Third grade spelling can be boring, but you can make it fun to learn! I have listed some fun hands on and nonconventional ways to practice spelling. Enjoy and I hope these help!
1. Chalk. Spelling is much more fun when you can write your words on a kid size chalkboard or out on your driveway. Rain washes away the words if written outside. Different color chalks can be fun too!
2. Whip Cream and a cookie sheet. This idea is not for a child who has a milk allergy, however if your child can touch or eat milk products then this is loads of fun and also great for learning math facts, too! Take a little whip cream and place it on a cookie chart. Have your child practice their spelling words by writing them in whip cream! Easy to clean and more importantly helps with recall of words.
3. Colored pencils and markers. There are so many fun markers on the market these days that writing spelling words is much more fun if completed with swirl pencils or scented markers for kids!
4. Record the child spelling out loud. Your child can recite the words aloud and then play them back if you have a tape recorder or computer/ phone with recording functions.
5. Have your child play teacher! This is your child's chance to play the teacher and you become the student (or a friend/sibling). This technique helps the child learn by teaching. Very effective way to study for not only spelling but many other subjects. Constructing tests and study materials (like "playing school") also is very good for the student who struggles with a subject or is not motivated to work at home.
6. Learn the sign language alphabet and have the child spell words while signing them! This hands on and multi-modal technique is fun, educational and requires a child to attend to their fine motor skills. For more benefit, have them practice in a mirror.
I've recommended the SpellingCity website to parents of my kids and have used it in the classroom. The kids plug in their spelling words list. Then they can choose from many different kinds of games to help them learn the words. The kids love it.
Another site from the Dept of Education in Tasmania, Australia, has lots of excellent strategies to help kids learn to spell. You should try several different kinds of strategies to see what works best for your third grader:
Rotate and change the activities in studying the word. Some fun activities you can try are the following:
1. Choose a word. With their index finder, students spell the word in the air and say the letters aloud. Tell students they must be able to "see" the letters as they are written in the air.
2. When the students get to the last letter, they underline the whole word as they say the word aloud. Ask them if they can "see" the word in the air.
3. After their response, ask these type of questions:
--What is the third letter? --What is the last letter? --What is the second letter?
4. Then, have the students spell the word backwards orally (and with their index finger if they need to). Remind students that the word should be floating in the air in front of them and that they must continue to look at it throughout the activity.
Write the words as if they are stairs, adding one letter each time.
Student writes a word with his/her pencil. Then traces around the outside with a crayon, hugging the same but not touching the letters. Student can then pick two other crayons to continue tracing outward!
How you play:
You play with at least 2 people, but preferably more. Someone who is not playing (the teacher) says a spelling word- for example, "ice." The first person says the first letter- "i." The next person says the next letter- "c." So on, and so forth until the entire word is spelled correctly. Then, the next person says the spelling word out loud- "ice." Then next person says, "Sparkle," and the next person is OUT of the game.
If anyone says the wrong letter, they are automatically out, and the next person must continue correctly. My kids receive prizes for winning, and they beg to play during their breaks and even lunch! They absolutely love it.
Try to put the words in a kind of order. If they are not in word families like bake, cake, rake - then put then in order from shortest word to longest word. Put the easiest words first. Do three or four words a day.
Also helpful is to use real letters - from a wooden alphabet puzzle or a cardboard puzzle. When your son spells the words back to you have him do it with the puzzle letters. Show him the word in the puzzle letters first and then mix them up a bit and ask him to spell the word with the letters.
Since reading and spelling are largely related, and since 3rd graders are often interested in a variety of subjects, one tip is to get them to start reading on a topic they enjoy (and make spelling games out of the words they pick up). This will get them into the habit of reading and becoming a better overall speller.