Individual Challenge

The activities below are a mixture of games that are designed to support blending for reading or segmenting for writing. Click on the title of the activity to link to the original Facebook post for more photos or videos.

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Phonics Buzz Game

Using a bubble wand, string and letter/word cards. Tie the string around chairs or table legs. Your child then moves the wand around the course without touching the string. At every pit stop they say the sound or read the word. Once they’ve completed it change the cards and repeat!

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Split Digraph Rainbows

I thought this activity was particularly apt at the moment. Split digraphs are something that children learn in Phase 5 (normally in Year 1). You might know them as the ‘magic e’. It’s when a digraph for example ‘ie’ has been split up and had a consonant placed in the middle. It still makes an ‘ie’ sound despite having this letter in the middle. I like to think of it as the letter ‘e’ at the end is making the vowel say it’s name rather than its sound.

There are 5 split digraphs taught:
i_e like in slide
o_e like in joke
a_e like in cake
u_e like in tube
e_e like in these

When you put sound buttons on a word with a split digraph you connect the two letters with an arched line going over the consonant in the middle. Have a look at the photos and hopefully they will make it clearer.

The activity is to read the words and add the split digraph sound buttons but make it into a rainbow instead of the usual arched line.

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Alien Arrest

Alien words (made up non words) are a great way to ensure that your child is consistently recognising the graphemes that have been taught. If they have developed good decoding skills they will be able to segment and blend any decodable word given to them no matter if it is real or a non word.

Write a selection of real and alien words on a piece of paper. Your child’s job is to read the words and identify the alien words. If it is an alien word they place it behind bars. Here I cut up a small sweet potato and a carrot to produce jail bars by printing with paint. You could use a small sponge or cardboard for the printing instead. You could also splat the alien words.

Older children could write a sentence with the real words in once they have finishing arresting the alien words.

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Phonics Memory Game

Place out a selection of objects and let your child have a minute or two to look at them and try and memorise them. Place a cloth over them and as you lift it remove one of the items. Your child now has to recall which item is missing and write it down.

For younger children you could provide word cards for them and they have to then hold up the word card for the item that is missing. Adapt the objects for age and phase.

For children working on initial sounds you could have a few letter cards under the cloth. Hide one of the cards and then your child identifies which one is missing and holds up the matching letter card.

The number of items you place out will vary with age. The average number of items an adult can remember is 7 (7 plus or minus 2). I normally put out the number of objects corresponding to your child’s age, so 4 for a 4 year old, up to a maximum of 7.

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Phonics Superhero

This activity will provide your child with a real excitement to read and huge motivation to use their phonic knowledge and become a ‘Phonics Superhero’!

You will need some dark paper, PVA glue and some time to let the glue dry. I cut some bat shapes and painted words on to the paper using the glue. PVA is great to use as in the light it is difficult to see the word but when you put it in the dark and shine a torch all is revealed! You can just use a normal writing pencil if you have no glue but you can see this easier in the daylight and it is not quite as magical.

Change the words depending on the phase your child is working in or you can have tricky words instead. You can also have words on the paper that when arranged form a sentence. Your child hunts for the paper bats, reads the words and puts them into a sentence. They can then be a ‘Sentence Superhero’ too! Have a look at the comments below (on the original post) πŸ‘‡πŸ» for a video of this in action!

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Race to the Rocket

A game to support the reading of real and non-words. Remember the reading of non-words really checks if your child has maintained the graphemes and phonemes that have been taught. If they have developed a good phonic knowledge then they can apply this skill to any word whether it is real or made up.

I created a flip book by folding several sheets of A4 paper in half and then stapling along the fold. Make two vertical cuts so that you create three strips. The first set of strips will have letters for the beginning phoneme, the middle strip for the middle phoneme and the final strip for the final phoneme.

Your child flips each of the set of strips and stops at a random point for each. They will then have found a beginning, middle and end for their word. They read the word and decide if it a real word or a non-word. If it is real they write it under the astronaut and if it is a non-word under the alien. The aim of the game is to collect 10 real words to help the astronaut blast off in his rocket. Repeat the game if the alien wins.

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Fidget Spinner Phonics

Create three spinner plates. One for each of the initial, middle and final graphemes. Add an arrow to the fidget spinner. Spin each of the spinners to create a word. Blend the sounds and decide if it is a real or non-word and write it on the corresponding sheet.

*Please excuse the fidget spinners. I just made them out of card to demonstrate as my little one was a bit too little when they were all the rage. If you haven’t got any spinners then you can create your own arrow or alternatively throw a coin on each plate to decide the letter *

Tip – add a paper clip under the arrow and before the split pin so that it spins properly (no split pin then you could just use string)

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Phonics Fishing

Cut some fish out of card or paper and then put a staple or paper clip on the end. I made a fishing rod out of a chop stick, string and stole a magnet from a toy. It kept him entertained for a least half an hour and that’s unheard of! πŸ 

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Sleepy Sentences

It’s about this time of the day when I start to look at the clock and realise there is still over 3 hours to bedtime!

This is such an easy activity to set up and hopefully it will keep them entertained during this part of the afternoon. Children also love it because they get to be the teacher.

In class I would normally explain to the children that I was feeling really sleepy. I wanted to write a sentence but I’m sure I was going to make a lot of mistakes because of how exhausted I was feeling! I would then write a sentence on the board with letters not formed correctly, use of the wrong graphemes in words, no capital letters, full stops and tricky words spelt incorrectly. Their job is to spot and correct the mistakes.

If you tell your child what you want the sentence to say they can go and correct the mistakes using a different colour pen or pencil and act being the teacher. Older children could write out the sentence without the mistakes after they have corrected them.

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Put a lid on it!

Put a lid on it!

If, like me, you’ve got a fair few takeaway containers in the cupboard then this activity is an easy one to set up.

Put an object inside each of the boxes (it could just be pictures), stick some masking tape on the lids (you can just write directly onto the lid with a marker pen if you don’t mind) and then write the names of the objects inside on to the lid. Remove the lids and it’s your child’s job to read the word and put it onto the matching box. Children love little boxes and putting lids on them! Great for developing fine motor control too.

For pre-school children you could say the sounds and they have to blend them together, find the right box and put the lid on. Adapt the words and objects depending on phase. In the photo boxes appropriate for Phase 2 would be ‘duck’, ‘cup’, ‘lock’ and Phase 3 ‘fox’, ‘fish’, ‘car’, ‘sheep’, ‘farmer’, ‘fork’, ‘spoon’ and they can have a good go at reading ‘train’ .

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Phonics Forensics

This activity is a pretty easy activity to set up. All you need is a small tray, small cut up bits of paper or card, tweezers and a couple of sandwich bags.

Your child uses the tweezers to pick up a card. They segment and blend the word and decide if it is a real word or a non-word and then place it in the appropriate ‘evidence bag’. All of the words that I’ve used here are directly from the Year 1 screening check last year. You can see how many non-words children are asked to read. You can look at some past papers here and that will give you an idea of some words to use…/national-curriculum-assessments-practi…

For children learning to recognise the initial sounds and letters they could use the tweezers and sort the letters from the numbers or symbols and put them into the appropriate ‘evidence bags’.

Using tweezers is a fantastic way to develop fine motor skills and therefore support pencil and scissor control.

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Baby Wipe Bingo

We go through a fair few packs of baby wipes in our house and I was looking at them the other day and thought they would make a great bag to hold grapheme cards.

For this game you need to cut up small pieces of card and write onto them all the graphemes learnt in the phase your child is working in. On a separate piece of paper write some words with some of the graphemes that are in the bag. Your child can now shake the baby wipe bag to select a card inside. They look to see if they need it on their sheet. If they do they cover over the grapheme on the sheet with the card. Once they’ve collected all the cards they can shout BINGO. Write some different words on a sheet and they can play again.

For children working in Phase 2 they could play with just the single letters or you can write simple CVC words and highlight the letter they are looking for in a different colour.

You could create a bag for all of the phonemes/graphemes taught in Phase 2, 3 and 5 and now you’ve got a handy bag of grapheme cards and it only takes a couple of minutes to write words on a sheet for your child to play bingo again. Easy win.

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Steps to Phonics Success!

A simple activity that helps develop the skill of segmenting and blending. If you don’t mind stick small bits of masking tape on each step of the staircase and write the graphemes for words on each. Leave a blank step after every word and this indicates that your child needs to blend the sounds together to make the word.

