Spelling can be laborious!

For some people an ability to spell correctly seems to be instinctive. For others spelling seems to be an uphill struggle.

We can all try and encourage our children to find a love for books and reading but for some parents you might as well just bang your head against a brick wall!


There are other ways to help your child’s confidence boost when it comes to spelling and that’s through playing spelling games with them.


In the following lines / video I will show you 3 of my favourite games that I use as a tutor to help children improve their spellings.

Before we get onto that though, I’d like to quickly explain how games can be so important when it comes to helping your child learn.


Firstly, when we need to retain some information there will inevitably be a certain amount of repetition involved. This can be boring, and a lot of children will lose interest at this point.

However, if you are able to make the learning activities enjoyable the child will be less resistant. The less resistant the child is, the more susceptible they will be to taking on and retaining new information.


The other benefit of playing games is that through playing a range of games we create a wider variety of memories. That means that when we need to recall the information, our brain has more places to find it. This makes it more likely that we will get the spelling that we need correct.


These 3 games range from taking no preparation, from costing nothing more than a piece of paper and a pen/ pencil to purchasing a truly addictive word game.


I hope they inspire you, I’d love to hear your comments below or for you to share it with a friend if you think they would benefit from the ideas.

This can be played in a few ways depending on the age/ability of your child and the words that you are focusing on.


The first method is to create two sets of cards.


The first set of cards will clearly have the word displayed. For this version it will probably be a noun (person, place or thing).


The second set of cards will have images of the words used in set one.


Lay all the cards face down on the table.


Then take it in turns to pick up two cards. If they are a corresponding picture and word, keep the pair and have another go.


If they don’t match, place them back down and the other person has a turn.


It is the person with the most pairs at the end of the game that is considered the winner.


The other version of the game involves writing the words out in fairly big text.


Then cut each word in half.


These will be your playing cards.


Place each of these “cards” face down on the table.


The first person will turn over 2 cards. If they choose a corresponding beginning and end to a word, they win the pair. They then have another go.


If the 2 parts of the word don’t belong together, lay them back on the table and the other person has a go.


Once again, the person with the most pairs at the end is the winner.

Rummikub Word


This game is addictive. I was first introduced to Rummikub by my daughter a couple of years ago as a suggestion to take on holiday. By the time we came home I was 100% hooked.


I then discovered the game “Rummikub Word” which is equally addictive!


I can’t show you a picture of the one I own personally as it is so bashed and battered from the amount of use it gets.


The purpose of the game is to create words out of the 14 letters you choose at random. The winner is the first person to use all of their counters. You can manipulate the other persons words by adding or subtracting letters from it to create new words.


This game also seems to be seriously enjoyed by dyslexic learners. The ability to physically move the letters around to create new words seems to make the creation of words considerably easier than when they are fixed to a piece of paper. (I have found many times over the years with various games the ability to move the letters makes spelling words significantly easier).


If you have the ability to buy a game that will support your child with both spelling and vocabulary, I strongly suggest you make it this one.



I hope I have saved the best until last. You each have two boards with 1-9 across the bottom and a-I up the side. Place the words in the grid, one letter in each square and again, the words must go in a straight line.

Then, taking it in turns, choose a co-ordinate to try and find where the other person has placed their words.

The first person to find all the other persons words wins.

I’ve saved my best to last. I love this game!


Fortunately, the ability to draw well is not a priority. Nothing more than a stick person is really necessary though if you can go slightly beyond that it will help.
In the video I will explain to you how to make the game.

How to play funny pictures to help with spellings

The purpose behind Funny Pictures

Once you have drawn your image and stuck it on to a piece of paper you need to think of as many words as you can to describe him.

So, for example for the image above I might state:

Long neck,
Round body,
Stick arms
Knobbly knees, etc
Spiky hair, etc


For older children or more capable children you may make it more challenging.

You can do this by writing the letters A to Z down the side of the picture.

The aim is then to think of a word starting with each letter of the alphabet to describe the funny picture.

In this instance you might go:
Angular nose
Big feet
Curved body
Delightfully big eyes


In order to achieve all the letters, the level of the vocabulary you use, really has to go up a level. It will stretch your abilities to think of various adjectives and stretch your vocabulary.


I’ve put together a great course demonstrating 6 more of my favourite games that support spellings including which witch, lily pads and my own take on battleships.


You will be able to download an updated version of the book I had published a couple of years ago.


The e-book goes into far more depth of the importance of using a range of learning styles, the need to reinforce your child’s learning with praise and how we all learn differently.


If you have any questions or comments, please do drop them below or email me at [email protected] and I will do my best to help

There are several reasons why it is beneficial to present your child’s spellings as games:

If it is fun, hopefully your child will be more receptive to taking part.

Each time you play a different game, you are creating a different memory. The wider range of memories you have the more likely it is that you will be able to recall the relevant information when it is needed.

We all have different learning styles; visual, audio or kinaesthetic or a combination of 2 or more. Again, the more variety of games we play, the more likely you are to cater towards the learning style of that particular child, again helping them to recall the information when required.

This is the philosophy upon which I have built my company Clara James Tutoring Ltd.

If you are interested in more ideas on creating a relaxed environment when working with your child, why not sign up to my blog?

I hope you have found these ideas useful, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear about your own experiences as well by leaving your comments in the comments box.

Thank you in advance.

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends.


I set Clara James Tutoring Ltd up in 2012 and we have gone from strength to strength during that time. My background was predominately working in early years and special needs. Particularly with dyslexic children where a varied, interactive approach to learning is highly regarded.


My opinion was, why couldn’t you use the benefits of this style of learning with everyone. If you are relaxed, you are more susceptible to learning and retaining the information, rather than in a tense situation where you are feeling on edge, and often too nervous to remember what you are being told.

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