24.3.20- Phonics Ideas

Dear Year One Parents and Carers,

I have been researching (and racking my own memory) to think of fun, free (or low-cost), interactive Phonics activities that you can use at home to keep your child/ren engaged with Phonics sounds. We have covered all the sounds from Phase 2-5 but each child has a different Phonics profile, with their own strengths and areas to develop. You will be able to notice these when you read with them. For many children, recognising digraphs and trigraphs automatically in words can be challenging, for others its split-digraphs or blending the sounds in the correct order. Many of these activities can be tailored to meet the requirements of your child, as well as time and money constraints.

Fun Phonics activities:

  • Use a bingo dabber/ highlighter pen to find a sound. Pick a sound that you want to focus on. Provide an old book, a newspaper, magazine etc. and ask them to find as many words with that sound in. Every 5 words they find earns them a point. Points may mean prizes…or something equally fun!
  • Sound Burst. Blow up old balloons. Write a different sound on each balloon. Call a word or a sound and the children have to find the matching balloon, ie (day for the ay sound or just say ‘ay’). If they get it right, they have to burst the balloon in one go. If they don’t do it, they have to try again on their next go.
  • Sound splat. Write the sounds/ common exception words on Post-it notes and ask the children to splat the word/sound with a fly swat.
  • Phonics baskets. Provide a small basket or container and give the children a sound. Ask them to fill their basket with a range of items that have that sound in. Bonus points if the sound is in the middle or the end.
  • Twinkl games. Twinkl has made its website free to parents for one month. Although I wouldn’t recommend downloading too many worksheets for our younger children, there are fun board games that can be printed out and played (or played on an iPad screen).
  • Alien Adventures. Draw your own alien and name him in his own alien language. Write an alien language for him to speak in speech bubbles. Practice blending the sounds together as you read back through the language.
  • Make your own flashcards. Write 5 or 6 sounds on scraps of paper. Get the child to think of a word/ picture that matches the sound and draw it above or below the sound. Children can use these to recap the sounds.
  • Word Rub. If you have a whiteboard pen and a plain, laminated surface (a vinyl table cloth etc), write a mixture of words all over them. Call out a word and ask the children to find and rub out the word as quickly as they can.
  • What can you hear? Often we move so quickly in schools, we rarely have a chance to just stop and…. listen. Whilst you might feel this is too basic for your child, every child will benefit from just spending time being still and practising listening for sounds. Can they identify what the sound is? Is it coming from nearby or far away? Is it high-pitched or low-pitched? This simple exercise will train their ears to be more specific in the sounds they hear in words.
  • Alphabet activities. Introduce using a dictionary and how this works. Alphabetising is an important skill that we will be looking at in Year One and refining in Year Two. Make your own alphabet puzzle and board games with your child and they won’t even realise that they are learning!


So, there are ten ideas to get you started. As always, the internet contains a wealth of ideas and I will post again with some more ideas on a different date.

Please feel free to contact me via my e-mail address or write a reply on my blog page on Purple Mash!

Miss Muncey