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Phonics Chutes

I made this using a large cardboard box (I taped the box inside out so that it was blank on the outside). I then cut the ends off three plastic bottles and taped them to the box. The other end of the bottle can now act as a collection tray. Check if the ends are sharp as you can tape over them but these ones were fine to touch. You’ll need small enough objects to put down the chutes. I used bits of Lego but you could use small stones, buttons or even small pieces of card. I wrote some graphemes on the Lego and then placed a selection in each of the cups at the top. Your child takes an object from each of the cups and puts it down the corresponding chute in order to build a word. Once they’ve done all three chutes they segment and blend the word together and decide if it is real or a non word. They can then record this on a sheet.

Easily adapted for age and phase by changing the graphemes on the small objects or having a different number of chutes, for example you could have 4 chutes for children working in Phase 4 in order to build word with adjacent consonants i.e grain, bring etc

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Phonics Gifts

Right, I have to admit I’m a hoarder of gift bags and I’m not ashamed to say that they will be reused for someone else’s present! πŸ˜‚

This activity is in a similar vein to the ‘Read and Seek’ game I posted a while back. Each gift bag has a label. Your child reads the label and takes it around the house to find the object to put in the bag. Simple as that really but children seem to love bags and putting things inside them!

Totally adaptable for every phase by altering the labels and things to find. For pre school children you can ‘sound out’ the words and they orally blend the sounds together and find the object.

I’ll outline which bags in the photo would suit which phase below:
Phase 2- ‘hat’, you could also just have the words ‘cat’, ‘rabbit’ and ‘duck’
Phase 3 – ‘big books’, ‘umbrella’ ‘stacking cups’ ‘rubber duck’ and then you could have just ‘car’
Phase 4 – all of the above and ‘red bricks’ ‘train tracks’ and you could just have ‘soft cat’ and’ soft rabbit’
Phase 5 – all of the above plus anything with the word ‘toy’ in.

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Leap Frog Phonics

I made the pond using a cut up IKEA bag and put some stones around the edge and a couple of IKEA artifical plants. I then cut some lily pads out of green paper and made a few origami paper frogs. I thought that these might be quite tricky but there are lots of YouTube instruction videos and once you’ve done one they are actually pretty simple to fold. I’ll put a link in the comments for the one I used.

Tip – the smaller frogs jump better (these were from a square using half an A4 sheet).

Your child makes the frogs jump onto the lily pads. Whatever lily pad the frog lands on or near they read the word. Easily adapted for phase by adapting the words you write. You could have initial letters or tricky words. I wrote some Phase 4 words on them as the words ‘frog’, ‘jump’ ‘green’ ‘swim’ ‘float’ all have adjacent consonants and fit the theme. Another brilliant activity to exercise fine motor muscles too πŸ‘πŸ»

Erase Away

Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the best.

One year I had to hide the erasers from my Year 1 class because they were absolutely obsessed with using them! Lots of children seem to love using an eraser and this activity gives them a chance to.

A completely adaptable activity for Phases 2-6. You could have initial sounds, digraphs and trigraphs, decodable words or tricky words. You say the sound or word and they rub it out.

Alternately you could write two words, one with a letter incorrectly formed, and your child spots the mistake and rubs out the incorrect one.

A super activity for children working in Phase 5 who are learning the alternate graphemes for the same phoneme, for example ‘ay’ as an alternate to ‘ai’. They can make their best bet decision and rub out the incorrect one. Children in Phase 6 could rub out the word where the spelling rules haven’t been applied correctly for adding a suffix, for example having the words ‘likeing’ and ‘liking’.

Phonics Race Track

This was actually really easy to make. I used two cereal boxes, a couple of bits of paper, masking tape and something to place the ramps on (I used another cardboard box). The starting ramps are the sides of the cereal boxes and the finish line is one of the ends.

Write some graphemes on each of the lanes. Lane 1 will be for the beginning phoneme, lane 2 the middle and Lane 3 the final phoneme. Using three toy cars your child puts the cars one by one down the ramp until they stop on or near a grapheme. Your child segments and blends the word that the three cars have created and then decides whether the word is a real word or a non word and records it on the sheet. Will the real or non words win the race?

Adapt the graphemes on the lanes appropraite to the phase your child is working in. For children in Phase 2 just have simple CVC words. Children in Phase 4 you could have 4 lanes in order to build words with adjacent consonants.

For children working on initial sounds the activity could be to identify the letter on the lanes and say the sound rather than build words. For children working in Phase 1 you could have pictures on the lanes and your child puts the car down the ramp and tells you the initial sound of the picture on the lane where the car has stopped.

Phonics Party

Lots of fun with this activity!

I wrote the graphemes for Set 1-3 of Phase 2 (s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k) on some balloons and used three small baskets to place the balloons in so that a word can be created. You say a word and your child hunts through the balloons to build the word in the baskets. Super activity to develop segmenting skills as they will need to keep segmenting the word in order to know which balloon they are looking for next.

For children working on recognising initial sounds then you can say a phoneme and they hunt for the corresponding balloon. Adapt for Phases 3-5 by altering the graphemes on the balloons and the number of baskets you have.

You can leave them to play with the balloons after and build words independently. They could record the words they make on a sheet of paper.

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Brush your phonics teeth

A really great activity to develop phonic knowledge but also a chance to discuss how to keep your teeth healthy and clean.

I drew an outline of a mouth onto card (I’ve attached a close up picture if you would like to use the template and print) and then placed it into a punched pocket. On the outside of the punched pocket I wrote some words on the teeth with felt tip pen. You could write initial letters, digraphs and trigraphs from Phase 3 or 5, decodable words or tricky words.

Using an old toothbrush your child says the phoneme or reads the word and then uses the brush to clean the word off. I put a small cup of water and a cotton wool pad out so that my son could dip the brush into the water to help wash the word away and the pad to soak up any excess. You could use a timer for this activity and give them 2 minutes (the amount of time they should brush their teeth) to read and clean away all of the words.

A super activity to develop fine motor control too πŸ‘πŸ»

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Message in a Bottle

This activity is great for children in Phase 2 and above who are practising segmenting and spelling words.

I made the treasure chest by covering a cardboard box in brown paper and drawing directly on to it. The chest, however, is not necessary to the activity so if you haven’t got the time or want to make one it’s not vital. I just made it for added decoration and to make the activity a little bit more attractive and engaging. I wrote some graphemes on some chocolate coins and drew some pictures on some bottle outlines. The graphemes on the coins and pictures on the bottle can be adapted for phase. I focused on spelling Phase 2 words.

Your child picks a bottle outline and identifies the picture. They segment the word and find the corresponding coins to build the word inside the bottle outline. They can then practise writing the word in the sand with their finger or a small paintbrush.

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Bouncy Buttons

I made the buttons by cutting circles from some cardboard and then folded strips of paper to make the springs. I taped one end of spring to the button and the other to an landscape A4 sheet of card. I then cut some A4 sheets of paper in half (landscape way) and wrote some words on the sheets. Place the word above the buttons and your child presses the bouncy button under each grapheme and says the phoneme. They then blend all the sounds together at the end. You could set this to a timer. How many words can they read in a minute?

I chose to make 4 sound buttons so that I could demonstrate reading words from Phase 4 with adjacent consonants. This phase might be the shortest of the phases, where no new phonemes are learnt, but it is a really important phase where children continue to practice the skill of segmenting and blending and learn to read words that have adjacent consonants (two consonants next to each that make two separate sounds). Developing this skill means that when your child is spelling they don’t miss out any letters, for example writing ‘fog’ for ‘frog’ or ‘wet’ for ‘went’. I also make sure that lots of the words I ask children to read in Phase 4 also include graphemes from Phase 3 in order to keep recapping i.e. sleep, train, clown.

Phonics ‘Spell’ings

A fun way to practise segmenting, blending and spelling words without using pen and paper!

I gathered a few empty bottles from the recycling and wrote some graphemes on the outside with marker pen. The graphemes can be adapted for the phase your child is in. I filled the bottles up with water and in some added a little food colouring too. I then made a couple of sheets for the spells by drawing pictures of the words that needed to be made. Your child looks at the picture on the sheet, segments the word and find the corresponding bottles to spell the word. They can then add some of the liquid from the bottles to their cauldron. Repeat with the other pictures.

A great activity to develop phonic knowledge and the spelling of words but also if you keep the lids on the bottles then unscrewing them is a super way to develop fine motor skills too. If you also put different coloured liquid into the bottles, when they add some to the cauldron, you can discuss colour mixing πŸ‘πŸ»

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Phase 5 Peg Wheel

This activity is specifically designed for children who are working in Phase 5 and learning the alternate graphemes for the same phoneme (different ways to spell the same sound). Year 1 children will learn these alternates throughout the year.

