Spelling Games for Kids

Amy Finley
A spelling test with a perfect score

Spelling games for kids are an excellent way to combine learning and fun. From action-packed online spelling activities to board games that teach and reinforce spelling, there are many ways to turn this academic subject into play.

Children's Spelling Games Online

With child-friendly search engines, finding educational kids' games online is a great option. Although parents should still monitor their child's Internet use, favorite game sites can be bookmarked, and special filters and child-safe browsers can be used to find new spelling activities online. Spelling games are available for a wide variety of ages, from younger elementary ages needing to focus on sight words to older children who need more difficult spelling challenges. Below are a few sites that offer free online games for kids that teach spelling:

  • Spelling with Caillou: Preschoolers can get a head start on spelling skills by matching blocks with the right letters to characters from the popular PBS show Caillou.
  • Fun Brain's Spell Check can be played in easy or hard levels for elementary school children. Children look at a set of words and must choose the incorrect word, obtaining points for each correct answer.
  • Scholastic's Spelling Wizard is an innovative tool that actually allows children to create their own game - the child enters in the spelling words from homework assignments or study sheets, and the site generates a word scramble or word search based on the words.
  • Houghton Mifflin's Eduplace is designed to be played along with Houghton Mifflin lessons, but any child can enjoy the fun of spelling with these games. Based on matching, the spelling activities vary based on age level and by lesson, from matching parts of words in the first grade section to matching homophones for eighth grade players.

In addition to free online kids' games, there are a number of paid spelling programs and software options available.

Spelling Board Games for Kids

As a family or with friends, many games are designed to reinforce spelling skills in a fun way. Classic board games for kids and families such as Scrabble or Boggle (both available in junior versions) help teach kids spelling, and many other games are designed with a spelling focus in mind, including:

  • Coodju and Coodju Junior: By Anomoly games, this team game is a race for spelling words not only correctly, but in unique way such as backwards.
  • The Great Word Race: This board game by Aristoplay has players racing pawns toward the finish and getting ahead with letter for life cards.
  • Spelling Bee: With two versions, this award-winning board game can be purchased for younger and more advanced players. Players must correctly identify misspelled words, and the player with the most points wins the game. Available from Remedia Publications.
  • Speed Spell: A recipient of the Dr. Smart Play award, Speed Spell allows players to build words (and spelling skills!) to earn points. Variations can be made to make the game suitable for advanced players.

Check educational stores and websites for more educational spelling board games, along with flash cards and other spelling activities.

Making up Your Own Spelling Games for Kids

With a little creativity, parents can come up with their own spelling games to play in the car, waiting in the doctor's office, or at home.

  • Spell Speak: This game is great to break up boredom in the car or waiting in line. Instead of asking questions and answering them as in normal conversation, players spell out questions and answers to each other. Can be played non-competitively or for points.
  • Find-A-Word: In the car or while shopping, players find and correctly spell a word. Parents can help guide this game by suggesting words likely to be spotted - (stop, milk, etc.).
  • Add-A-Letter: The first player says a letter, and other players take turns adding letters to form a word. Play stops when a word is finished, and the next player starts with a new letter.
  • Spell That Tune: Players take turns humming familiar songs; the remaining players name that tune by spelling out the title of the song.
  • Buzz Spell: A good game for families with multiple children, carpools, or trips with groups of children. Each child makes a noise that serves as their 'buzzer' (examples include a cat's meow, a bird's chirp, a car horn, or whistle). The caller says a word, and the first person to buzz in and spell the word correctly is awarded a point. The player with the most points wins the game.

By utilizing fun spelling games for kids, parents and educators can help children learn essential skills in an entertaining form. From online games to simple car activities, the fun ways to incorporate spelling activities are virtually endless.

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Spelling Games for Kids