How to study, learn and teach spelling words

Practicing spelling words each night can be boring. What eight-year-old gets excited about writing each word three times or listing them in alphabetical order? Here are a few creative alternative activities to spice up spelling to help your child study and learn spelling words.

study for spelling test

Create a word search

Print out a sheet of grid paper and place the words strategically inside, then fill the empty boxes with random letters. Have your child find the words. Alternatively, have your child create the word search for you, or do both so you can swap and solve. Discovery Education’s Puzzlemaker offers an electronic option to create the word searches.

Tactile learning

Many children learn by touching, so learning by creating letters with fingers is a fun way to practice spelling words. Spread shaving cream, pudding, or ketchup on a cookie sheet or other flat surface, then have your child write the words with his fingers.

Take a shower

You know how we do our best thinking in the shower? So will your child! Spread shaving cream on the wall, or just use the steam as it builds up on the walls as a surface for practicing.

Write a story

Rather than writing sentences that stand alone, use the words to create a story. This will get the child thinking more about the words and their meaning, while still practicing how to spell them.

Ransom words

Search through catalogs and magazines for the letters in the words. Cut them out and glue them onto a paper that to create the word list.

Go outside!

Who’s to say kids have to practice spelling inside? Have your child write words in chalk on the driveway, with a hose sprayer, in mud or sand. Or use clay or playdoh to create the words.

Be a cheerleader!

Finally! It’s okay to yell and jump! Have your child shout the letters of his words as loud as he can while jumping up and down or doing gymnastics.


Ask your child to write his words with dominant hand. Then have him write the list again with the opposite hand he usually writes with.

Secret Agent Words

Create a secret code using letters, numbers or symbols to represent the alphabet and write your words using those symbols.

Online games

Vocabulary Spelling City allows kids to enter spelling words into it’s system and access more than 10 games like Match It, Hang Mouse and Unscramble for free, all using his spelling words. A premium membership offers 11 more activities for just $24.99 for a one-year family membership.

Magnetic Letters

Your child can use magnetic letters to form his words on the refrigerator or a cookie sheet. You can purchase Magnetic Learning Letters – Lowercaseor make your own.



mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel ( and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2011, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.


  1. Cara says

    Great list! My students also love VocabularySpellingCity. The games work perfectly on our interactive whiteboard. I love the site because I can create my own lists based on my reading series, or we can use one of their many precreated lists. The Teacher Resources tab is a great place to get started. There you will find math vocabulary, science vocabulary, compound words, analogies, etc. Also, I can give my weekly tests online, so easy differentiation and no grading!


    • says

      Oh, how I loved using a Smartboard. I was in the classroom when Smartboards were so new to schools that we wrote grants and had the first ones in the district. We had one and a sign out sheet for our whole building. A few of us were SmartBoard-hogs!

      Thanks for visiting, Cara!

  2. Julie says

    I will try some of the ideas here. I already tried some with my tutee. However, still it doesn’t register. I guess I will just have to encourage him more to spell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge