Phonics Games and Activities for Early Years

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Language is the human method of communication and there are multiple ways of teaching correct grammar and pronunciation. Phonics has become the educational go-to of learning to read, write and speak correctly. It is the most effective way of developing children’s language skills. Phonics is the method of teaching reading by learning sounds that groups of letters make when they’re spoken. Phonics games and phonics activities allow children to learn these sounds in a fun and creative fashion. Creating phonics games for kids promotes a way for them to identify and distinguish sounds. Language games motivate children and increase their engagement with the material.

Phonics Games: Water balloons

For those who don’t mind getting wet, this is the perfect phonics activity for you. Make sure you have index cards available and tape, as well as balloons. Create large letters on each of the cards and tape them against a fence. Take the balloons and write word endings on them. Children can pick a water balloon, hold up against one of the index cards to see if the letter and word ending fit to make a full word. If this is the case, get the children to read the word aloud, and then they can throw the water balloon at the letter. A wet way of learning letters and a great phonics game for kids.

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Phonics Activities: Magnets in the Snow

Phonics Activities for kids can be used to represent all seasons and this game is a great one if they love wintertime. You will need magnetic letters, a magnet, fake snow which can be polystyrene packing, some water, and a large container. Simply, hide the magnetic letters in the ‘snow’ and get the children to use a magnet to attract or catch a letter. When they catch the letter, see if they can say the letter sound. If they get it correct, they can keep it. If not, it goes back in the snow. This is an example of phonics games for kids that helps them think about how they would use that letter. Ask the children what word they would make with it. This language game helps them form the recognition of letters and how they sound.

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Language Games: Noisy Letter Jump Game

Another idea for phonics games for kids who enjoy being active. It is incredibly easy to create and is a popular way of identifying sounds. Get some chalk and write the letters on the ground. Get the children to run around and then jump on a letter. Get them to try and say it. It’s a fantastic method of assessing how confident children are with particular sounds as well. Make sure they land on a different letter every time they jump. Ramp the game up by seeing if they can create a word with every jump, getting them to shout it out loud. A brilliant way to consolidate the phoneme-grapheme correspondence.

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Phonics Games for Kids: Wanted

Everyone wants to be a cowboy at some point and this game is a creative and fluid phonics game for kids that helped them engage with sounds. You will need paper or cards to make wanted posters and pens or pencils. Tell the children a story about an outlaw that you need to catch. Work together with them to create a description of the character that they’re about to draw. To practice phonics, use the same letter and sound to create an image of the outlaw. Think about his personality and characteristics to help them create their image. You could take the letter L and make this sentence: Louis, the lazy lab assistant, steals lobster from the larder and limes. He lives in a log cabin with a lizard. Children can say these words and create their posters for people to enjoy. This is a fantastic method of using alliteration and getting phonic knowledge by thinking of words that have the same sound. You can change it around as well to make it be rhyming sounds rather than the same sound. Plenty of manoeuvring for creativity!

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Phonics Activities for Kids: Football Phonics

For those who love the beautiful game, football phonics is a breezy, active way of engaging children in sounds. You’ll need a goal post chalked onto a wall if you don’t have a goal post in your garden. Make sure to have a blue tack or some strong tape, a lightweight football, some sticky backed velcro, and circles of laminated card with a white marker. The first job to do is writing the regular word endings like ate, op, as, at and so on onto the circles of laminated cards. Stick these around the goal mouth using the blue tack or the strong tape. From there, stick one laminated circle onto the football using the velcro. Use the other laminated circles and write a cluster of constants. Things like ch, sh, wh, pr, th and fix these to the ball one at a time. Children can then take it in turns to shoot the ball into the goal. They’re only allowed to kick it if they can make a word with the card on the ball with the card around the goal. Change the sound on the ball after each goal is scored. This helps children use their phonic knowledge effectively and provides entertainment doing it as well.

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Language Games: Shake It!

This is a great way for children to blend and segment their words. To play you’ll need pom poms or shakers. This is a great example of phonics games for kids that function well inside or outside. Split into two teams. One team is going to be cheerleaders. Let them practice using their pom-poms and shakers. You act as a caller. The teams then take it in turns to shout out individual letters and sounds of a word. The team that shouts out the most correct sounds and words win. This is a creative way to help children remember sounds and words through repetition. Phonics games for kids can be creative and utilise real-life situations to help children develop their speech, reading, and writing skills.

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