I divided a paper plate into 8 sections and wrote the graphemes for some of the Phase 3 phonemes within each section. I then wrote the alternate ways to spell that phoneme onto a peg, put a tick on the other side, and placed them all in a bag. The paper plate and pegs will need to be altered depending on what alternates your child has covered. Your child’s job is to pick a peg and peg it on to the paper plate next to the alternate graphemes. You could just start with one alternate in the bag and build up the pegs over time.

Once they have sorted all the pegs they can then use them to indicate their best bet decisions. I wrote a word on a piece of paper with three ways to spell it, only one of them correct. Your child uses their phonic knowledge (for example ‘ay’ is found at the end of the word not ‘ai) and chooses the correct peg from the wheel. They peg it next to the correctly spelt word showing the tick.

A great activity to exercise fine motor muscles too πŸ‘πŸ»

Quilt Quest

In the words of my son “This is the best game ever!”

Simply get a duvet, the bigger the better, and throw a load of letter or word cards inside. You could have initial sound cards, digraphs and trigraphs from Phase 3 or 5, decodable words or tricky words. Give the duvet a shake and then your child climbs inside. You say a sound or word and they hunt around to find it and bring it out.

You could also have grapheme cards inside and you say a word and your child has to find the corresponding cards to spell the word, for example you say the word ‘pat’ and they find the ‘p’, ‘a’, ‘t’ cards.

Adds a new level to a duvet day!

MEGA Word Building

If you have any Mega Bloks at home then turn them upside down and they can now act as phoneme frames.

Place out a few small cards with graphemes on. They will need to be small enough to fit in the sections of the block. You say a word and your child segments the word and finds the corresponding graphemes to build that word.

A block with two sections is perfect for children working in Phase 5 as they can build words with two phonemes and use the alternative graphemes that are often found at the end of words (ay, oy, ie, ew, ea, aw) for example spelling ‘say’ not ‘sai’ and ‘tie’ not ‘tigh’.

A block with four sections is perfect for children who are working in Phase 4 and learning to spell words with adjacent consonants. Try to include words that have Phase 3 phonemes too as a recap, for example the words ‘spark’, ‘spoil’ ‘brown’ and ‘float’.

You could also put out a blank sheet of paper and leave your child to build words independently and record them on the sheet.

Lists of words that you can use can be found at the back of each phase in the Letters and Sounds document.

Drip and Drop it!

An engaging activity that can easily be adapted for Phases 2-6.

I taped a piece of baking paper (parchment paper) to the table with masking tape. This type of paper is excellent for this activity as it can easily be written on, you can clearly see the words but it is water resistant so the writing washes away with the water.

You need to write the words on with felt tip not permanent marker. I chose to write some real and non-words (I’ll put a link to some past Year 1 screening papers in the comments where you can find some word lists). Your child reads through the words and using a calpol syringe (a small pipette would be ideal but I don’t have one) your child drips water on all the non-words. Use some kitchen towel or tissue to wipe up the excess. Now all the non words have disappeared!

Using the syringe or pipette is an excellent way to develop fine motor skills too πŸ‘πŸ»

You could play with initial letter sounds (like my son in the photos). You say the sound and they drip the water on the corresponding letter and wash it away. You could also do it with digraphs and trigraphs, decodable words or tricky words.

It works well for children working in Phase 5. You could have all the alternative Phase 5 graphemes on the baking paper. You hold up the Phase 3 grapheme and they wash away the alternative. Also, you could have words where some are spelt incorrectly, because it has the incorrect grapheme, like ‘tigh’ and ‘tie’, and they drip water on the incorrect ones.

Children in Phase 6 could have words where the suffix hasn’t been applied correctly, for example the words ‘dripping’ and ‘driping’ where the ‘p’ hasn’t been doubled and they wash away all the words that are incorrectly spelt.

Phonics Pinball

We made a pinball machine out of strips of cardboard, pots, and a large tray. I used duct and masking tape to secure everything to the tray and wrote some graphemes on the pots. The pots in the photo have Phase 5 graphemes on but adapt to suit the phase your child is working in. You will also need to create a list of words that use the graphemes on the pots.

Your child drops the ball at the top of the tray and leaves it to land in a pot. They then cross a word off the list that has that grapheme in. Segmenting and blending the word as they do. Repeat until you’ve crossed all the words off the list. Children learning initial sounds could just cross the corresponding letter off their sheet when the ball lands in a pot.

This could act as a problem solving exercise too. If there is a pot that the ball is not going in then how can they adapt the tray to make sure the ball does go in the pot.

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A great way to link phonics with a book and get children to use their developing phonics skills in context.

Sometimes children are excellent at decoding words during phonics games but then struggle to put it into practise when reading a book. This activity aims to bridge that gap and provide an opportunity to apply their decoding skills whilst reading a story.

Go through a familiar or favourite book and write some decodable words, appropriate for the phase your child is working in, on to small circles of paper (it doesn’t have to be circles they just create a better looking worm at the end). You can then place them all in an envelope to keep them together. If you don’t mind you can then attach the envelope to the inside of the front cover. Cut a worm shape out of old cardboard and put a strip of double sided tape down the middle.

Read through the book together first for pleasure and then on the second reading get your child to take out the words from the envelope and read through them. Explain that you are going to read the book again but this time they are hunting for these words too. When they spot the word in the book they can add the word to the bookworm. You’ve now created a super word bank for the book and each time they read the book they can spot those words.

Once your child is able to spot, segment and blend these words consistently you can replace the words in the envelope with different decodable words. You could also collect tricky words within the story instead.

For ‘Zog’ I wrote words with the suffix ‘ed’ ‘ing’ ‘est added so that children in Phase 6 could spot. The words for ‘The Scarecrows Wedding’ would suit Phase 4.

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Phonics Portrait Gallery

A really easy activity to set up and not only an activity to support developing phonic knowledge but a great way to prompt a discussion about diversity.

Simply cut out some photos of people from magazines and newspapers and write some descriptive words or small captions on small pieces of paper. You could even use family photographs. Try and make the images as diverse as possible. Your child segments and blends the words and matches it to a picture.

For children working in Phase 1 you could just use the images as an aid to develop speech, language and vocabulary or you ‘sound out’ some of the words and they match the word to the pictures.

You can extend this by writing longer captions like ‘long black hair’, full sentences like ‘She has short blond hair’ or several sentences to describe one picture.

Appropriate words for each phase might include:
Phase 2: red, lip, hat
Phase 3: hair, short, ears, earring, dark, cheek, fair, long, beard, ring, arm
Phase 4: black, brown, dress, skin, blond
Phase 5: shirt, grey, white, blue, nose, watch

Play the Ray

Draw out a very simple sun outline on paper and at the end of each ray write a grapheme. Adapt the graphemes according to phase. You say a word and your child moves the bottle top with their finger to the corresponding graphemes to spell that word. You could also have picture cards instead of someone saying a word.

For children working at identify the initial sounds you say the phoneme and they move the bottle top to the correct grapheme and then back to the centre. Repeat with the different phonemes.

To make it even more of a challenge you could put the sun outline under a punched pocket filled with some clear gel (I used some clear hair gel which was around 80p from Sainsburys). Put a coin inside the punched pocket and tape it all down to either the floor or a mat. The gel creates resistance to move the coin and acts as a great way to develop fine motor muscles.

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Lucky Dip Lunchbox

An exciting way to support segmenting and blending skills or for your child to identify initial sounds in words.

I used a lunchbox as it’s a perfect little bag to hold some folded paper. It also turns out that a blip in the B&M system meant I only paid 10p for it! So this really is a lucky lunchbox!

Write some words or initial sounds on small bits of paper, fold the paper and place them all into the lunchbox. You could also have folded bits of paper with nothing on to make it even more of a challenge to find what they need. Give your child a selection of objects that they need to find the word or initial sound of. Adapt the words on the paper and objects to suit the phase your child is working at.

Your child picks a piece of paper from the lunchbox, reads the word or says the phoneme and see if it matches their object. If it does place it next to the object and if it is not a match place the paper to the side. Continue until every object has a matching piece of paper.

Your could also play the game to support the reading of compounds words from Phase 4. Pick two pieces of paper and see if once they are combined they make a new word, for example ‘lunchbox’, ‘sandpit’, ‘pondweed’, ‘gift box’, ‘handstand’, ‘helpdesk’. Return the paper to the lunchbox if they don’t create a word.

Children in Phase 6 could pick two bits of paper out (one with a root word and one with a suffix). Decide if they need to apply a spelling rule for adding a suffix and then write the word down onto a sheet, i.e. pick ‘shake’ and ‘ing’ and then write ‘shaking’.

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Phonics Stargazing

A really inviting tray for the budding Astronomer. This activity can be used to support the learning of letter sounds, digraph and trigraph recognition, segmenting and blending of words or children working in Phase 5 could search for the alternative graphemes for the same phonemes. Just adapt it to suit your child.

