“Short” vowel wordbuilding card game


Cheap, downloadable, portable, easy word-building game which teaches basic phonemic awareness and phonics. Players make words then change each other’s words. Suitable for ages 6 and up.



This revised game for two players aged 6 and up provides practice blending and manipulating sounds in one-syllable words, and learning their spellings. It’s easier for young kids to use than the original version.

It contains the most common spellings used with “short” or checked vowels: “a” as in “cat”, “e” as in “red”, “i” as in “hit”, “o” as in “got” and “u” as in “hum”.

Watch a video of how to play the game here:

Players must know at least the alphabet, and be at least starting to learn about two-letter spellings (digraphs) like “ck”, “ss” and “th”.

Each card represents an English grapheme (spelling for an individual speech sound). Players try to get rid of all their cards by firstly building words, and then changing their opponent’s words. Longer words use up more cards and are harder for one’s opponent to modify, but are also harder to build.

The game also provides opportunities to learn about how consonant sounds typically combine in English e.g. we often use “fr” and “sm” at word beginnings in English, but not “cw” or “pm”.

These cards are supplied as a downloadable pdf file (two A4 pages) which you print in colour on paper or light cardboard, laminate if you will be using the game a lot, and cut up (or ask kids to hone their scissor skills on it). Put an elastic band around it, and you have some small, portable edutainment. Save it to your computer so any lost or worn out pieces are easily replaced, or you can make extra copies.

The cards in this game are part of a set of three, click here for the cheapest way to get all three.