Image by: Christine Majul

Spelling Stone!

Age Range
4-8 yrs
Setup Time
10 minutes!
Setup Location
Indoor/ Outdoor

Learning to convert letters to recognizable words requires knowledge of the relationship between sounds and the letters or other symbols that represent them, then remembering the exact patterns and sequences that may represent various speech sounds (Goswami, 2006; Moats, 2000). The orthographic system of a language consists of the relationship among the visual symbols used in the writing system, the mapping of these symbols onto speech, and meaning (Seymour, 2006). As children map sounds to print, they are also accessing the words in their vocabularies. They use this knowledge to support them in identifying the word they are reading.

Phonemic awareness skill enables children to use letter-sound correspondences to read and spell words. For example, children segment the phonemes of a word to invent a spelling by assigning letters to represent its sounds. Children have to blend sounds together when they use letter-sound correspondences to read words they have never before seen.

This activity helps children observe and arrange letters to form words. You can also use this activity in group situations to build more challenge. Remember to gently guide your child to build a word and encourage him at every stage. The key is to start with simple words and slowly introduce the longer, more complex words.


  1. Paint smooth stones with a solid color using multi-surface paint. Once dry, using a fine paint brush and multi-surface paint, mark each stone with a different alphabet (you can make enough alphabet stones to form a long word, like 'thanksgiving')

  2. Once the stones are dry, the challenge for the child is to make as many words as he can using the letters in the word, 'thanksgiving'

  3. Let the child write down the words on a sheet of paper, actively manipulating the stones to form new words

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.