I stuck some star stickers to a baking tray and wrote some words/letters on the stars. I chose to focus on words that contained the ‘ar’ for ‘star’ but I also did a tray with initial letters for my son. I used a kitchen towel roll to act as a telescope and I coloured some rice with black food colouring (if you add a little vinegar then the dye doesn’t come off on your hands). I then covered the tray with the rice.

Your child uses the telescope to hunt for the stars beneath the rice. Once they find one they say the phoneme or read the word. If you want to extend the activity you could put out some small pieces of paper and your child could write the word that they have found or write a sentence with that word in. I put out a ‘star jar’ for these to be collected in and some gold and silver pens. This made the writing more inviting for my son and he wanted to draw some of the letters he found.

They could search for real and non words on the stars and then write up the real words on the paper or children in Phase 5 could search for all the split digraph words amongst the other words that have the same phoneme but a different grapheme, for example words that contain a-e, ay, ai and then write up all the split digraph words.

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A Giant’s Giant Letter

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, I’ve found a letter! A giant one!A really fun and engaging way to prompt your child to use their phonic knowledge, recognise graphemes or words and develop fine motor control at the same time. Using a large piece of paper I wrote a letter as if from a giant. A rolled it up, and tied a piece of string around it and left it for my son to discover. Once he had found it we read the letter together. Depending on the phase your child is working at they could read some or all of the words independently. Put sound buttons under the words you want them to attempt. You can then encourage your child to circle specific graphemes or words within the letter, for example can they circle all of the ‘m’s’, all the words starting with ‘s’, all the tricky words or if your child is working in Phase 5 can they circle all the words where the ‘g’ is making a ‘j’ phoneme like in ‘giant’ and ‘magic’? My son circled all the g’s using green highlighter and then decided he wanted to circle the t’s in purple, a’s in orange and e’s in blue to show the giant how good he was at letters and sounds.You could also play this like the ‘Sleepy Sentences’ activity (search this in the search bar to find out more). Your child corrects all the mistakes in the letter. If you stick the letter on the wall for your child to circle the words or letter this acts as great way to prompt vertical mark making. This type of mark making develops gross motor skills by using big arm movements, strengthens shoulder and arm muscles and puts your child’s wrist in an extended position which supports pencil grip. Your child might then be motivated to write a letter back to the Giant afterwards.

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Release the Rhyme

A fun way to not only encourage your child to use their decoding skills but also recall nursery rhymes and use their pincer grip.Find a few items around the house that represent a nursery rhyme. I found:
Rubber Duck – 5 Little Ducks
Toy Spider – Incy Wincy
Spoon – Hey Diddle Diddle
Plastic Fish – 1,2,3,4,5
Toy Farmer – Old McDonald

Place the items under some cups and boxes (something you can’t see through) and then tape them down to a table or floor using masking tape. On the strips of masking tape write some decodable or tricky words from the rhyme that the item underneath represents. Adapt the words according to the phase your child is working at.Your child now reads the word on the strip and once they have read it can take off the masking tape. Taking off the tape is a great way to support fine motor skills. If they can tell you the nursery rhyme that the words are from before looking underneath they get to keep the object. If they can’t then you keep the object. Who will end up with the most items? Can your child release all the rhymes?For children working in Phase 1 you can ‘sound out’ some of the words for your child to blend and then recall the rhymes together once the item has been released. In the picture the words for each rhyme would be appropriate for:

5 Little Ducks – Phase 5
Twinkle Twinkle and Incy Wincy – Phase 4 because of the tricky words.
Hey Diddle Diddle and Old McDonald – Phase 3

Search and Circle

I bought these stickers from Poundland and thought they would be great to use as part of a ‘I Spy’ style game. You can play this game with any set of picture stickers just choose ones with words that are decodable for the phase your child is working in. I chose some of the stickers with words that are decodable mainly for Phase 4 (see word list below) and stuck them onto a A4 sheet of paper. If you then put the sheet inside a punched pocket your child can use a whiteboard marker to circle the stickers and the circles will rub away and you can reuse the sheet. Write some corresponding captions and sentences to match the stickers on separate strips of paper. Your child selects a strip of paper, reads the caption or sentence and then puts a circle around the matching sticker.For children in Phase 1 you could ‘sound out’ some of the words for your child to then find the corresponding sticker. A super way to develop vocabulary and practise using a chunky pen to draw circles. Using a punched pocket means that you can store all of the caption/sentence strips inside the pocket and you can come back to the activity at a later date. A perfect independent activity during Guided Reading or within your continuous provision.The words on the caption/sentence strips that I used would suit:
Phase 2: hat, cap, red, big,
Phase 3: long, fish, sharp, teeth, pair, boots, short, nail polish, lipstick, with
Phase 4: brown, monster, pink, green, dragon, jumping,
Phase 5: spotty, white, nose, blue, skirt.

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Castle Quest

A fun and engaging way to sort graphemes or words. They don’t have to be real or non-word castles it could be sorting words that contain different graphemes like ‘ar’ and ‘ur’, alternative graphemes for the same phoneme like ‘oa’ and ‘oe’ or have picture cards and sort according to the initial sounds. I made these castles by turning a couple of boxes inside out and taping them back up with masking tape. I cut out some turrets at the top and a door to make a drawbridge. I then just used a skewer and a couple of bits of string attached to the drawbridge so that by twisting the skewer the drawbridge could move up and down. I attached a couple of paper feathers to two other skewers to make a couple of arrows.On the leftover cardboard I wrote a selection of real and non-words. I took these from a past Year 1 screening paper. You can find these online. Your child uses the arrow skewer to pick up a word card. They read the word and decide whether it needs to go in the non-word castle or the real word castle. They can then lower the drawbridge and place it in the correct castle. Repeat for all the words. A couple of short boomerang videos of the drawbridge in action can be found in the comments πŸ‘‡πŸ»For my son we had a letter castle and a number castle. He really enjoyed using the skewer to pick up the cards and loved making the drawbridge go up and down. We can also keep the castles to continue with small world role play and reuse at a later date with a different focus.

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Duplo Phonics

We’re spending the day indoors today as it is pretty wet outside and we’ve spent most of the morning building things out of Duplo. I just wanted to demonstrate a couple of ways that you can use Duplo to support phonic knowledge too other than writing or sticking graphemes on the blocks and building words.➑️ Use Duplo windows to create a phoneme frame. If you’ve got some Duplo characters or blocks with pictures on you can use these too. Your child could pick an object and build the word into the frame. They could then shut the windows and as they open them say the phoneme and blend the sounds together to form the word. Alternatively, you make a word in the frame and then your child opens the windows, says the phonemes and blends the sounds together and finds the correct object. If your child is working in Phase 1, like my son, you could say the sounds as they open the windows and then they blend the sounds together and find the right object. ➑️ If you’ve got a Duplo train put a couple of blocks onto the carriages where you can slot a grapheme card. You’ll also need a Duplo bridge. As your child pulls the train, and either goes through the tunnel or passes the bridge, they look at the grapheme, say the corresponding phoneme and then blend all the sounds together to form the word.

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Calculate a Word

Did you know it is not just the numbers 5318008 that make a word on a calculator?! πŸ˜‚For this activity put out a selection of numbers that your child needs to type into the calculator (you’ll need to use a traditional one rather than one on a phone) and then read the word when they look at the calculator upside down. A nice way to expose children to different prints and a chance to talk about capital letters. 8 and 3 will create a capital ‘B’ and ‘E’ but you could explain that the calculator is very old and doesn’t know that capitals should only be used at the beginning of sentences and for names. You could then give your child a piece of paper to correct the word by writing it all in lower case. A perfect cross curricular activity. You could also extend this further by getting your child to solve a calculation and the answer is the word.

The numbers in the photo would suit:

Phase 2: 663, 618, 637, 7738, 5508, 5514
Phase 3: 77345, 4614, 7108
Phase 4: 8078, 55378, 3376
Phase 5: 38076, 3704

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Give a Dog a Bone

This activity is focused on reading real and non-words. Children will be asked to read a list of real and non-words during the Year 1 Screening Check and those children that missed it in Year 1 this year will be assessed using a previous check later in the Autumn term.Asking children to read non-words can seem a little odd and some might think pointless. However, it can act as a great tool to check your child’s phonic knowledge. If they have retained all the graphemes taught and developed secure decoding skills they should have a good go at reading any word whether real or made up.This activity is just a fun, practical way for children to practise the skill of decoding ready for the check but can easily be adapted to suit Phase 2 and above. I used the left over dog bones from the ‘Dino Dig’ activity I posted a while back. On each of the bones I wrote some real and non-words. I used the 2019 Phonics Screening Check word list for this (I’ll post a link below). I placed them all in the bottom of a cardboard box and then covered with some tea leaves from a few old teabags to act as mud. I then found two soft toy dogs and I bought these little dog bowls from Poundland (I’ll definitely use these again so a good purchase).Your child now picks a bone, reads the word, decides whether it is real or made up and then places it in the corresponding bowl. I often get children to check to see if they can put the word into a sentence that makes sense. If they can then it’s a real word.

