For parents who want their toddlers and young children to get an early start on reading and writing, spelling games are a great place to start. With an enhanced vocabulary, toddlers can improve their communication skills and advance in school. The games below are great for developing your child’s ability to recognize different letters, introducing sight words and building confidence in reading skills.
Designed for children ages 3 and older, this game provides hours of fun as kids learn to match short words to a picture card. With the Matching Letter game, kids can learn how to spell and memorize while using advanced hand-eye coordination. Children will have fun learning with flashcards and cubes that include a large font and colorful images. The game is designed to be played by at least two people, and children and adults are encouraged to play together. The package includes 30 picture cards and 60 word cards with three- and four-letter words. Three reading levels are included, which allows children to continue playing as they advance their spelling skills.
My First Bananagrams is a miniature version of the classic game in which players use letter tiles to spell out words to win. This version offers a step-by-step progression toward the full game and is designed to help toddlers learn how to spell and recognize different letters and letter combinations (such as “sh” and “oo”). The game has won multiple awards in recent years and stands out for the green, banana-shaped case that carries the game pieces. The colorful tiles are eye-catching for kids, who can begin to develop word recognition skills through sensory play while having hours offun. The tiles are thick and durable to ensure long-term use.
This game allows children to build upon their spelling and reading skills by putting together a small jigsaw puzzle that spells out a word. Each piece of the puzzle has one letter and part of the picture, so when kids put the pieces together, they’ll form one word and a complete image, helping them associate words with pictures. The puzzles are constructed from thick, durable materials that won’t bend easily when handled by toddlers. The large size of the pieces makes them easy for young kids to put together. The set includes words such as “cow,” “shoe,” “sock,” “ring” and “frog.” The images are easy to recognize and allow children to guess the word before learning how to spell it. Separating the different puzzle pieces can make the game more of a challenge for children with more advanced spelling abilities.
Children who play with these magnets can build their vocabulary and improve their spelling skills with a product that is both versatile and fun. The games are designed by parents and teachers to encourage kids to have fun using 90 lowercase letters and 52 uppercase letters. The set includes a lightweight, double-sided whiteboard that also works with dry-erase markers. All of the letters are easy for little hands to grip, which helps develop fine-motor skills, and they can be used on the refrigerator or any other magnetic surface.
This game is ideal for children ages 3 to 6. The blocks are attached together and twist to create a total of 80 three-letter words (all of which appear in the dictionary), providing sight word recognition and self-corrected learning. The blocks use the Montessori approach, which focuses on self-directed and hands-on learning, to help children strengthen early reading skills. All of the blocks are eco-friendly and handmade in the USA. Kids will also enjoy stacking the blocks and learning the sounds each letter makes. The blocks feature blue consonants and red vowels in an easy-to-grip size.
“Having taught preschool-aged children and kindergarten, I am deeply sensitive to the challenges of engaging our young pre-readers,” Emily Lehman says. “Matching games, rhyming games and magnet sets are some of the more effective tools for engaging children in pre-reading. I am fond of Bananagrams, although the child must be familiar with lowercase letters to play. Bananagrams is a fun way for children to engage, leveraging a multisensory approach to learning.”
Our Expert Consultant
Emily Lehman is a licensed teacher, nonprofit youth coordinator and mother of two young girls. Emily understands how to make learning fun and is a pro at engaging children in the classroom. She also learns constantly in her own experience raising children. When she isn’t teaching or raising her daughters, she is taking care of her horses and family farm.