If you’re looking for new ways to help kids practice their spelling lists beyond quizzing them over and over, try some of these activities that let kids experience the words in many different contexts. They can really help the spelling words sink in, and can also be a lot more fun for the kids!
You can buy some pre-made packets that include letter tracing and word search puzzles on Teachers Pay Teachers using the spelling lists created by k12reader.com, or you can make your own spelling practice activities using your own spelling words. Below are 5 activities available on The Trip Clip website that let you make fun spelling practice activities. For each of these you’ll want to have your own list of spelling words ready in a text file, with one word on each line. Note that you will need to purchase each of these activities in order to print the pages you create. If you are a certified teacher, I offer a teacher discount!
1. Letter Tracing
Most teachers like to have kids practice writing their spelling words a few times to help them learn the new words. I recommend creating letter tracing sheets to make sure the kids write the words correctly. Both of my kids tended to race through this exercise and would sometimes spell it wrong on the practice sheet, causing them to have to unlearn it before learning it! Creating traceable spelling lists is easy with The Trip Clip:
- Go to the letter tracing activity
- Make sure the ‘Write Your Own Words’ radio button is selected on the left
- Copy your word list for the week into text edit box
- Click Show Preview
- Click PRINT TRACING
You can change the size of the letters using the radio buttons on the left. Younger kids will need pretty big letters, but older kids can handle smaller letters.
For most words, students should have room to trace the word once, and then write it on their own once.
2. Word Search Puzzles
Word search puzzles are a great way to help kids internalize how a words is spelled by searching for the letters in the correct order in the puzzle. You can create word search puzzles as simple as 5×5 grids all the way up 20×20 grids, which should handle lists of up to 20 spelling words.
The Trip Clip already has built in spelling lists available for the word search activity. Just scroll down to select the grade level you want, and you’ll see 36 weeks of spelling word lists ready to automatically create an unlimited number of word search puzzles.
If you want to make word search puzzles using the spelling words of your choice, just follow these steps:
- Go to the word search activity
- Click the ‘Make a word search’ radio button
- Insert your spelling word list into the text edit box
- On the left, select your difficulty and size. In general, you’ll want to use these settings:
- 1st Grade: Easy 9×9
- 2nd Grade: Medium 11×11
- 3rd Grade: Hard 15×15
- 4th Grade: Hard 20×20
- 5th Grade: Hard 20×20
- Click Add
- Make sure that all of your words are showing up at the key at the bottom of your puzzle. If a word is missing, click Add again and a new puzzle will be generated. Click Add until a puzzle is generated that includes your entire word list, or increase the grid size of your puzzle if needed.
- Click PRINT WORDSEARCH
BINGO is a fun game to play with kids, especially in a classroom, to help them engage with their spelling words for the week. Here is how you can create your own set of BINGO boards for spelling practice:
- Go to the BINGO activity
- Select ‘Custom’ in the radio buttons on the left. You may need to use the menu button in the top right of the preview area to select ‘Add new bingo’ if you already have a custom bingo board started.
- Click ‘REMOVE ALL’ start with an empty bingo board
- Click the title at the top of the board to rename it to anything you like
- In the center of the page, check the checkbox to ‘Enter text only items’
- Paste your word list in to the text edit box. You’ll want 24 words, with the middle word being ‘FREE’.
- Click Add
- Click PRINT BINGO
If you’re a teacher making this activity for an entire class, click ADD TO PRINT QUEUE instead of PRINT BINGO, and then use the ‘Shuffle this board’ link to get a new layout of the words. You can add as many different bingo boards as you want to your print queue to create enough for each student in your class. Laminating the bingo boards will make them last for future years as well!
4. Cryptogram Puzzles
Cryptogram puzzles are another fun way to help the spelling words sink in for the kids. You can create a custom puzzle at any difficulty you think is right. The kids can decode the secret message and spend a little more time examining how the letters all fit together for the week’s spelling words.
Here’s how to create your own cryptogram puzzle spelling practice:
- Go to the Secret Message activity
- For younger kids, try the ‘Beginner’ difficulty level on the left. For older kids, you can try one of the harder settings!
- Click the radio button labeled ‘Enter my own secret message’.
- In the ‘Question’ box, enter “Spelling Words” or whatever you want to call it!
- In the ‘Message to be Encrypted’ box, paste in the week’s spelling words, separating each word by a space or a comma.
- Click ‘Refresh Secret Message Puzzle’
- Click ‘PRINT SECRET MESSAGE’
Hangman is also a great way to practice spelling words. You can write your own sentences using the spelling words for the week and have the kids pair up to take turns using your sentences, or you can ask them to come up with their own sentences to play with a partner.
Using this activity is easy – you just need to print it! Click here to go to the Hangman activity.
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