A few tips that I thought of as I was setting the activity up:
1. The bottom or top of an old box (toy, parcel or game) acts as a great sensory tray.
2. The dog bones were a great buy as they were really cheap and I’ve now used them in two activities and still lots leftover. 3. Setting up an activity in a different place can really engage and motivate children. Try setting up on the door mat, kitchen sink or bottom step of the stairs instead of the usual table.

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Ce’real’ and Non Words

Another way to get in some real or non word reading practise in a fun, practical and inexpensive way. However, the activity can easily be adapted to sort other words or graphemes for those children that are not at this stage yet. Children are asked to read a selection of real and non words as part of the Phonics Screening Check taken at the end of Year 1. Schools might also use past papers as an assessment tool throughout the year. For this activity I used the words from the 2017 check. I’ll put a link to the paper below. Using some small cereal boxes I cut out the mouths of the characters on the front of the packet. I then wrote the real and non words onto small pieces of cardboard and placed them in a bowl to look like cereal. Decide which of the boxes will collect real words and which will collect non-words. Your child uses a spoon to select a word, reads it, decides whether it’s a real or a non word and then feeds the word to the correct character. My son, who is showing an interest in letters and their sounds, sorted letters from numbers. Children could sort words that contain certain phonemes instead or those working in Phase 5 could sort words that have the Phase 3 grapheme from the Phase 5 alternative like ‘ee’ and ‘ea’.

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Building Skyscrapers

A fun, practical activity that not only supports phonic knowledge but is an ideal way to develop counting skills, addition and the understanding of measurement. All you need is two dice, a sheet of paper and some building blocks. I made one dice out of a favour box and wrote the Phase 2 tricky words on each face. You could just put a sticker or masking tape on a normal dice instead. The other dice just needs to be a normal one. On the sheet of paper draw a space to build a tower for each word. Your child rolls both dice. They read the word and then puts the number of blocks on the corresponding place on the sheet of paper. So if they roll ‘no’ and the number ‘4’ they put 4 blocks on the ‘no’ skyscraper.

Easily adapted to suit each phase. I played with letters of the alphabet with my son. You could play with tricky words from a different phase, decodable words or digraphs and trigraphs from Phase 3. Children in Phase 5 you could have Phase 3 graphemes on the dice and the Phase 5 alternatives on the sheet and they build the tower on the corresponding alternative grapheme, so roll ‘ee’ and build a tower on ‘ea’.

Which skyscraper will be the tallest when all the blocks run out? Which will be the shortest? How many blocks do you have on each skyscraper?

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Paw Print Paths

A really easy one to set up if you just have a spare bit of cardboard or you can do a smaller version on an A4 sheet instead. Great way to help children to recognise graphemes (letters or combination of letters) and then read words that contain these. You could focus on graphemes that can often get mixed like ‘ar’, ‘or’ and ‘ur’ from Phase 3 or a nice way to support children in learning the alternative graphemes for the same phoneme learnt in Phase 5 like the ‘ear’ in ‘bear’, ‘are’ in ‘share’ and ‘air’ in ‘chair’. For younger children you could focus on drawing a path of CVC rhyming words or just letters of the alphabet.

All you need is a fairly large piece of cardboard. If you open out a box you can use the sides and bottom. Draw lots of paw prints and then in each print write a word or letter. At one end of the cardboard sheet place three teddy bears (have fewer or more depending on your focus). To demonstrate I focused on some alternative graphemes for the same phoneme (ear, air, are) and wrote corresponding words inside the paw prints. You’ll then need three honey pots with the focus graphemes on them (I drew and cut these out of card too) and put these at the other end of the cardboard. Your child selects a honey pot, identifies the grapheme and then finds and reads all the words that contain that grapheme. So, for example, they select the ‘air’ honey pot and find words with this grapheme in (chair, stair, pair, hair etc) connecting the prints as they go. This will then create a path to a bear at the other end and will guide them to which one to give the honey pot to.

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Mission to Mars

A really fun, engaging and practical activity that is super easy to set up and can be adapted to suit your child and the phase they are working.

You will need a strip of cardboard with some spaces drawn out. I made 10 spaces which meant 10 words needed to be found on our mission to Mars. I drew out some little rockets on some post it notes and inside each one I wrote a word. Hide the notes around the house. On a red plate (Mars), at the end of the cardboard strip, I put a mini Mars bar. You could have anything that your child considers to be a treat. It could be extra screen time, a chocolate coin or house point. Just anything that will motivate them to find and read the words. We had a mini Mars as I called the game ‘Mission to Mars’.

Your child now hunts around the house to find the notes. They read them and place them on the strip as they find them. Once all 10 have been found they start at the bottom of the strip and re-read all the words until they reach the treat at the top!I demonstrated here with ‘ar’ words from Phase 3 as in ‘Mars’. I then played the game with my son using simple CVC words made up of Phase 2 Set 1 and 2 letters. He absolutely loved this and wanted to play again! I can’t see why?!

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Time to Indicate

I just love a bit of cardboard and some clothes pegs! Perfect to support phonic knowledge and develop fine motor skills at the same time. Here’s another activity just using these two items and another way to encourage children to identify the digraphs (two letters that make one sound) and trigraphs (three letters that make one sound) within words.

I cut a long strip of cardboard and wrote the Phase 3 graphemes down the middle. Adapt this for the phase your child is working. I then cut a couple of arrows out of some more card and stuck them to clothes pegs. I wrote some words that contained these graphemes onto some more spare card and divided the pile into two.

Your child selects a card from the right pile. They read the word and identifies the digraph/trigraph within that word and pegs the arrow on the right side of the board indicating the grapheme. So they select the word ‘hair’ and point the arrow to the ‘air’ trigraph using the arrow on the right . They then take a card from the left hand pile and do the same with the peg on the left of the board. Keep taking cards and moving the arrows both on the right and the left until they have read all the words. A great way to develop fine motor muscles on both hands. As an extra challenge you could set this to a timer. Can they read all the words and indicate to the graphemes in 5 minutes? Two minutes? Or beat their time when they try again? In order to simplify this you could just have the one arrow that needs to be moved or don’t set it to a timer. You could also play the game with children working on identifying initial sounds. Have pictures instead of word cards and letters of the alphabet down the middle of the board. Alternatively they could take the board around the house and find objects and indicate to the corresponding initial sound by moving the peg.

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The Goal is Blending

Blending is complex to master and takes lots of practise. It involves the skill of identify the graphemes and their corresponding sounds and then merging these sounds together in order to form the whole word.

I made this for my son who is now confident at Phase 1 oral blending. He can now listen to the sounds when I say them and merge them together to say the word. The next step is to practise looking at letters on a page, saying the sounds and blending them together independently. This takes lots and lots and lots of practise.

You can start with VC words such as ‘at’ and ‘in’ and then move on to CVC words. These are words that have a consonant sound, a vowel sound and then a consonant sound (so not necessarily three letter words).I made this football goal board in order to give my son the chance to practise this skill. All it uses is some cardboard, a lollipop stick, a split pin and some string. I drew and cut out a football, glued a split pin on the back and then stuck it onto a lolly stick. The pin is to create a gap between the stick and ball. I cut out a ball path along a long strip of cardboard, drew some footballers and made a goal.

My son can now move the football along the path, bouncing it on the footballers heads, and say the sounds on the back of their shirts. He can then blend all the sounds together as the ball goes into the goal.

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Cracked Egg Phonics

I made these by just cutting sections out of paper plates but you could always just use paper circles. There are several ways you can do this depending on age and phase. You can have a word on one piece and a picture on the other, you can have a piece with a missing grapheme and then find the rest of the egg to complete the word or for younger children, working in Phase 2, you could have the middle sound missing and the rest of the letters alongside a picture to help them. Nursery and preschool you could help read the word, sounding it out and then your child finds the matching picture. For slightly older children once you’ve created this you can let them get on and fix the eggs independently and give you some time to do other things πŸ‘πŸ»

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Cake Tin Phonics

Sort the words into the cake tin. A great way to support the recognition of word families and rhyme. Also a super way for children working in Phase 5 to recognise the different ways that we can write the same sound (different graphemes for the same phoneme). In this picture I used three different ways (ai like in pain, ay like in day and split digraph a_e like in cake). Once your child is working in Phase 5 they will learn lots of different ways to write the same sound among them it will include:
oa, ow, oe, o_e
igh, ie, i_e
ee, ea, e_e
or, aw
oi, oy

Once you’ve sorted the word cards, throw a coin and read the word where the coin lands.

