Spelling Games to Take the Tedium Out of Spelling Homework

G2 has started working on his spelling at school and he recently came home with his first spelling list. I was a little worried about getting him to practice his spelling words because he hates to write and he gets so easily distracted if I ask him to spell out the words to me. Getting him to write out the letters was so painfully slow that I was zoning out just waiting for him to spell a three letter word – even when he already knew the word! Every so often, I would have to remind him what he was doing and bring him back to the task.

In the end, we borrowed this idea which seems to work well…


Using letter tiles (you can use magnetic letters, bananagrams, scrabble tiles, or anything similar), get your child to spell the word. To help the dreamers stay on track, you can turn it into a game by adding an egg timer. It is amazing how much more on track we are practicing spelling this way rather than me pulling my hair out and getting agitated while I try to steer G2 back to his homework.

Spelling games

Every child is different and what worked for us doesn’t necessarily work for everyone so here are some more great ideas that our school sent home for helping children develop their phonic knowledge…

I spy

Play “I spy” using letter names as well as sounds.

Build a word

Play with magnetic letters. Build words using some of the digraph and trigraph combinations;

  • r-ai-n = rain
  • b-oa-t = boat
  • l-igh-t = light
  • b-ear-d = beard


Play “pairs”, turning over two words at a time trying to find a matching pair. This is especially helpful when learning tricky words.

Against the clock

Set a timer. Call out one word at a time and get your child to spell it on a piece of paper or a small whiteboard. You may also use magnetic letters.

Caption reading and writing

Make up captions and phrases for your child to read and write, for example, “a silver star”, “clear the pond”. Write some simple sentences and leave them around the house for your child to find and read. After they have found and read these sentences, give them a treat!