Using Magna-Tiles® to Teach Spelling

One of the foundations of literacy, spelling helps children recognize the letters and sounds needed to develop reading skills. It also encourages recognition of sight words, which are the words kids see most often as they begin reading with others and independently. If you’re searching for ways to make spelling activities more engaging, Magna-Tiles® magnetic toy blocks can help turn everyday practice into a colorful, hands-on lesson at home or in the classroom.

Focus on Phonograms

Using phonograms, or the most common combinations of vowels or consonants, can help children master spelling and sound out words easily as they build vocabularies. To create phonogram flashcards, simply grab a handful of Magna-Tiles® magnetic shapes and a dry-erase or chalk marker. You’ll need at least four colors to create the following:

  • Consonant phonograms (i.e. ch, ng, wh, and other consonant blends)
  • Vowel phonograms (i.e. ou, ae, ie, and other vowel blends)
  • Individual consonants
  • Individual vowels

Demonstrate how each phonogram sounds, and ask children to repeat it. As they master the sounds, provide simple words for them to create with the phonogram, vowel, and consonant tiles. You can explain how all the letters work together to build a word as they play.

Making Words

Making words is a timeless spelling activity and one that can easily be adapted for hands-on learning. These activities offer children a selection of letters out of which they can create words, whether they’re building the week’s spelling list or working within a theme like sight words, colors, animals, and more.

For a simple making words spelling activity, spell out a primary word with Magna-Tiles® magnetic toy blocks. It should be long enough that the letters can be recombined to make multiple smaller words. Ask children to create as many words as they can from the primary word. You can review the shared sounds that make up these words and emphasize how different letters and blends make different sounds.

As a fun variation, add letters to a variety of magnetic tiles and place them in a bag. Ask kids to grab a handful of tiles and arrange them in as many words as possible.

Spelling Road Map

This spelling road map activity combines the fun of toy cars with literacy skills, making for a lesson kids are sure to enjoy. To set it up, you’ll need a variety of our magnetic shapes marked with letters, plus a toy vehicle. You can complete this activity at a table, on the playroom floor, or even outside during nice weather. To get started:

  • Tell a simple story about a character’s job: they must collect a list of items and deliver them to a recipient. The items should include simple terms that fit your child’s spelling proficiency level.
  • Ask your child to recount the items needed and make a list together.
  • Establish a starting point and endpoint.
  • Challenge your child to build a track between points with letters that spell out the items to be collected.
  • Once complete, ask them to run a toy car over the track, sounding out words as it drives to pick them up.

For even more fun, kids can use the Magna-Tiles® Cars 2-Piece Expansion Set to build their own imaginative vehicle.

Explore Spelling with Magna-Tiles®

Hands-on learning is a great way to reinforce key concepts and encourage retention. With Magna-Tiles® magnetic toy blocks, you can create spelling activities that will keep kids interested and build the foundation necessary for successful reading. Need more ideas for hands-on learning? Check out our activity downloads and lesson plans for teaching literacy concepts, STEM, colors, numbers, and more.