Spin-a-Word Spool

I was surprised at how much my children loved playing with this simple contraption. Although it is especially effective for prereaders and those beginning to learn the alphabet, my 11-year-old daughter was eager to make her own and invent word games. You can also use numbers instead of letters for simple math problems.

What You Will Need:

  1. 3 empty sewing thread spools
    (Large White ones work best. Make sure the center hole is big enough for a pencil or chopstick to fit through.)
  2. Unsharpened pencil or chopstick
  3. Adhesive letters or numbers, 1/2 inch or larger (you can also write them on, but these give a clearer, bolder look)
  4. Duct tape or masking tape

How to Put it All Together:

Ask your child to pick out four consonants from the letter pack and place them around the first spool. Then ask for four vowels for the second spool and another four consonants for the third spool. The first time we did this, I encouraged letter combinations for the spools that would spin up familiar words like "m-a-d" or "c-a-t."

Wrap tape around one end of each pencil or chopstick to make it thick enough to keep the spools from sliding off. Thread on the first spool, the vowel spool, and the second consonant spool. Tape the other end. You are ready to spin up your words! The spools spin freely, permitting your child to come up with many different words. Have fun!

Source: More Mudpies: 101 Alternatives to Television. Copyright © 1994 by Nancy Blakey. All rights reserved. This activity was reprinted with permission from Tricycle Press and may not be reproduced in any manner, including electronic, without prior written approval from the publisher.

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