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Cheerio Phonics

*other hooped cereals are available πŸ˜‚

A great way to prompt the reading of ‘oo’ words. Remember in Phase 3 you teach the two sounds that ‘oo’ can make i.e the ‘oo’ sound like in moon and the ‘oo’ sound like in book. Down one side of the sheet I wrote words that contain the long sound and down the other words that contain the short sound. Once you’ve created all the words your child can add all the sound buttons and read them.

Challenge – Older children can then write a sentence with each of the words in.

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Post It Note Phonics

Two games for the price of one post! Both using post it notes.

1. Missing Middles
A selection of words with the middle grapheme written on a post it note. Children have to work to fill in the missing middle grapheme of the words. The challenge here is that they have to check that each word is a real word when they put in the post it by segmenting and blending the word.

2. Phonics Pelmanism.
The aim is to find matching pairs. If the pair does not match they replace the post it note and have to remember where the graphemes are. Adapt for age and phase. You could just use graphemes from the phase you are working on or words. Children working in Phase 2 could just be initial letters or CVC words. Works best if you use a grid of 20 post it notes so they can find 10 pairs.

I used the mini post it notes for both games.

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Missing Word Phonics

Using a favourite book stick some small bits of paper (post it notes or paper with blu tac) over some of the phonetically decodable words appropriate to your child’s age and phase. As you read through the book your child can point to the missing word on the sheet or older children can write the missing word themselves. I also made some blank speech bubbles so you can work together to write a speech bubble for some of the characters or again older children can write their own.

Challenge – start to understand and use capital letters and full stops in sentence writing.

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Phonics C-ar P-ar-t-s

If you are willing, let your child label your car! This offers them a real motivation to write and the chance to apply their developing phonic knowledge.

For pre school children and those working in Phase 2 you can orally segment the word on the post it for them and they try and blend the sounds together to find out where to put it. For those working within Phase 3 and above they can have a good go at writing the labels independently. I would expect them to have a phonetically plausible attempt at writing all the words, so for a child working in Phase 3 writing ‘weel’, ‘windoa’ and ‘seet’ is great. πŸ‘πŸ» They have used their phonic knowledge appropriate to the phase they are in.

Those in Phase 2 I would expect them to be able to write ‘mat’ and ‘fan’ correctly. Children in Phase 3 the words ‘light’, ‘boot’, ‘gear stick’ ‘chair’ and Phase 5 ‘window’, ‘seat belt’ ‘steering wheel’ ‘hand brake’ ‘head rest’ and ‘indicator’.

Obviously this activity needs supervision as I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of children accidently releasing the hand brake!

It doesn’t have to be a car you label. It could be a bike, outdoor play equipment, or even items around the living room. Children just become really motivated to write using a post it note and sticking it on somewhere unusual!

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Phonics Code Breaker

One for the slightly older children in Year 1 and 2 to try and do independently. I made this using two paper plates, a split pin and cut two small holes. You can easily make it with paper and string in the middle if you haven’t got plates and pins. Once you’ve made the code breaker you can write any message. Here I did different categories of things that once they’ve cracked the code they can add sound buttons and read the words πŸΈ You can work together with younger children to match the symbols and read the words together.

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Paper Aeroplane Phonics

Nursery and pre-school children you read the word and they blend the sounds together and attempt to land the aeroplane at the corresponding airport. Older children can read the words themselves. Alternatively for older children draw the picture on the aeroplane and then they attempt to land the aeroplane on the grapheme that is in the word i.e ar for star.

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Sorting Dinosaurs

Another way to particularly engage boys with phonics. Although lots of girls love dinosaurs too!πŸ¦•

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Missing Graphemes

Another easy one to put together. You don’t have to have a plastic fork just anything that is small, easy to move and can be written on (stone, button, chocolate coin). Great one for children working in Phase 3 and especially children in Year 1 who are asked to read real and non-words during the screening test at the end of the year (although I’m sure, like other exams, this won’t go ahead this year). Reading these types of words really checks whether your child has taken on board the phonics that has been introduced.

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Race through Space

I made this game for children working in Phase 5 who are learning that different graphemes (letters and combinations of letters) can make the same phoneme (sound) but this activity can easily be adapting to suit children working in Phase 2-4 by adapting the words.

I concentrated on the ‘c’ grapheme making a ‘s’ sound in words. In split digraph words if they see a ‘c’ in the middle it most likely will be making a ‘s’ sound like in space, race, spice, dice.

Using a folded black bin bag I wrote on some real and non-words using a silver permanent marker. You could stick on small bits of masking tape with the words or just write on normal paper. Make a trail of real words first running from one side of the bag to the other. Then add the rest of the words which need to be non-words. Cover each word with an asteroid (stone).You can also add other stones with no word underneath to act as a decoy.

The aim is for your child to make a path through the asteroids to get to the other side. They pick up an asteroid and read the word underneath. If it is a non-word or no word underneath they replace the asteroid. If it is a real word they can remove the asteroid.

Word Rescue

A really fun and interactive way to encourage your child to identify letters or read words.

You’ll need some old plastic bottles and some small objects that float. I used some small building blocks and cut out small bits of plastic from a grapes container and milk bottle lids. You could use small Lego pieces. Just check the objects float before using them. Write some letters or words on the small objects appropriate to the phase your child is working at. They could be initial letters, decodable words or tricky words. Place the small objects inside the bottles. Your child’s job is to rescue the letters/words by pouring water into the bottles and letting the object float to the top. Your child reads the words or say the sound as it reaches the top. I put a bit of blue food colouring into the water too just for added fun.

You could extend this by having words for your child to rescue that they then have to arrange into a sentence.

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Catch a fly

Using strips of cellotape between table legs or a doorway create a sticky spider’s web. You could also use double sided tape on a window. The sticky side needs to face out towards your child. Write some words on small bits of card appropriate to the phase your child is working at. I attached a paper clip to each just to add a bit of weight to them. The word cards are now the flies. You child segments and blends the word and throws it towards the sticky tape aiming to catch the fly in the spider’s sticky web.

I focused all the words on different graphemes for the phoneme ‘igh’ taught in Phase 5.

‘igh’ as in ‘night’ taught in Phase 3
‘ie’ as in ‘tie’
Split digraph ‘i_e’ as in ‘time’
‘i’ as in ‘find’
‘y’ as in ‘fly’

For younger children you could have initial letters taught in Phase 2 or just the letters they find in their name.

Phonics Through the Looking Glass

A engaging way to encourage children to apply their phonic knowledge in their writing.

I placed some objects with words that are easily decodable (box, sheep, boat, book etc) on the other side of a window. The objects will need to be adapted depending on phase. Your child looks through the window and writes on the window what they can see. They could use whiteboard marker, bath crayons or a chunky felt tip for this. Just please check it’s not permanent before they start! For the objects that you’ve put out your child should be able to decode the word and have a good go at spelling it correctly. They could then move on to writing words for other things that they can see through the glass and have a phonetically plausible attempt at writing the word, for example a child in Phase 3 writing ‘clowd’ or ‘skigh’ would be a fantastic try.

You could also do the activity like a spot the difference game. They close their eyes and then you take away an object. They then spot what object is missing and write it on the window.

It’s fun wiping the writing off too.

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Jedi Phonics

I used a small glow stick for a lightsaber and stuck some graphemes on the wall with some masking tape in a room that’s fairly dark. I wrote these in orange highlighter so they would stand out. You could spread them around a bit more to make the activity more physical too. You say a word, your child segments the word and touches the corresponding cards with their lightsaber saying the phoneme as they do. Adapt the graphemes cards for the phase your child is working in. For younger children you could have initial letter cards, you say a phoneme (sound) and they touch the matching grapheme (letter).

Give us a clue!

These were really easy to make and set up. In fact I would say probably one of the easiest out of all the activities I’ve posted. All you need in paper, pen, scissors and some envelopes. The activity requires your child to read the clues and slide paper to either reveal the answer or make the answer. I’ve pictured two different ways that you can do this.

1. I sealed an envelope and cut down the left hand side. Insert a piece of paper slightly wider than the envelope so you have a handle to pull. On the front of the envelope write some clues to the word inside. On the paper inside I wrote the word into a phoneme frame so as your child pulls the paper to reveal the answer they segment the word correctly. Easily adapted for phase. I’ve showed an example for each phase including those working in Phase 1 where they can listen for the initial sound in all the pictures.

