Alphabet Activity for All Levels

Updated on: January 31, 2019

Many ESL students come from countries that speak languages totally different from English. Teaching grammar, sentence structure, syntax, and even the alphabet is all different for students from China, Japan, South Korea, and the Middle East.

Therefore, it may be quite a challenge for them to understand the English alphabet as ESL students. To make this process as fun and painless as possible, ESL teachers encourage their students to play the spelling word games and do various alphabet activities in the classroom, as well as other fun ESL activities and games.

Such a creative approach to teaching the alphabet may lead to stunning results. Therefore, in this article we are highlighting some spelling practice games and ESL alphabet games to be played in the classroom or for educators who teach english online.

These Are the Best ESL Alphabet Activities & Spelling Word Games

Spelling Bee

The teacher slowly and clearly pronounces a word and gives an example sentence with this word. One of the students should then spell this word, letter by letter. If the spelling is correct, the student – or a team where this student belongs – gets a point. If the spelling is wrong, the student leaves the game. This also doubles as a pronunciation game.


The teacher should choose a word and draw a blank square for each letter of this word. Each time the students guess a correct letter, the teacher should fill it into the corresponding square. When the learners name a wrong letter, the teacher starts drawing a “hangman”. The players should guess the entire word before you complete the drawing. After you complete the drawing with a hangman’s rope, it means that the students have lost this ESL spelling game.

Memory Match

This alphabet activity involves matching the upper case and lower case letter with each other. While it may seem simple for European students, it will be a great challenge for Asian students. Prepare a set of cards with the capital and lower case letters written or printed on them, and mix up the cards. The students must find both the upper case and lower case letters to make a match.

Scrabble Game

Another fun and exciting way to train the alphabet and spelling skills is to play a scrabble game. You can either use a traditional board scrabble or find an online spelling game of scrabble.

Picture Bingo ESL Spelling Activities

Give your students a bingo board consisting of 25 squares and ask them to draw objects the names of which begin with each alphabet letter. When someone gets five in a row, they call Bingo!

ESL Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

Place 26 pieces of paper around your classroom or in another area – if the weather is good, you can play this game outdoors. Then ask the students to find as many objects beginning with each of those letters as possible. When a student finds an object, they should place it on the piece of paper that is labeled with the object’s initial letter. For example, for the “c” letter the students can find a chalk, calculator, cake, calendar, and camera.

Beach Ball Alphabet Games

Use a simple inflatable beach ball and write the alphabet letters in random places on the ball. Ask your students to form a circle. The students should throw the ball to each other. Those who catch the ball should come up with words starting with a letter on the ball that is closest to their thumbs. If a student cannot name a word, he or she should leave the circle.

Making Letters Out of Straws

Cut the drinking straws into one-inch segments, hand them out to the students, and ask them to form the alphabet letters by using those straws.

Ordering Magnetic Letters

During this ESL alphabet game, the teacher should randomly arrange the magnetic alphabet letters on the whiteboard, and the students should arrange them in a correct order to form the alphabet. The students can work in teams, but you will need a separate set of magnetic letters for each team. The winning team should be the fastest to arrange the letters.


During this ESL spelling game, the students stand up in a circle. The teacher names a word and then asks the student who is standing next to say the first letter of this word. The next student should say the second letter, and so on. When the word is completed, the next person says “sparkle”, and the teacher should name a new word. If someone says a wrong letter, they leave the circle. If any player forgets to say “sparkle” when the word is completed, they also leave the circle. The game continues until only one student remains in the circle.

This article is used with permission from VIPKid.

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