Look, I get it. Practicing spelling words with your kid gets old really fast when they have a new list of 20 words each week. I bet you understand the importance of it, but in the midst of a hectic life with chores, after-school activities, and so much more, spelling practice becomes the last thing on your mind. Then, it becomes a mad rush to practice in the car as you drive your kid to school on the day of their spelling test. You shrug it off and promise to do better at making your child(ren) practice next week. Sometimes, you reach the end of the school year and look at your child’s essays and wonder how so many spelling mistakes could sneak in.
Or maybe you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum: You are power mom, whose kids always practice (sometimes without you even telling them to) and they get 100% on each test. That’s awesome! But maybe you’d like some more ideas?
So from a former teacher who totally understands that spelling practice can be the bane of your existence, here are my suggestions on some fun ways to practice that won’t be incredibly monotonous for you and your little one!
Flour power: Get any old baking sheet and pour some flour into it and have your kid draw their word in that. To “reset” the pan, they just gently shake it back and forth a little to even out the flour once more. Sugar works well, too!
Type them: If your child is old enough, this is a great way to practice because not only are they spelling out their words but they get to practice their typing as well! Which is a skill our next generation will greatly need.
Magnetic letters: Using that handy baking sheet again, your kid can use those cute, colorful magnetic letters to practice their spelling. Amazon has some cheap ones that will work great HERE, or you can ask your kid’s teacher if she has any extras you could borrow for a week or two.
Boogie board: Have you seen these super cool boards? It’s like a whiteboard and an etch-a-sketch had a baby from their best features! Your kid can use the included stylis or their fingernail and spell out their word. Then, they just press the button on the bottom and it clears! Some even have an app you can download that will capture their pictures/words and let you keep them on your phone! You can buy one on Amazon HERE.
Crossword puzzles: This one probably isn’t the most effective way to practice, but it’s still better than nothing because your kid will keep looking at the words they are trying to find. The more she looks, the higher chance of remembering the order of the letters she was searching for. Some kids really like these types of puzzles so this could be a fun way to do it. Just Google “crossword maker” and a ton of links for free generators will appear, making your job super easy. You’ll type in the spelling list, hit generate, and then print!
Play-dough or Yarn words: Not only is it fun to manipulate the yarn or play-dough into letters, it helps your child with their fine motor skills!
Sing them: Practicing spelling doesn’t have to mean using their hands to write them! Use any catchy song they know or just the simple B-I-N-G-O tune works. It’s been proven that singing or rapping something you want to remember helps you retain it easier and longer. I still remember the “Preposition Yankee Doodle” song my 7th grade Social Studies teacher made us all memorize!
Incorporate the words into your kid’s activities and interests: If your kid loves basketball and would rather be out on the court than sitting writing his spelling words, have him practice his words orally as he bounces his ball. Every bounce is a letter he says out loud. If your kid likes to jump rope, have him say a letter for every hop he does. If you want to get really fancy for your kid who loves to run/move, you could hang each letter around a room and he runs to each letter and he yells them out to spell each word. You could even time him, if he needs more of a challenge!
So you see? There are so many fun ways to get that dreadful task of spelling practice done. It really is incredibly important, so start your kid early. Take those spelling lessons in kindergarten seriously, because their habit of practicing and spelling correctly will build each year and you don’t want them to fall behind if you can help it.