I am a terrible speller. If you have been reading my blog for a while you probably know that. Sorry, I really do try, it just doesn’t stick. My poor spelling has long been a source of embarrassment and made me feel stupid for many years. I am adamant to make spelling fun for my kids so that they have the confidence to take on the challenge if a challenge ever presents itself. All of these games and activities are meant to have fun with spelling and to work on putting letter sounds together to make words. There are no drills or tests. The vast majority of these activities are for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade but could be adapted for younger children as well.
Nuts & Bolts Spelling
Alphabet Bead Spelling
Sidewalk Chalk Walk and Spell
Build and Spell with Letters
Play Dough Stamp & Spell
Spin & Spell
Fill in The Blank Stories
Word Scavenger Hunt with Spelling Stones
Last week when I published our Thanksgiving Spelling Stones I promised that I had another simple activity to do with the stones. This is it. It was a rainy day ( can you tell by the not so great pictures?) but I wasn’t ready to turn the TV on yet. This simple game got them moving, playing together , and working on their own levels at the same time. I will be making many more sets of these stones to do this activity and others throughout the year. To find out how to make the stones themselves check out our spelling stones tutorial.
Before your kids start searching. Tell them the word / words you will be spelling and how many stones total they are searching for. This helps sneak in a wee bit of math.
Once all letters are in the basket start piecing together the word. At first my son started doing this step all by himself but I asked him to slow down and ask his sister to find him the letter he needed to spell from the bunch. This let him work on spelling and gave her a chance to work on letter recognition.
Told you it was simple, but hopefully I showed you how many little tidbits of learning you could fit into it too.
Check out some great Thanksgiving Books For Kids.
Who says spelling lessons have to be boring and can’t have a theme? These spelling stones are a fun Thanksgiving craft and spelling activity rolled into one. Create a challenge by asking ” How many words can we make with the word Thanksgiving?” and use your child’s natural competitiveness as fuel for learning. The stones themselves are a great concrete manipulative that are a must for some learners and a nice novelty for others. I have had the idea for this for ages but making the stones seemed daunting. It took a few minutes and less than an hour later my son was playing and learning. Wish I’d done it sooner!
Gather your materials. You will need some stones ( dollar store! ) , multi-surface paint , a fine paint brush, clipboard, paper, and pencil.
Start by writing out thanksgiving on the stones. I used all lowercase letters so they would be interchangeable. I also made a color pattern but that’s just because I think patterns are pretty. I used a shoebox lid for a workspace. These paints are not washable so I like to protect what I can. Also the kids did not help make these.
Let dry. Ours took about 45 minutes to dry. Only one letter got damaged. If you are using these with a large group where they will be used a lot I would seal them but if it’s just in your home I wouldn’t bother.
What I love about using manipulatives to make words before writing them down is that when he was sounding out words he didn’t get frustrated if something didn’t seem right. He just replaced a stone with another. There was no erasing needed and for kids who have a deep desire for perfection that can be freeing.
Have your child write the word after making it with the stones. This is optional but I like adding in writing whenever I can. All my sneaking writing into things have really paid off. My son who struggled with it last year has made such progress in part because of a little here and a little there. Seeing the list grow and grow also encourages kids to keep trying to create more words.
This won’t be the last of these stones either… hang tight because in a few days I will have a totally different but totally fun activity using them again.
Thanksgiving BooksAll book lists include affiliate links.
Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by Kimberly and James Dean was underwhelming and I usually adore Pete The Cat. Sadly this book didn’t live up to my expectations. My daughter liked it but wondered when Pete was going to sing. He doesn’t. There are no catchy repetitive refrains which is what we love about Pete! My son pointed out the flaws in the history which thrilled me because they were distracting. The target audience is younger than my son so it may not even be an issue for you but seeing a pretty little house as the shelter the Pilgrims had for the first winter irked me. I realize that Pete is a cat who is in a play so realism isn’t expected but I’d be lying if I said I loved it. Pete is awfully cute as a pilgrim though.
Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes delighted my whole family. I read it at dinner and all four of us thought the book was spot on. It’s not a story so much as a glimpse at all the things kids in a average family have to be thankful about. The illustrations by Doris Barrette are stunning. I want to frame them. I think this book does a great job at teaching children what they have to be thankful for and how everyday things can be something to be thankful for. Kids will relate so well to this book and because of that the message comes across loud and clear. My son loved that there is space on the last page to write what he is thankful for. Great find.
Learning After School is our series of short but important lessons that are big on fun and reinforce skills your kids are learning at school. They are designed not to feel like homework and if they do or if my son rates them too low ( yes he rates each and every activity we do here) I don’t post it .This simple CVC word activity lets kids explore spelling with playdough and did pass the test. I like using playdough because if you make a mistake it’s easy peasy to squish and try again.
When your kids or their teachers speak about CVC words these are the type of words they are talking about consonant- vowel- consonant. These simple three letter words are a great place to start segmenting sounds and working on connecting known consonant sounds with various vowel sounds to create new words. This works on your child’s phonological awareness and differentiation of vowel sounds which can be a very big struggle for many kids. The playdough adds novelty which is great when you are doing activities that require practice and repetition. Here is what we did.
Gather your materials. You will need some playdough and some letter stamps.
Next give your child the stamps with the vowels on them and ask them to make words with them. If your child is new to this activity encourage adding any vowel and take time to help them sound it out and do not worry if they create combinations that aren’t real words. If kids are more experienced give them the challenge of only creating words that have meaning. Encourage them to try out different combinations and ask themselves if it makes sense.
For another playful way to work on spelling and boosting phonological awareness try this idea from an article I wrote for Scholastic Parent’s Raise A Reader blog and this word family playdough and letter stamp activity from I Can Teach My Child .
This is not something I thought up at all. This idea has been around for ages but when my husband had to run to Home Depot for something else I asked him to grab us some nuts and bolts. If you are a regular reader you may know that I am forever trying to get my son to work on his fine motor skills. The way I approach this is to mix them with a task he really likes and excels at. For him that is anything language related like reading or spelling. There are way fancier tutorials out there but I am a busy mom so I needed to make this activity quickly . It’s bare bones but it works.
- Gather your materials. You will need bolts, nuts and a sharpie. A fine tip one would be best but mine was dried out and I’d already told my son we were doing a project so I used my huge one. Also my nuts and bolts are matte not glossy which makes the sharpie stay on better. Please test yours out to make sure it adheres before playing.
- Write out simple CVC ( consonant vowel consonant) words on the end of the bolt. We did cat, rug, tub, top, jar and bug. This could easily be adapted for younger children by writing uppercase letters on the bolt and matching lowercase ones on the bolts.
- Write the letters on the bolt. You can chose to only use a handful of bolts and make your child take them off one bolt to use on another word or make multiple copies of the same letter on different nuts. I decided only one copy of each letter because I was trying my hardest to get my son to work his fingers putting the nuts on and off.
- Invite your word builder and go for it. The first thing he said to me was ‘ How about we do this together. I will do the spelling, find the letters and you can screw them on. ” Nice try buddy. No. Don’t forget to put the letters on right side up. You must pay attention to which way they are on or your bug will look like bng … my son had to unscrew , flip it and screw it back on.
- Soon he had the hang of it and I felt good knowing he was working on his fine motor skills. He told me the words were too easy so I am going to get longer bolts and give him a bigger challenge soon.
After he was done his sister decided she wanted to try. This was really tricky ( near impossible) for her which means you will see some preschool fine motor posts in the near future! If you want to see more check this round up of fine motor activities out.