2. Using strips of paper your child slides the paper through the frame to make the word. I’ve used split digraph words here. Your child reads the clue, decides the answer and then makes the word by sliding the strips up and down. You can adapt the frame for whatever phase your child is working. The last picture I’ve posted shows where you needs to make cuts along the frame so that you can insert the paper strips.

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Phonics and the Chocolate Factory

Lots of different things that your child can do in this activity to support their developing phonic knowledge.

I made chocolate play dough by adding cocoa powder to the normal no cook recipe (you can find this on Google). Your child can then use this to make chocolates to go into the trays or cakes to go in the cases. You say a phoneme and they place it into the correct section or say a word and they segment it placing the chocolates on top of the corresponding graphemes they need to spell the word.

Using icing tubes or a paintbrush into hot chocolate powder they can write words or form letters. You could place out some chocolates bar wrappers so they can read them and write the names too. They could also make sound buttons using the play dough to put under words on cards.

Easily adaptable for each phase by using different word cards and different graphemes inside the chocolate trays or cupcake cases. The chocolate bars in the picture are appropriate for the following phases.
Phase 2- Kit Kat, Picnic
Phase 3 – Mars Bar, Fingers
Phase 4 – Snickers
Phase 5 – Flake, Twirl, Milk Tray

A great activity to develop fine motor skills too πŸ‘πŸ»

Phonics ‘I Spy’ Bottles

These bottles are absolutely brilliant as they are simple to put together, are so tactile and incredibly versatile. All you need is a plastic bottle, a selection of small objects that fit inside and some dry rice.

There are so many ways that you can use the bottle depending on the phase of phonics your child is working at and whether you want to focus on reading or writing.

For pre school children you can play the classic game of ‘I spy’ with the bottle. You say a sound and your child shakes the bottle to find an object that starts with that sound. You can adapt the objects in the bottle by theme and your child names all the objects they spot and so this develops their vocabulary i.e. things you find in the garden, dinosaurs or transport.

For a reading focus give your child a list of the objects that can be found in the bottle and they tick the item off the list as they find them.

For a writing focus your child shakes the bottle and writes a list of everything they can see.

For both a reading and writing focus you could provide them with a list with missing words. Your child fills in the blanks.

Adapt the objects inside the bottle so they are appropriate for the phase your child is working at. The bottle in the photo would be appropriate for children working in Phase 4 as it includes ‘pink flower’, ‘brown pen’, ‘toothbrush’ ‘paint brush’, ‘silver coin’, and ‘red lipstick’.

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Phonics Quiz

A really simple game to set up and play. Provide your child with a list of words that use the graphemes that they have covered. The list in the picture is suitable for children that are working in Phase 4 and learning to read words with adjacent consonants at the beginning. The words also include Phase 3 graphemes in order to recap those too. They also will need an answer sheet.

You give them a clue/question to the word they are looking for. They look and read the words on the list and write their answer next to the appropriate number. Mix it up so they have to look at all the words not just give a clue to each word in order of the list. You could also have the words cut out and they just place them in the correct order rather than writing. For the words on my list the clues might be:

1. If something doesn’t sink then it does this.
2. You have to use these to go up to bed.
3. This can be found growing in the garden.
4. If the sky has no clouds then it is often called this type of day.
5. Lots of houses can be found on this. You walk down it to get to the shop.
6. This person can be found at the circus.
7. Cars race on this.
8. You might follow this on a woodland walk.

Go through the answers once you have finished and your child can give themselves a big tick after every correct answer βœ…

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Pudding Pot Phonics

In a similar vein to the Balloon activity but  done on a smaller scale using ball pit balls if you have them and don’t mind writing on a few. You could use masking tape instead.

Write some graphemes on a few of the balls and place them into a bowl. Using three pudding pots i.e. ramakins, GU pots that you might have stored in the cupboard or just three yogurt pots, say a word and your child hunts for the corresponding balls to build the word into the pots.

For children working on CVCC or CCVC words in Phase 4 (frog, fresh, clap, went, silk) then you could use four pudding pots or perhaps an egg box. I found a cardboard holder that we had from a Playdough set. Perfect as it had 4 holes to place the balls and build the words.

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Snack Pack Words

Lots of you might have some of these snack pots in the recycling. I think they are a cute little container and a perfect pot to store grapheme cards for word building.

This activity is suited to children in Phase 2 providing them with an opportunity to develop their phonological awareness and help them learn about word families and rhyme. Understanding these are key to developing strong spelling skills.

In the first section of the pot I placed single letters on cards (the onset of the word) and in the second section I wrote a selection of word families (at, in, ot, og, ig). You will need a blank grid where the words can be placed. Your child picks a card from each section. Segments and blends it and then places it in the correct column according to the word family it belongs to. If the cards they pick form a non-word or a word they already have they place the cards back.

Your child can collect the cards onto the grid or write them. Once they have found as many real words as they can they read through their lists. This will develop their understanding of rhyme. Can they think of another word that they could add and therefore continue a rhyming string? This is an important skill to learn within the Early Years and beyond.

Treasure Island Phonics

For this activity I used sellotape to tape some word cards to the bottom of a tray. I used the real and non-words from the ‘Walk the Plank’ activity earlier but you could use initial letters, decodable words from the appropriate phase or tricky words. I taped across the whole card so that it wouldn’t get destroyed by the sand.

I created a quick treasure map (stained paper with a teabag) and then drew a route across the map. At each stop along the route I wrote a word that needed to be found. I wrote ten of the words from the cards stuck on the tray.

Cover all the words with sand and now your child’s job is to use the map to find out which word they are searching for. They dig around, find the word and cross it off their map. This activity can act as a memory game too if they cover the word over with sand if it’s not the word they are looking for. They can then try and remember where the word is when they need to cross it off.

If you want to make the activity have more of a writing focus they could search for the real words amongst non words and record a real word on the treasure map instead.

My son was really lucky to get a Duplo Pirate ship for his birthday last year but again, along with the treasure chest, it is not necessary for the activity. You just need a tray, word cards, sand and a map.

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Split Digraph Highlighter

A super simple, quick and easy activity to set up.

It is aimed at children who are learning to recognise, segment and blend split digraph words. You might find that your child can easily read split digraph words on cards that have the sound buttons on but when it comes to reading them in a book they ‘sound out’ all the graphemes including the ‘e’ at the end. The word ‘like’ becomes ‘l-i-k-e’ instead of ‘l-ie-k’. In the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check children will need to be able to identify split digraph words and decode them correctly

Give your child a selection of magazines, leaflets, books that you don’t mind being written in, menus and any junk mail that you might have and a set of highlighters. They go through the pages, spot and highlight all the split digraph words. This way you are providing them with the opportunity to spot the words without sound buttons on. Once they’ve finished you can go back through the words together and discuss any mistakes they might have made, for example highlighting tricky word such as ‘some’ and ‘one’ that have the ‘e’ at the end but are not split digraph.

Lots of marking policies in Schools may include using a selection of different coloured highlighters so your child might enjoy having the chance to use them and play ‘teacher’.

Eat the Alternates

Another activity for children in Phase 5 who are learning the alternate spellings for the same phoneme and what better motivation than getting to eat some treats!

I created some cards with the Phase 3 graphemes on and then wrote the alternate graphemes for that phoneme across a couple of sheets of paper. I placed the smarties under each of the graphemes and they act like a sound button. Your child picks a card and says the phoneme. They then find all the alternate spellings for that phoneme and get to eat all of the treats underneath.

For children working in Phase 2-4 you could just have smarties under graphemes. You say the sound and they eat the corresponding treat. You could also place out the smarties like sound buttons. They press each of the buttons segment the word, blend the word together and then get to eat the treats.

The treat can be whatever your child enjoys.


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Phonics Coin Hockey

A really easy activity to set up and a really fun and interactive way to develop phonics skills. A brilliant way to exercise those fine motor muscles too.

I taped a grid onto a table using masking tape. On two different coloured post it notes I wrote some graphemes. Down one side of the grid I put all the green post it notes and down the other all the yellow. These indicate whether to choose a beginning, middle or final phoneme. I then stuck a small bit of masking tape on three coins and coloured two of them green and one yellow (green is for the beginning and final phoneme and yellow for the middle).

Your child’s job is to flick the coins across the table in turn. Start with a green coin and wherever it lands they look at the green post it note and this will indicate the beginning phoneme. You could have two post it notes on some sections so your child could choose between them. Flick the yellow coin and wherever it lands indicates the middle phoneme from the yellow posts its and finally the other green coin will indicate the final phoneme. They are working to build CVC words (remember CVC doesn’t necessarily mean three letters. The word ‘sheep’ is a CVC word as it has a consonant digraph, vowel digraph and consonant digraph).

