either way, you’re about to make that a thing of the past. The paper and pencil spelling test that is. Trash it… and never look back.

Let’s take a look at the 20 ways to practice spelling!

If you’re more of a video-watcher, you’ll enjoy this video replay of spelling activities from the VIP Facebook Group. The video does not show all of the spelling activities below, only a small sample of them.

10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play

1. Cut and Paste

What seems like a simple idea for practicing sight words is a great way to incorporate fine motor work into it.

2. Stamp It

Kids love stickers… and kids love using stamps. Give the stamps a try!

You can find this activity in the Kinder Spelling Curriculum here.

10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play - file folder spelling

3. File Folder Spelling

Spelling typically looks like writing the word… but what about our students who are not yet able to write independently? 

Or maybe you’re looking for a new, interactive, INDEPENDENT way for students to practice spelling… that includes a model… that you don’t have to provide in the moment. Look no further.

Find the K-3 File Folder Spelling here.

10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play - block builder

4. Block Builder

Did you know you can write on these block manipulatives and easily erase it using a Magic Eraser? YEP! It’s something that takes little prep, incorporates fine motor, and is super fun!

I like using this for sight words we are practicing each week… and I’ve even done it for practicing how to spell student names!

Grab the blocks here, and Magic Erasers here.

5. Trace and Write

Tracing doesn’t have to be something you print out. In the midst of a lesson, you can easily grab a highlighter or yellow marker and have students trace what you’ve written.

But if you’re looking for print-and-go tracing, you can find this activity in the Kinder Spelling Curriculum here.

6. Sand Spelling

Putting a little bit of sand in a pencil box and have students use their finger (a pencil or a paintbrush) to write out their sight words is always a hit in my classroom!

7. Magic Words

Magic words are fun! Write the sight words on a piece of white paper with a white crayon. Then take any color of marker and find the sight words.

You can take it one step further by having students write each word they found, cutting it out and pasting it on or near the magic word they found.

You can find this activity in the Kinder Spelling Curriculum here.

8. Dough Spelling

This is one of our favorite Fine Motor Friday activities… because it’s fun disguised as academic play!

You can find the dough flash card activity in the Kinder Spelling Curriculum here.

prompt hierarchy lead magnet

9. Q-tip Spelling

Write the word on a piece of construction paper and then use paint and Qtips to dot-paint over the word.

10. Tablet Apps

Whether it’s apps or a Digital AWB®, practicing sight words using technology is fun for our students.

Find the Sight Word Digital Adapted Work Binder® here.

10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play - magnet spelling

11. Magnetic Letters

This spelling activity is great because you can use it on any magnetic surface (whiteboard, side of a file cabinet, cookie tray) and incorporate it into Use in center rotations, as morning work, for reading practice, for modeled spelling practice, as take home practice work and/or simple homework, and more!

12. Dotter Find (Daub It)

Kids love stamping letters… and they love using the paint dotters too! This is one you can print-and-use, or just write words on a piece of paper and have students dot them!

You can find this activity in the Kinder Spelling Curriculum here.

10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play - errorless matching

13. Errorless Matching

Store the errorless word cards in a task box or baggie. Empty out your task box or baggie so you can see each letter card. Sort all of the cards into piles by the words at the top of each letter card. Use the word at the top of each letter card as a spelling model. Spell each word by putting the letters in sequential order.

Find all of the Errorless Flash Cards here, for both Dolch and Fry sight words.

14. Typing on the Computer

Simple and easy. Can be a computer, laptop or tablet! Either way, our students need to know how to type on a keyboard and use technology (even though most times they know it better than we do!)

I have the student open up a blank word document and then type out their words. For students who aren’t ready for this more advanced task, I really like the Keyboarding Without Tears curriculum.

Find sight word keyboarding activities here.

15. Letter Word Scrambles

h t e = the
o g = go
k i e l = like

Super simple! Use a model or have students decode the words without accommodations.

Sight word searches are also a great option!

10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play - use sight words for partner matching

16. Use Sight Words to Match Kids for Partner Work

Y’all this partner match idea from Elementary Littles on IG is a game changer. Carly prints sight words on stickers, gives each student a sticker and then they have to read the sight words on each other to find their match! #iknow

You could even have them count letters, number of consonants or vowels… the possibilities are endless! AND it gets the up and moving in the classroom and READING!

10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play - read it build it practice it

17. Read it – Build it – Practice it

You can find this original pin here.

10+ Spelling Activities That Feel like Play - interactive sight word readers

18. Interactive Sight Word Readers

Read it. Trace it. Write it. Find it. Color it. Cut and paste it. The sight word booklet also includes a certificate as the last page.

You can read more about using Interactive Sight Word Readers here.

19. Sight Word Adapted Work Binders®

Functional and differentiated skill work that covers standards-aligned topics for sight words and reading for grades K-3, this adapted work binder® is the perfect addition to any elementary special education classroom or homeschool curricula.

You can find the Sight Word AWB® here.

How do your students practice spelling in the classroom? Tell us in the comments below.

Spelling activities and sight word work in any classroom should feel more like play and less like busy work. These 20 spelling activities are great for reading centers, morning work, and more... like file folder spelling, magnetic spelling, block building, trace and write, sand spelling, magic words, and some with technology integration. Learn all 10+ ways you can move away from spelling tests and make learning spelling and sight words fun. Blog post at Mrs. D's Corner.




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