Make your own stick word game

There are so many wonderful games on the market that encourage reading and writing. When I think back on my tween/teen years I recall playing games like Monopoly (reading the cards if we landed on a space that required a card pick-up), Clue (reading the clue cards), LIFE (reading the cards), Scrabble (spelling), Boggle (spelling) and others.

I remember playing games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders when I was younger, however, those games were color-coded and image-heavy rather than word focused. Now, there are lots of great choices on the market for early childhood reading-centered games but that wasn’t always the case. During my years of Preschool work and nanny work I often had to improvise on materials: to save money or to create a last-minute activity for the kids.

Here’s a fun game you could make at home for pre or beginning readers – to teach words, spelling, concepts and more. Check it out…


  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Pen

How to Play

Write one word on each stick:

Toss the sticks on the ground and pick them up, one by one, trying not to move or disrupt the other sticks. A hard service (table) works great for older children while a soft carpet base works nicely for smaller hands:

If your kids or students are old enough, have them sort the sticks! Here, we’ve put the “family names” sticks into one pile:

We’ve put “things we love” into another pile:

We’ve placed the “social emotional” words together:

Here, we’ve got the Sight Words together:

There are so many variations you could implement with this game such as:

  • Holiday words
  • New Sibling words
  • Faith words
  • Science words
  • Favorite words
  • And more…

Have Fun With It!

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in early childhood education. She’s the editor of (Early Childhood News and Resources), as well as several other web sites. She’s also a proud parent, avid game player, and a Library Board Member.

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