5 Trick Word Games and Activities: Student-Led, Fun, & Low Prep

May 17, 2023 4 min read

Trick words can be, well…tricky. That’s why I’ve implemented engaging activities that’ll entice students but require minimal teacher prep. Read on for my top 5 trick word games and activities.

An image of Trick Word Bingo with the title 5 Low-Prep, Student-Led Trick Word Games

Trick Word Bingo

Perhaps one of the most exciting games for any subject, any age – BINGO! You can adapt this to fit your needs, but I’ve played it the traditional way by inputting every five units’ worth of trick words for each board.

You can also allow students to create bingo boards by writing the words themselves. This game is versatile and can be played whole-group or small-group, individually or with partners, etc.

Trick word bingo - one of five trick word games

Psssttt…Grab these Bingo boards FREE!

Interactive Google Slides Activities

When the pandemic began, I knew I needed a digital yet engaging way for students to practice their trick words at home. I created trick word games and activities for each unit in Google Slides.

Now that the pandemic is over, students can complete these as independent center activities, perhaps a technology center. They’re also great for spiral review and morning work, plus perfect for a sub activity (like these easy-to-use exit tickets)!

A gif of trick word activities on Google Slides

Rainbow Write Words

Students choose a different text color for each word, which makes it exciting and fun!

Trace Words

Students say each letter as they trace it using the Scribble tool. This activity provides perfect practice for letter formation, too. On-screen directions are included!

Build Words

Students drag the letters to their respective position in the overall word. A sign with the word is included to help students visualize before completing.

Sort Words

Students must apply their knowledge of vowels and consonants to sort each word. This activity provides perfect spiral review weekly!

Type Words

Students will practice typing skills & sentence fluency as they read the decodable sentence while typing. A small picture is included to provide context.


Students will review all words for the unit. They will put each word in ABC order & read a sentence and choose the appropriate trick word to complete it.

Trick Word Color by Code

Who doesn’t love a good coloring activity?! Students can practice reading and writing the previously taught trick words.

Students will read the trick word, write it in their best handwriting, and color each instance of the word in the puzzle.

These can be printed ahead of time for the entire year or per unit. Trick Word Color by Code provides excellent practice pages and covers various skills, such as handwriting and word recognition. If students finish early, they can turn to the back of the page and write sentences and illustrate using the provided trick words.

Easy to use trick word color by code - one of 5 trick word activities

Trick Word Games on Wordwall

Also a product of pandemic teaching, I discovered Wordwall.net. There are interactive, highly engaging trick word games that can be assigned to students, played independently or whole-group.

Many of the games are incredibly motivating for students – like Whack-a-Mole, Balloon Pop, and Maze Chase (my students’ favorite).

The best part? There are SO many games already created – you can assign and go! Of course, you can create your own games as well.

Using Popular Games

I want to preface this by saying I highly recommend playing this game with a small group of students at a teacher center with an adult FIRST. In fact, I use this game exclusively for my Teacher Time Center, but you can absolutely make it an independent activity; know, you’ll need to emphasize the rules heavily.

Essentially, students get to play popular games like Jenga, Candy Land, and Connect 4 as they practice trick words. There are several variations I’ve tried.

little girl plays jenga

You can do dictation style, where you say a word, and the student spells it to take their turn. So, you say the word only, and Student A (or all students) writes the word, shows you, and gets to pull a block from the Jenga tower. Play continues with Student B, and so on.

Or, you can use flashcards that include each trick word, and students must read the word to take their turn. So, you show the word country, and Student A reads the word; you’ll confirm, and Student A pulls a block from the Jenga tower. Play continues with Student B, and so on.

This is one of those trick word games that elicits pure joy; I love it!

BONUS: Shaving Cream Writing

I can’t leave this one out, but it didn’t quite fit with the others since it should definitely be teacher-led.

Place a nice pile of shaving cream in front of each student (if doing this activity at a teacher’s table). You can also place shaving cream in a large enough tray.

Use flashcards to have a group of students either choral read or independently read each word.

After they’ve read it, have them practice writing it in their pile of shaving cream! It makes an excellent sensory writing and fine motor activity.

an image of a student hand writing the word 'only' in shaving cream on a table

Warning: It gets messy! But it’s oh so fun!

Trick Word Games – Where to Find Them

So, now you’re ready to dive in! I’ve created trick word games you can implement with your students ASAP. Here’s where you can find them:

  1. Trick Word Bingo – Grab a free set of Units 2-7 trick words Bingo.
  2. Trick Word Google Slides – All units 1-17 are available.
  3. Trick Word Games pre-created on Wordwall.net
  4. Flashcards for playing popular games – included in the Bingo download for Units 2-7

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