10 of our favorite writing and spelling games/ activities

My boys HATE to write.

If I ask them to write a story they ask if they can write a sentence or two.  If I ask them to write a sentence or two they'll ask if they can just write a few words.  If I ask them to write a few words they ask to write just one word or a few letters....  they really hate to write.

It's always a challenge for me to get them to practice writing, spelling and story telling (we've yet to get around to writing actual stories!).

But in looking back over our past year I have found a few activities and games that really stuck out as being somewhat fun and did not elicit any complaining (or minimal anyway!). 

1.  Writing with unusual mediums--  Writing in the sand with a stick, writing on the table in a pile of shaving cream, filling gallon size Ziploc bags with hair gel and writing in that.  If I could find a creative medium for them to write with then they were willing to give me a good 10 minutes of work because they found it FUN!

2.  Playing games-- Scrabble, Spill and SpellSight Word Bingo, Boggle and Mad Libs are games that we play pretty frequently around here.  I'm not always the one suggesting these games either.  The boys enjoy playing real games (as opposed to the ones I print off the computer!). 

3.  Short and Sweet-- when I set the timer and the boys know they only have to write for 5 or 10 minutes they tend to write pretty fast and without complaint.  They know the activity will end soon and when I let them use white boards they know this isn't something we'll keep forever.  It's a no- pressure way to write.  If they don't like what they're writing they can erase it all and start over as many times as they need to. 

4.  Writing for a reason-- when we participate in our local movie theatre's Bookworm Wednesday's for free movies in the summer they gladly write.  They loved writing letters to their grandparents when they used to live far away.  This isn't just writing for the sake of writing but to get a point across or share ideas.  It has more meaning for them and they're willing to put in the work. 

5. Unusual writing ideas-- My boys loved writing (and making) their own cereal recipes, their own "nature potion" and I think knowing that they were going to put their writing into action really helped in motivating them. 

6.  Oral story telling-- my kids love to tell stories!  They really do but most of the time the stories just go on and on and on.  We have sat round robin with Lego pieces adding one sentence at a time to a story as we add one random piece at a time to our creation.  We have watched cloud shapes in the sky and told stories about them to one another. 

7.  Incite to Write-- we're only on our third lesson in this free series for parents, but so far my kids have enjoyed the Incite to Write Lessons.  Lesson one was all about brainstorming and asking questions.  Lesson two incorporated art by having the kids ask questions to draw a picture. 

8.  Secret message writing--- we had a few lessons where we wrote in secret.  They wrote with invisible ink (lemon juice), they wrote using a code that the other people in the house had to decode-- anytime they get to act like spies it's a huge hit!

9.  Using a favorite story as a jumping off point-- my boys will often make up alternate endings to their favorite stories or turn a favorite story into a "new" story.  Alec has envisioned what would happen if the authors of Diary of a Worm and Diary of a Wimpy Kid combined their writing to make Diary of a Worm into a chapter book.  He had many, many ideas for the story lines, character names and basically started dictating a whole chapter out loud to me.  They have all had a hand in writing a new Pigeon book.  They love the series by Mo Willems and all wrote up their own The Pigeon wants a ______ or Don't let the Pigeon Drive the _____.  It's a great way to get them excited about story telling since they're already excited about the stories. 

10.  Electronic devices-- I usually only grudgingly allow electronic devices in my house since I feel like my kids live and breath anything having to do with a screen, but on occasion I do think they come in handy.  I have a drawing App on my Kindle that I've used to practice writing and recognizing letters on with Evan and the older boys have used to practice cursive letters.  They use Apps like Word Monkey to practice sight words and reading, as well as computer games like Starfall, Word World, grammar ninja, etc. 

What are some fun ways you get your kids to practice writing and spelling?


  1. Any way we can make routine learning into fun is so great!

    1. I am finding it so much harder to do as my boys get older! But I keep trying.

  2. Thanks for sharing at What to Read Wednesday!

  3. ...spelling is a difficult thing for me!

    1. Me too! I tell my boys all the time that I could not blog if it weren't for spell check!


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