Sensory-Based Activities for Spelling

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As you approach the end of your instructional year, it’s time to pull out all the stops. It's a great time to reinforce the skills your students have learned throughout the year. Here are several cool ways to have some spelling fun:



Idea #1: Let Your Fingers Do the Learning

Tactile learners need extra stimulus through their sense of touch. No doubt, you have one or two in your bunch who learn best through touch. You can tap into their strengths by using shaving cream spread thinly on a large, solid, flat surface. Students can practice spelling basic phonemes in the shaving cream by drawing the letter symbols with their fingers in the thin shaving cream covering on the work surface. Sometimes, your kids may exhibit fine motor or gross motor issues—for instance, in their handwriting.


Idea #2: Piping Sounds and Words

Finally, for a completely edible and delicious way to review spelling strategies or phonics concepts, melt some chocolate chips and add a bit of paraffin wax to the mixture. Scoop some chocolate into plastic decorator bags or zip-lock baggies with a small hole cut out of one of the bottom corners. Announce a group of phonemes you want to review, or whole words to spell, and challenge the kids to “squeeze” out chocolate sounds and words onto wax paper. Refrigerate them after the review and enjoy eating them for a tasty and positive morsel of reinforcement!

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By giving your students multiple sensory experiences with various mediums, such as shaving cream, you can review skills in a fun way and also help ease some of their frustration. Don't limit this activity to just sounds; you can have students spell out entire words, too. You can also turn this into a small-group activity and let students take turns.


Supplies Needed:

Shaving cream (foam, not gel)

Chocolate chips

Paraffin wax (the kind used in home canning)

Decorator bags or zip-lock baggies


You can always change-up the sensory activity by utilizing other materials. For example, consider using colored art sand or colored dusting sugar on a large, flat surface. Letting their fingers do the learning and the reviewing can stay with them for a lifetime if you play it up right.

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David Lutz

David, a former classroom teacher, administrator, and self-proclaimed grammar nut, considers the oddities of English vocabulary and grammar his playthings! He received his degrees in elementary education, teaching, and curriculum design from CMU in Fayette, MO, and the University of St. Mary, Leavenworth, KS, respectively. His career has been a colorful collage of experiences in education, ranging from Kindergarten to Adult education and parenting classes.


He and his wife, Marjorie, have been blessed with 30 years of marriage, three grown sons, a cherished daughter-in-law, and the smartest, cutest grandson on the planet! He’s worked for Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc., for over 11 years and loves to help students and their teachers learn to love language and language learning as much as he does.