Phonics allows children to learn how to read on an elemental level, becoming familiar with many sounds that each individual letter can make in the comparatively difficult language that is English. Phonics also allows students to ultimately improve their spelling ability, as words that have long been spoken but not written will suddenly have a fundamental structure to them that the child can look to when he or she is trying to figure out exactly how that word should be spelled.
Playing games and learning just go together when you are teaching young children about phonics. You know how important it is that your students know the relationship between their ABCs and the sounds that the letters make. In others, phonemic awareness is the beginning of the phonics learning process.
Here are some quick and fun games that you can play with your students, one for each letter of the alphabet.
A: Try apple stamping with your students. Simply cut out an “A” on half of an apple and have your students stamp the letter on paper as you introduce words that begin with “A,” such as Alligator.
B: One a day that you are teaching the letter “B,” bring in some honey and toast for an exciting snack. Explain to your students that honey comes from “B”ees.
C: Count coins. Bring in play money and have students practice easy math problems with the coins. Emphasize how the word coins starts with the letter “C.”
D: Have your students make a drum. You can find instructions for making an easy drum at Barbara Pratt’s website.
E: Play animal charades with your students, and have them all act like elephants. You can even have the kids make elephant ears to wear.
F: Funny face drawings. Have kids draw funny faces on paper. After that, have a funny face contest where partners try to make each other laugh. The first one to laugh loses the game. Switch partners and play again.
G: Cut out shapes of ghosts on green construction paper. Have the children draw eyes on the ghost with glow-in-the-dark crayons. Have them also draw a huge “G” on the center of the ghost.
H: Have a center set up in your classroom where the kids can “play house.” Then have them color a coloring sheet of a house, making it look the house they live in.
I: Talk about igloos and then make one with your class. Here’s how:
Cut off the bottom of a Styrofoam cup. Next, cut out a “U” shape on one side of the cup to create an entrance into the igloo. Glue the cup to a paper plate so the entrance is at the bottom. Now you will spread glue all over the cup and stick sugar cubes to the glue. Have the children build from the bottom and work up the cup. Make sure they do not block the entrance.
J: Getting your class moving by doing some jumping jacks!
K: Have each child tell about something “k”ind they did for someone else.
L: Let students draw a lake on a piece of paper and add things that you would find at a lake, like logs!
M: String lights in the classroom and have a big moon so it looks like a planetarium. Turn the lights off and tell kids some facts about the moon.
N: Talk about a bird’s nest, and then make Bird’s Nest snacks. Find the recipe at Preschool Education.
O: Let children make a paper mache octopus. Find craft instructions at Enchanted Learning.
P: Make popcorn as a special snack. Bring in a hot-air popper so the children can actually watch it pop.
Q: Play a game to see who can be quietest the longest! Give the winners a small prize and play multiple times.
R: Rodeo round-up. Place stuffed animals around the room. Tell students that they are going to be cowboys today and that they have to round-up all the animals for the rodeo. Choose a child and give them a riddle that directs them to the animal they must find. Pick another student and give them a different riddle, etc. until all of the animals are rounded up in the rodeo.
S: Do a sink or float science experiment. You can find directions at Gayle’s Rainbow Preschool.
T: Teach students how to tell time and make their own clock with paper plates.
U: Make umbrellas. Here’s how:
Give each child a coffee filter and a small dowel rod. All they have to do is glue the dowel to the inside center of the coffee filter. Let them decorate the coffee filter with crayons before attaching the dowel rod.
V: Let children make a flower arrangement and provide each with a plastic vase. Encourage them to give this as a gift to someone else.
W: Wind songs and poems. Teach your students this fun song about the wind. It is sung to the tune of “Farmer in the Dell.”
I like the noisy wind,I like the noisy wind.It roars and mutters (voice loud, then softer)And Shakes the shutters (shake hands Tambourine-Style.)I like the noisy wind I Like the Noisy wind,I like the noisy wind.It flaps the flag (flap your arms back and forth)And rustles my bag (rub hands together briskly)I like the noisy wind. ~ Author Unknown
X: Talk about x-rays. Try to have a doctor or nurse come in with actual films to show the children.
Y: Have a yellow day in the class. Encourage students to wear something yellow. Make sun crafts, have yellow frosted cupcakes for snacks.
Z: Zoo time. Have students bring in their favorite stuffed animal. Let them talk about what they love about their stuffed animal, and then put them together to create a zoo in the classroom.