My kids aren’t into traditional spelling lessons, as many aren’t. When my kids did their brief stint in school one of them had a teacher who had alternative ways for them to practice spelling. She would have them write the word in different colors, create word searches, spelling bingo…all kinds of fun stuff. She didn’t have a spelling battleship game, but I was inspired by her other games.
See, I was lying in bed around 5am and I had to go to the bathroom. I got up, felt my way through the dark (and managed not to trip over anything thing time, thank you very much!), did my business and went back to bed. When I wake up around that time I know I’ll never achieve full sleep status again, but if I’m lucky I’ll hit some kind of twilight sleep where my brain is active but my body is resting. This is when some of my best ideas come, even entire chapters of novels on occasion. I often forget the idea, so when I get them now I force myself to make a note on my phone.
That’s what happened this morning, apparently the fact that I sometimes get really sick of spelling words for the kids (hey, I’m only human!) was lurking in my subconscious. The idea for Spelling Battleship came to me so I rolled over to leave a voice note on my phone. While I’m pretty sure I said “Spelling Battleship”, Siri head “Sell out by hip”, thankfully I remembered my idea this time though.
FREE Printable Spelling Battleship Game
STEP ONE: Print out 4 Battleship game boards. I’ve created a simple 10×10 Battleship game board for you, all you have to do is print it twice.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BATTLESHIP GAMEBOARD
If 10×10 isn’t big enough to you, these charts are super easy to make. I made this one in Google Docs using the insert a table feature. Decide what size to make the grid (I suggest printing larger grids in landscape format) and add one row and one column. Label the extra row with numbers and the extra column with letters so you have map coordinates, like so:
STEP TWO: Have your kids down write some spelling words, one letter per square. Feel free to encourage them to get “tricky” and place the words along the edges or diagonally.
Set up the game boards by using a folder or a tablet, secured by a large paperclip or binder clip at top. Place the game board with the written words on the top, the blank game board on the bottom.
STEP THREE: Players take turns calling out coordinates. If your opponent has a letter on the coordinate, they say “I’ve been hit” and mark an X over their letter. You then use that information to try to hit the other parts of the boat, er, word. Once the entire word is crossed out the player declares “You’ve sunk my battleship!”. If you call out a coordinate and there is nothing there to sink, mark that on the bottom game board so you know not to call out that coordinate again. I use an X for non-hits and a circle for hits.
The first player with all of their battleships (you know, the spelling words) sunk is the unfortunate loser.
How does this reinforce spelling skills?
First, this is a fun way to get your kids to write their spelling words, especially if they’re having problems with a few. Even if you don’t use a spelling program, have them write down those words your kids are always asking you to spell. You can even use this game to get them to write similar but different words, like they/them/their.
Second, your kid will be looking at their game board a lot. Every time they look at their board they are looking at the spelling words, and every time they look at the words they becoming more familiar with them. Before you know it they’ll have their spelling words memorized without tears or testing.
Check out some of my other FREE printables:
Meg Grooms (she/her) is a decades-long secular homeschooler, mother of many, writer, Florida ex-pat, and all-around swell gal. Meg & her partner have raised their kids all over the USA, finally settling on Southern California. For now, anyhow.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool. Meg is available for speaking engagements, workshops, and gameschooling classes, please see the About Us/Contact Meg page for more information.