16 Fun Spelling Game Ideas for Kids

Michele Meleen
A spelling test with a perfect score

Spelling games for kids provide a fun way for you to help your children with spelling practice at home, on the go, or in the classroom. From quick and simple original spelling games to free, online spelling games, kids of all ages can practice their English Language Arts skills any time, anywhere.

Interactive Spelling Games for Preschool and Kindergarten

Kids ages three, four, and five typically have a lot of energy and learn best through multi-sensory play. These great original interactive spelling game ideas will keep younger kids engaged and help them learn to start spelling words. Games for this age group also work well as ESL spelling games for beginners.

Spelling Pattern Pile-Up

Get kids moving around the room in a simple, non-competitive game of Spelling Pattern Pile-Up. Use store-bought pre-primer and kindergarten sight word flash cards, or make your own for this adaptive game.

  1. Place the word cards all around the room with the words facing up and set a basket or bucket in the center of the room.
  2. Seat kids in a circle around the basket.
  3. Call out a spelling pattern such as "Begins with a consonant, ends with a vowel." or "Has two Es."
  4. Players then jump up and travel around the room looking for word cards that fit the direction.
  5. When a child finds a word card, they go back to their seat in the circle.
  6. Once everyone is sitting back down, any kids with word cards share their word by spelling it out loud.
  7. If the word fits the direction, it gets put in the basket. If it doesn't, the child can re-hide it in the room.
  8. Continue until all word cards are in the basket.

Buzz and Spell

This simple game show type game is ideal for families with multiple children, carpools, or small groups of children.

  1. Each player chooses a different noise that serves as their "buzzer" (examples include a cat's meow, a bird's chirp, a car horn, or whistle).
  2. Set a time limit for game play. Fifteen to 20 minutes is ideal for this age group.
  3. The caller says a word out loud.
  4. The first person to "buzz" in and spell the word correctly is awarded a point.
  5. The player with the most points wins the game.

Spelling Bingo

Use a free, printable, blank Bingo card template to create your own simple spelling Bingo game. You'll also need access to a laminator or some type of pocket that is clear and can be used with dry erase markers to slide the cards into.

  1. Modify your printed Bingo cards to make them suitable for use with dry erase markers.
  2. Have each player write a different letter in each blank square. They can use any letters they choose, but should only have each letter once.
  3. Play by standard Bingo rules where you call out one letter at a time and kids circle that letter on their boards using a dry erase marker.
  4. When a child can spell out a word using their circled letters, they call out "Bingo" and spell the word out loud.
  5. Once someone wins a round, start the game over.

Spell and Match

Download and print off printable block letter templates to create your own spelling memory match game. This game is best for pairs or small groups of up to four players.

  1. Print out two copies of the Scrabble style block letters and cut out each individual letter block.
  2. Turn all the letter blocks upside down, mix them up, then lay them out in a grid pattern.
  3. To start their turn, a player turns over one letter block to reveal the letter.
  4. The player must then spell a word that starts or ends with that letter.
    • If they spell a real word correctly, they can flip over another letter block to try and find the matching letter. If they find the match, they keep both letter tiles.
    • If they spell a fake word or spell a word incorrectly, they turn the letter block back over and their turn is over.
  5. Play continues in clockwise order. The player with the most matches when all letter blocks are gone is the winner.
People playing game

Fun Spelling Games for Kids Ages 6 to 9

Turn your spelling list into a fun spelling game that goes beyond the classic spelling bee for kids in grades one, two, three, and four. Spelling games and activities for elementary students help with teaching alphabetical order, reading, and writing. Because of their focus on letter sounds, phonics game ideas can easily be adapted into spelling games too.

Spelling Dots and Boxes

All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and a different colored crayon for each player to play this twist on the classic dots and boxes game. The object of this simple spelling game is to complete boxes in a row to make words.

  1. Make a grid of dots on the paper with uniform rows and columns of dots.
  2. On a turn a player draws one line that connects two dots. If their line closes a four-sided box, they get to write a letter inside the box.
  3. Players take turns drawing lines and writing letters.
  4. When a player completes a box and adds a letter than forms a real word with the completed boxes before or after it, she colors in all the letters for her word using her crayon.
  5. The player with the most completed words when all dots have been connected is the winner.

Rhyme and Spell Relay

Using rhyming words and activities like the Rhyme and Spell Relay adds another element of fun to your spelling game.

