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Make Spelling Mats for Word Work

Make Spelling Mats for Word Work

Did you know that you can make your own word building mats in a few simple steps using materials you already have? It’s so simple, you can do it today. Word mats are a great way to to work on spelling patterns, learning new words, or even learning to spell sight words. For young children, these DIY spelling mats are an easy way for them to see that letters make words and each letter has a sound.


spelling mats


  • paper
  • marker
  • letter magnets

In this word building activity, we were working on simple cvc words. However, you can apply this idea to your own words or a spelling list that you are practicing. It’s an easy way to encourage spelling practice of word lists. It is great for literacy centers too!


  1. On each paper trace a 3 letter word (sun, cat, bed, map, sad, dog).
  2. Use magnetic letters to trace the word. We used lowercase letters, but you can also use uppercase letters.
  3. Draw a picture of the word above it. If you aren’t confident in your drawing skills, you can print out a picture or cut them from magazines and glue them onto the card.
  4. Laminate mats for durability.
  5. Sort out only the letters needed to spell all of the words and put them in a pile.


After B puts the letters on the mat, he sounds them out. /d/ /o/ /g/, dog! And then of course there is a lot of clapping and cheering. He feels so proud of himself that he is spelling and reading. And just a side note, he didn’t notice at all how terrible my drawings were. We been using this same set for a few weeks and I think in a couple of weeks I’ll make another set of different words.

Use this activity as a busy bag by clipping all of the mats together on a binder ring and adding a zippered pouch with the letters stored in it. Then, children can work on building words on the go, while waiting for appointments, or during quiet time.

This same technique is a fun way to make name puzzles for the students in your class or family members in your home.


More Meaningful Spelling Activities



Bottle Top Spelling Activity – Write letters on bottle tops. Trace the bottle tops on a piece of paper in a row. Write the letters inside each circle to match the bottle tops to. 

Spell words on the wall with a flashlight. 

Push letter stamps or magnetic letters into play dough for spelling work. After you spell a word, crumple the play dough into a ball and then flatten it out again to spell a new word. 

Write a word on a craft stick. Then, write the individual letters onto clothes pins. Clip each letter to the craft stick to spell the word. This is a great activity for fine motor skills too.



Spell words with water. This is a fun way to get outside and build words. 

Thread alphabet beads onto pipe cleaners to spell words.

Write words in shaving cream. Spread shaving cream on a tray. Children can use their finger, a craft stick, or the end of a pencil to write a word in shaving cream.



Build words with pipe cleaners. This is a great hands on way to make letters and words. 

Use letter stickers to spell words. Using the stickers is a fun way to practice spelling words. 

Write letters on unifix cubes. Connect the cubes to build words.

This Reading Mama offers free printable welded sound spelling mats. These letter tile spelling mats include ing, ong, ung, and ink, onk, unk.



Saturday 25th of February 2012

I do something similar to this with my students but I place the paper on a cookie sheet so the stick.

Becky @ Our Sweet Peas

Monday 26th of October 2009

Love it and will have to give it a try. Need to get magnet letters. :)


Saturday 24th of October 2009

I gave your blog an award! :) :) Ami


Saturday 24th of October 2009

Fantastic idea! I would love to find some more uses for those magnetic letters that I find ALL over my house. :) I saw your question about the bilingual schools. I am looking for a couple of good articles that I have that would give you some good info. As soon as I find them, I will send you the links.

Nicole {tired, need sleep}

Friday 23rd of October 2009

Great idea! We have the Doug and Melissa See and Spell set, but M totally loves the bottle cap names I've made for him so much more. I bet he'd love it if I made some of these and let him be involved with picking the words to make!