It’s important to let your child relax and switch off in the school holidays. However, over the years, I found if my children completely ignored all learning for six weeks, the new term became even more challenging.

That said, trying to get my children to read, spell or write was never an easy task. I always felt guilty, encouraging them as I knew they deserved a rest too. This was when I started introducing ‘hidden learning’ activities. Hidden learning is an activity that gets your child to practise school subjects without them realising. They think they’re just having fun!

Spelling is essential to practise as it improves reading and writing abilities too. One hidden learning activity my household (and other dyslexic children I teach) love is playing a new app on a tablet or computer. I’ve found some great spelling apps over the years, and here’s four I highly recommend to download this summer.

Happy app-ing!

The app: Squeebles Spelling Test

Suitable for: 4 – 11 years

What’s it about? Squeebles Spelling Test is an app for practising spelling. There are hundreds of spelling tests to try, or you can make up your own. The more spellings you get right, the more stars and Squeebles you win. Stars can be traded in to ‘buy’ Squeeberangs (a fancy boomerang). You can then play a Squeeberang game using your new boomerang. It’s a great concept as it encourages children to take the tests as they enjoy being rewarded with stars and Squeeberangs. Other excellent features include the option to use an OpenDyslexic font. And even better, there are no in-app purchases or adverts.

Skills practised:

Additional skills gained:

Cost: £3.99. Available on Apple and Android.

Squeebles Spelling Test

The app: Crazy Cursive Letters

Suitable for: 4 years and over

What’s it about: This app is ideal for getting children to practise spelling and handwriting at the same time! You start with writing letters or words, depending on your ability. The app then tells you the letters you’re good at and the messages that can be improved. You can also enter your own words, which is ideal if your child has spellings they need to work on. Crazy Cursive Letters is so simple, yet so effective. If your child doesn’t enjoy sitting down with a pen and paper, then this is the game for them!

Skills practised

Additional skills gained

Cost: £2.99. Available on Apple and Android.

Crazy Cursive Letters

The app: Writing Wizard for Kids

Suitable for: 4 years and over

What’s it about? Writing Wizard for Kids encourages children to practise their handwriting by tracing over letters. However, this is not your usual letter outlining app as you can use different coloured pens, stickers, and sound effects to draw over the letters. Great for children who enjoy being creative. The game helps develop excellent motor skills needed for writing. However, the repetition of writing different words will help with spelling and reading too. You can also create your own words list to make the game suitable for the stage your child is at. Lots of arty fun!

Skills practised

Additional skills gained

Cost: £4.99. Available on Apple, Android and Kindle.

Writing Wizard for Kids

The app: Spell Mania

Suitable for: 4 years and over

What’s it about: Now this app helps with spelling as you have to think about the sequence of letters in a word. Spell Mania starts with a grid of letters. Within this grid are hidden words. The challenge is to find as many words as you can. To confirm a word you have to swipe your finger over the letters in the correct order. If you get stuck, there are clues to help. It’s certainly a game that’ll support spelling without involving traditional writing. There are many levels to choose from with words ranging from 3 to 7 letters too. So, whether your child is 4 or 14, there’ll be suitable options for all.

Skills practised

Additional skills gained

Cost: Free, however, there are in-app purchases. Available on Apple only.

Spell Mania

I’d love to hear how your child gets on with these apps. Get in touch if you’d like me to recommend more.

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