By Chrysta Naron
As summer begins to wind down, all I can think is, “I want s’more!” S’more fun, s’more sunshine, s’more time by a campfire, and definitely s’more of the delectable dessert of the season itself. In that spirit, and to keep up the summer learning, we’re going to create a fun s’mores spelling game that teaches tricky consonant blends. This activity will evoke the fun of toasting marshmallows, but with a lot less gooey mess. (Or for an extra-gooey edible option, see the end of the post!)
This activity helps children with spelling, specifically when working with words that have consonant blends. A consonant blend is when two consonants are next to each other in a word, such as in the word flip. When children begin to spell these words, it’s often hard for them to hear the second consonant in the blend. Building these words into “s’mores” in this spelling game helps kids slow down the word and listen for each letter. This reinforces what we call phonemic awareness (a super important early literacy skill), as well as teaching how to spell new words!
- White paper
- Dark brown paper
- S is for S’mores by Helen Foster James, or another camping-themed book (optional)
Cost: Free, if you have these simple supplies at home! If you need construction paper, it will be around $7.
Start with Story Time: We love to pair literacy activities with a good read-aloud. Kick off your s’mores spelling activity by sharing a picture book to get in the camping spirit. Some of my favorites are S is for S’mores, CeCe Loves Science and Adventure, and Curious George Goes Camping. You could even set up a tent or a nest of sleeping bags to read in, or read by a pretend fire outside, if you really want to set the mood! As you read, point out any words you encounter that have consonant blends, and help your child sound them out.
Step 1: Prepare a list of five words that start with consonant blends that you’ll be helping your child spell during the activity. Some great choices are trip, plug, frog, crab, and drum.
Alternatively, you can also adapt this activity to work for words that end with consonant blends, such as belt, tilt or band, or words that end in double letters, such as pass or buzz.
Step 2: Cut the cardboard into 10 squares. These will be your graham crackers.
Step 3: On your cardboard graham crackers, write the consonants that begin or end your target words. Remember: Graham crackers start and finish a s’more! This is a good time to refer to your list in order to keep your letters organized. For example, if you choose the word frog, make sure to write F on one square and G on another.
Step 4: Cut the dark brown paper into five squares that are approximately the same size as the cardboard. This is your chocolate.
Step 5: On your “chocolate” squares, write down the consonants that are the second letters of your words. (Or the second-to-last, if you opt to use words with consonant blends at the end.) For example, if you choose the word frog, you’ll need one piece of “chocolate” with the letter R on it. If you use the word belt, you’ll need an L.
Note: You will probably have multiples of the same letter, because certain consonants like L and R are very common in blends. That’s totally fine!
Step 6: Cut the white paper into five rounded squares that will fit on your pieces of “chocolate.” These are your marshmallows! On them, write the vowels needed to create your words.
Step 7: Time to play! Call out one of the words from your list. Your child will need to grab all of the correct s’more ingredients to spell the right word. If they’re having trouble, help them out—this can absolutely be a team game. Once they’ve spelled the word correctly, they can go ahead and spell s’more words!
Adaptation for older children: If your child is a more advanced speller, you can simply let them play around with the ingredients and discover for themselves the words they can build into s’mores.
Edible option: When you’re done, you might just enjoy a real-life s’more to finish off your faux-camping fun! Or you could really go all-out and do this consonant blends spelling game with real s’more ingredients, by writing your letters on graham crackers, chocolate pieces, and marshmallows using icing. If you do, be sure to share pictures on social media and tag us!
Looking for more fun games to teach reading, writing, and spelling? Check out our other literacy activities, or let us know via the comments or on social media what kinds of activities you’d love to see.
Chrysta Naron is an early childhood educator and curriculum specialist in Austin, Texas, who believes everything is better with glitter! Read more from her at playfulprek.com. Craft s’more pictures by Chrysta Naron; Edible s’more pictures by Laila Weir.