  1. Separate players into equal teams of two or more players on each team.
  2. Line all teams up in separate lines at one end of the room.
  3. Place a piece of paper, chalkboard, or white board at the opposite end of the room so each team has a place to write. Write one word on each team's board.
  4. The first player from each team will run to their writing board and add a word that rhymes with the word on their board.
  5. After they write their word, the player must spell their new word out loud all the way back to their team line.
  6. The next player must spell the previous player's word out loud as they run to the writing space and add a new rhyming word.
  7. If a player cannot think of a rhyming word or spells it incorrectly, they sit next to their team's writing board.
  8. Team's continue playing until all members of their team are sitting.
  9. The team with the most correctly spelled rhyming words written on their board wins.

Add-A-Letter

You need at least two players, but more is better, to play the Add-A-Letter word game.

  1. Players sit in a circle and you choose one person to start.
  2. The first player says any letter.
  3. Each player after that says another letter in an attempt to spell a word.
  4. When a word is formed, the next player starts with a new letter.
  5. The object of the game is to see how many words you can create this way as a group. You can also give bonus points for words with more than five letters.

Spell That Tune

Music makes every educational game more fun for kids. Spell That Tune is a guessing and spelling game that's more cooperative than competitive.

  1. One player hums the tune to a familiar song.
  2. All the other players have to guess the correct song title by spelling out their guesses.
  3. The player who guesses and spells correctly gets to be the next hummer.
Smart Boy at School

Fun Spelling Games for Kids in Grades 5 and 6

Although older elementary kids might not focus as much on spelling, they are expected to spell more complex words. Games for this age group should be more challenging and incorporate other writing and reading skills.

Spell Speak

Turn a classic questions game into a spelling game by requiring players to spell out their answer rather than say it. There are several ways to incorporate spelled answers into question games:

  • Play 20 Questions, but have players spell out the questions and answers.
  • Give kids five minutes to interview each other, but the interviewee can only answer with spelled responses. Make it a contest of how many answers the interviewer can prompt.
  • Ask students to spell out the answers they give after raising their hands during a specific lesson. The student who spells the most answers can win a prize.

Three Clues and a Letter

A play on Two Truths and a Lie, Three Clues and a Letter is a fun and easy spelling word game for older kids.

  1. The first player chooses a category then chooses one thing from that category. For example, he might choose "zoo animals" as a category then choose "lion."
  2. Player One gives one clue to the rest of the group and about one minute for any guesses. The other players must spell out their guesses.
  3. Player One gives three clues total and, if no one has guessed correctly yet, gives one letter from the spelling of their object as a final clue.
  4. The person who guesses the correct answer and spells it correctly gets to be the clue giver next.

Synonym or Antonym Spelling Bee

Host a classic spelling bee with a fun twist using your word list and a coin.

  1. On a turn, each player flips a coin.
    • Heads means they have to spell a synonym for the given word.
    • Tails means they have to spell an antonym for the given word.
  2. The host calls out a word.
  3. The player has one minute to think of and spell an antonym or a synonym, depending on their coin flip.
  4. If they succeed, the player goes to the end of the line. If they do not, they sit out as a spectator for the rest of the bee.
  5. The last player left standing is the winner.
Children on stage at spelling bee

Printable Spelling Games for Kids

You can use lots of free, printable materials as is or adjust them to create your own unique spelling games. Click on the image of the game to download and print using the Adobe guide for PDF troubleshooting tips.

Printable Word Scramble Challenge

Kids can race against time to complete printable unscramble word games as a challenge against a friend, sibling, or parent. Free spelling worksheets for grades 1 through 6 include simple games like the Fifth Grade Word Scramble Challenge that can be adapted to any grade level spelling list. The game requires two players, a printed game sheet, pencils, and your class or home spelling words.

Kids Jotto Game

Printable word puzzles for kids includes a blank Jotto game sheet that's free. Two players use logical reasoning to decipher the three-letter word their opponent chose in this simple word game.

Free Online Spelling Games for Kids

From kids typing games to ABC learning games, there are thousands of free online games kids can play to practice spelling.

Spell Your Way to F-U-N

Spelling activities and games for kids can involve no electronics or materials, simple and free supplies, or internet access. Whether you need classroom games for kids or want to help your child practice spelling at home, there are tons of ways to make learning fun.

16 Fun Spelling Game Ideas for Kids