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Suffix flight explorer

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By Bev Long and Judith Mason — Educational Consultants

This fun, non-competitive track game for three players is designed to provide practice at adding the suffixes er or est to words and using comparative language.


Before playing

  • Explain that this game requires three players – but they need to follow the route together, playing as a team, rather than against one another.
  • Talk the children through the layout of the track: it is made up a series of three squares, numbered 1, 2 and 3, then a large box containing a picture and a word. Each picture shows three images that can be compared. Linked to each picture is a factual sentence. The journey starts at the bottom, where children simply add the suffix to the root word. As they climb up through the clouds, some of the root words need to be adjusted to add the suffix.
  • Read the two suffixes in the top left corner and list some words which have these suffixes.


You will need: a different coloured counter for each player; number cards 1, 2, 3 (from the activity sheet below); the spelling prompt sheet below; paper or a small whiteboard and pens. Adult support will be needed initially.

Previous learning

Many of the words featured in the game are common words which the children will probably have met in their reading in the foundation stage. However, it is important that the children have had some experience of adding suffixes to words ending in e, y or with a consonant preceded by a short vowel.

Playing the game

  • Ask the children to place their counters on the START square. Now place the number cards (from the activity sheet below) face down on the table and shuffle them around. Ask each child to choose a card.
  • The number on the card they pick indicates which of the small boxes they must move their counter to for the first picture.
  • The player who has picked number 1 goes first and has to read the fact written next to the first large picture box. Support them as they do so, if necessary.
  • The player who has picked number 2 goes second, and has to choose one of the images in the picture box and then add a suffix to the main word in the box to best describe the image they have picked. For example, for the first picture box, if they could say tallest, and point to the child who is the tallest of the three shown. They should also write this word on a whiteboard or sheet of paper, spelling it correctly, referring to the prompt sheet below.
  • The player who has picked number 3 goes last and has to use the other remaining suffix to make a word, relating it to the picture, and write the word down, once again spelling it correctly.
  • Now place the number cards face down on the table and shuffle them again. Ask each child to choose another card, perhaps taking turns to draw first. Continue playing the game in the same way as for picture 1 until you reach the final picture up in space. When all players have completed their tasks for this final picture, they can place their counters on the FINISH square and they have finished the game.

Key learning outcomes:

Year 1

  • To use knowledge of common inflections in spelling, including -er;

Year 2

  • To spell with increasing accuracy and confidence, drawing on word recognition and knowledge of word structure and spelling patterns, including common inflections, and use double letters.

Using the activity sheet

As well as the number cards for the game, page 15 also contains some prompts to help the children when writing down and spelling the word they have made using -er or -est.

Extending the game

  • Group all the words the children have written down to make sets with the same root word – eg tall, taller, tallest; safe, safer, safest. Now group any sets of words which follow the same spelling rules when adding the suffixes.
  • Together, make a poster explaining the spelling rules you have learned.