What We Like
Easy to snap together
Includes cleaning/storage bag
Eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws
What We Don't Like
Doesn’t include multiples of most letters
Not really dishwasher-safe
Originally created by a team of four designers, Spelly Straws raised more than $40,000 on Kickstarter in 2016, allowing these brightly colored, reusable letter straws to be manufactured and sold to kids and adults alike. We gave the popular gift for 4-year-olds a try to see how well they worked for drinking and word-building—as well as how easy they were to clean. Did they pass our test? Read on to find out.
Design: Colorful and inviting
A box of Spelly Straws comes with 44 brightly colored connector pieces, including all 26 letters plus some extras, two heart shapes, two hashtag pieces, and four straw pieces that serve as the top and bottom of the straw. The pieces are all BPA-free and can be reused indefinitely, boosting their eco-friendly factor. Our little sippers found it easy to snap the letters together before breaking them apart to arrange new words. Once assembled, the liquid flows through the center of each piece rather than filling the entire letter, making them easier to clean (more on that later).
There are enough pieces to build two full straws, which is ideal if you have more than one child. While there are duplicates of vowels and some other letters, we found it a little frustrating that the set only includes one of most consonants (B, C, D, M, T, and so forth) which is problematic if your kids have names that start with the same letter.
Entertainment Value: Keeps kids engaged at mealtime
Each pack of Spelly Straws can spell 300,000 words, which should keep kids busy for a long time. Don’t be surprised if your little one keeps asking for refills, since it’s so much fun to watch the liquid filter past the words they’ve created. Even after our kids finished their drinks, they continued to spell words with the straws and had fun arranging the pieces.
Check out our guide to the best educational toys you can buy today.
Age Range: Four and up
Spelly Straws are said to be easy enough for children as young as four to snap together and pull apart, and in our tests, we found this to be true. However, if kids aren’t reading or spelling many words yet, they may need a helping hand from a parent or older sibling to have the most fun possible with these letter straws. As a bonus, even adults can have some fun with these stacking letters. We could see them being a hit at cocktail parties (hello, drink markers!) past the kids’ bedtime.
Ease of Cleaning: Wash by hand if you can
While the package says that the straws are dishwasher-safe (and even includes a mesh bag to corral them in), we found that the straws smelled like they were burning after just one cycle. Also, after our kids used them to drink milk, there was some lingering residue on the ends where the letters connect to each other. Your best bet is to handwash the pieces by soaking them in a bowl of warm, soapy water—especially after using them for smoothies and other thicker liquids.
As mentioned, the liquid flows through the center of each piece instead of following the loops and curves of letters. This makes it easier to rinse each piece and ensures that there isn’t any leftover liquid hung up inside of a curvy letter.
Price: Inexpensive and worth buying more than one set
Spelly Straws retail for under $15, and their entertainment and educational value is worth at least that. Adding value to the Spelly Straw price-point is the fact that you’ll be saving on waste compared to disposable straws, since the set is washable and reusable. We’d recommend purchasing a couple of sets—especially if you have more than one child or don’t want to skip words because of a letter shortage.
Competition: Spelly Straws stand alone
While there are several reusable plastic straws on the market, including a version with sparkles, none of them come with snap-apart letters. This means that Spelly Straws is the go-to option if you want to help your kids improve their spelling and sight-word skills while staying hydrated.
Definitely buy them.
Keeping kids entertained with a hands-on learning activity is priceless for parents. Spelly Straws turn snack or mealtime into a fun spelling experience that will stretch their vocabulary while quenching their thirst. As an eco-friendly plus, you can limit your use of disposable plastic straws with this unique educational and reusable option.
- Product Name Spelly Straws
- Product Brand Spelly
- Price $14.4
- Weight 4 oz.
- Product Dimensions 4.9 x 1.1 x 7.3 in.
- Model Number SPL010001N
- Manufacturer Recommended Age Range 4+