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Help Your Child Spell Better With These Spelling Games & Activities

By Elizabeth Wistrom

Are you looking for a way to help your child with their spelling homework? Try some spelling games and activities designed specifically to be used at home. Help your child attend to the spelling pattern-rhyme relationship, and learn how to spell a multitude of words!

Make learning fun with elementary spelling games. Activities suggested below can be used to practice weekly spelling lists, or for spelling enrichment. By focusing on the pattern-rhyme relationship, these games will help your child learn how to spell a variety of related words.


Provide a pack of word cards which contains pairs of words with similar structures. The words used may be generated from your child's school spelling list paired with words that rhyme, or you may prefer to use a list of words generated from a specific spelling pattern (like words with ea, bl, th and so forth.)

Place all of the cards fact down and have your child take turns turning over two cards. If the cards match (have the same pattern, rhyme, make a compound word etc.) then s/he should identify the commonality. If this is done correctly, s/he gets to keep the pair. If the cards are not pairs, or your child is unable to identify how they are similar, then the cards are turned over again. The play continues until all of the pairs have been found.

As with each of the spelling activities listed, Concentration may be played with more than one child. In one version of the game, the children could be competing for the same set of cards - in which case, the one with the most pairs wins. Or, for a variation, you could have two or more children with a different set of spelling lists/patterns they are looking for. If they turn over a pair, and it is not one of the structures they are specifically working on (in other words, it is from another child's list) they have to flip the cards back and their turn is over. This is a great way to help several children practice their spelling lists at one time!

Sort Words According to Length or Spelling Pattern

Create word cards for elementary spelling games using your child's spelling list, a list of words generated at random, or even a list of words taken from a specific text.

Have your child then sort the words according to how many letters there are in the word. Once all of the words in the spelling game have been sorted, he or she can then count and record (with both numbers and by writing the words under each category) how many words are in each pile. Then, mix the words up again and have your child sort the words according to specific spelling patterns, beginning letters, ending letters, certain letters and so forth. Continue to count and record results. Spend some time comparing and contrasting the recorded lists to see which words had traits in common and why.

Hink Pink / Hinky Pinkies

Hink Pinks are one-syllable words that rhyme, while Hinky Pinkies are two-syllable words that rhyme. Children love to illustrate them. They also enjoy making and solving riddles with them. Hink Pink activities give children a real purpose for identifying and manipulating rhyming words. Some examples of Hink/Pink and Hinky/Pinkies are:

car bar

boat moat

bat hat

fair bear

silly Billy

fatter batter

jiggy piggy

Work together with your child to generate a list of Hink/Pinks (or Hinky Pinkies). You can either use their school spelling list as a start, and then identify rhyming words to create a pair, or simply have some fun thinking of rhyming words. Next, fold a piece of paper in half and write one word of the pair on each side.

Give your younger child some time to illustrate each of the words. When they are done, unfold the paper and giggle together at the paired pictures.

For older children, give them the challenge of creating riddles using the pairs. For instance:

What would you call a baseball player who has had too many cookies? A fatter batter!

Or, if you have a child who enjoys solving riddles...make them up yourself! Then, challenge your child to not only find the solution, but spell it correctly. Tell your child to think back to their spelling list for clues. Of course, they can't peek!

Your child will surely enjoy practicing skills with these spelling games! Activities like the ones described above not only teaches your child how to spell a variety of words that use similar sounds or also keeps homework fun!

Do you have other suggestions for spelling practice at home? If so be sure to visit the comments section below.