Your child creates a CVC word, blends the sounds together and decides if it is a real or non-word and records it on the sheet. Reading non words is a great tool to check grapheme recognition and practise the skills of segmenting and blending. If a child has developed good phonic knowledge then they can use this knowledge to read both real and nonsense words. Which type of words will win the game?

Adapt the graphemes on the post its for phase. The game in the photo is for children working in Phase 3. For children in Phase 2 they could build simple three letter CVC words and those in Phase 5 you could use the alternative graphemes for the same sound on the yellow post it notes for example aw, ir, ie.

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Phonics Simon Says…

A really easy one to set up. All you need is a few items and toys from around the house and some instructions written on a few strips of paper and placed in a pot. A great game to develop speech and language and understanding of imperative (bossy) verbs and positional words.

Easily adapted for all the phases by using different objects and writing different sentences. See the Facebook post for a word list that I made with a few ideas of objects, toys and words that are appropriate for each phase. If your child is in Phase 4, for example, then you can use a combination of all the words from Phase 2, 3 and 4.

Children working in Phase 1 you could read the sentence ‘sounding out’ some of the simple words for your child to blend together but it’s also a super way to introduce and develop vocabulary.

I’ve shown an example in the photos of an instruction that would suit Phase 2 – 5.

You could leave out some blank paper strips and your child could attempt to write their own instructions. Children working in Phase 6 could do this instead of reading the instructions.

Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom πŸ§Ή

Is there room on the broom for a word like me?

For all the lovers of the Julie Donoldson story this is a super activity based on the book that will support and extend phonic knowledge.

I drew a cauldron outline on a large piece of paper and wrote a selection of graphemes inside. I chose to focus on the two different phonemes for ‘oo’, like ‘oo’ in ‘room’ and ‘oo’ in ‘book’. I wrote the focus (oo) inside a box. Your child’s task would be to write as many words using the ‘oo’ grapheme onto post it notes and then stick them onto the broom. Can they fill up the broom with words? Is there enough ‘room on the broom’ for all of the post it notes?

Adapt the graphemes written in the cauldron for the phase your child is working in. Children in Phase 2 could write as many words as they can that rhyme with ‘cat’ and ‘dog’. Children in Phase 4 could build words that start with the adjacent consonants ‘fr’ like the word ‘frog’. Children in Phase 5 could build as many words with the ‘ir’ grapheme, like ‘bird’ or words that use the ‘tch’ for ‘witch’.

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Incy Wincy Phonics

I’ve seen this game used with a Maths focus but I thought it can easily be adapted to support phonic knowledge and make reading word cards a little more fun.

I made the spout out of a long bit of cardboard and drew a sun picture at the top. I cut out a spider from cardboard and taped it to a peg. I then attached the whole thing to a wall using masking tape but you could attach it to a window with tape or just play it on the floor.

I then wrote some word cards. I focused on words that use a combination of two Phase 3 graphemes. Adapt the word cards according to phase. I also made four cards with the word ‘rain’ on. Shuffle all the cards and make a pile.

Your child takes a card from the pile. Segments and blends the word and moves the spider up the spout. If they reveal a ‘rain’ card then Incy Wincy has to go all the way down to the bottom and they have to start again. Reshuffle the cards if they get to the end of the pile before getting to the sun. You could play this with a partner using another spider on a peg. Who will be the first to reach the sun?

A super activity to support fine motor skills too as children need to move the peg up and down.

For children working in Phase 1 you could use the game to support the recall of the ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ nursery rhyme. Sing the rhyme together whilst moving the spider up and down.

I used the word ‘rain’ as the avoidance card but you could use these letters or words:
Phase 2: you could just use a letter that they have to avoid, like ‘r’ for rain or just a picture of rain.
Phase 3: wet, rain or down
Phase 4: splash, splosh, drip or drop
Phase 5: use the caption ‘down the spout’ or ‘wash the spider out’

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Under Lock and Key

A really exciting and engaging way to support your child’s phonic knowledge and the activity can easily be adapted for all the phases by changing the clues you give.

It’s works best if discovered by your child in the morning so they don’t see you lock up the object and hide the keys. Lock something away inside a box/basket that is vital to a toy. In our case it was Woody’s hat. It could also be the toy itself. Anything that will motivate your child to read the clues, find the keys and rescue the object inside.

I made the cage/box from our fruit basket and attached a bit of cardboard to the top with a couple of cable ties. There needs to be enough space on the box to put a few locks. The small locks in the photo I bought 3 for Β£1 from Poundland a while back. Place the object inside the box and then lock the box up with all the locks. Hide the keys around the house and garden and write clues for where they can be found. The clues can be adapted for the phase your child is working in. You could also write clues to decoy keys too if you want to make it more of an extended activity.

For Pre-school children and children working within Phase 1, like my son, you ‘sound out’ some of the words for them to blend together and find the keys. For children working in Phase 2 you could put sound buttons under some of the simple CVC words that you want them to read and you help with the other words. The clues in my photo would be suitable for a child working in Phase 4 to read.

Your child reads the clues and hunts for the keys. They will then need to test each key in all of the locks too which adds an extra challenge and is a great way to support fine motor skills. πŸ‘πŸ»

My son was really engaged with this activity and we’ve had to play it several times more this morning. He rescued the Trolls from the Bergans too! A success in our house, hopefully your child will enjoy this activity too.

Shopping Spree

A really easy activity to set up. All you need is a shopping list, bag for life and a timer.

Write some words on a shopping list appropriate to the phase your child is working in and objects that can be found by your child around the house. Explain that they are going on a shopping spree. Give them the list and tell them they have 5 minutes to go and find all the objects on the list and put them into the bag.

You could shorten the amount of time you give them to make it more of a challenge. To give the activity a writing focus too you could also take away the list afterwards and get them to write a receipt for all the items.

For children working in Phase 1 you ‘sound out’ the objects for them to go and find in the set time. I used the words from the Phase 2/3 list in the photo with my son as they are simple CVC words. I put it as a Phase 2/3 list as I used ‘x’ for box.

You can see an example list for Phase 2-5 in the photos.

A fun active game to support your child’s phonic knowledge.πŸ‘πŸ»

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Defeat the Alien

A different take on the classic Obb game used within Phonics lessons and can be played online at Phonics Play or Odd and Bob on Phonics Bloom.

This game requires your child to read both real and alien words. Alien words are words that are nonsense words but are decodable. A great tool to see how your child can apply their phonic knowledge. If they have a good grasp of all the graphemes taught and developed secure blending and segmenting skills they can have a good go at reading both real and non words.

For this game you will need something that represents an alien (I used the monster from the ‘Monster Snacks’ activity I posted a while ago. I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post if you want to find out more about this activity) and a pile of real and non word cards. If you use all the words from a past Year 1 screening paper you will have 40 in total. I’ll put a link in the comments to the past papers. Share out the words cards to create two piles in the middle of your child and the alien.

Your child picks a card from the top of both piles and reads them. If they are both aliens words then they give them to the alien and if they are both real words your child gets to keep them. If there is one of each (one alien and one real) then these cards get put aside. Repeat until all the cards have gone from the pile. The winner is the one that ends up with the most cards.

You could have a person in replace of the alien, perhaps an older sibling. One person collects alien words and one collects real words.

Adapt the word cards depending on phase but there will need to be a selection of real and non words. For children in Phase 2 you could have letters and numbers with the aliens collecting the numbers and your child collecting letters.

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Paw Patrol Phonics

My son is officially obsessed with Paw Patrol! This activity is a great way to engage all the fans of the cartoon in their reading.A fairly easy activity to recreate. I made a computer, similar to the one used in the show, by just cutting out a bit of cardboard and colouring it in. I then made a badge for each of the characters using the character emblems. You could print these or use the toys if you have them.I then wrote out a few problems onto paper. Put a problem under the computer template and your child reads the problem and then select the Paw Patrol characters they think would be needed to solve it.For children working in Phase 1, like my son, we read the problems together and I ‘sounded out’ some of the words for him to blend together and then decide which character would be needed. He then loved role-playing afterwards with the computer template and badges.The sentences in the photos would be suitable for children working in Phase 4 to have a good go at reading independently. For children in Phase 2 and 3 you could just highlight some of the words in the sentences with sound buttons to indicate the words you want them to read. You could also just have single words like ‘ladder’, ‘digger’ or ‘boat’ for your child to then match to the corresponding badge. So ‘ladder’ would be matched to Marshall the Firefighter. I’ve watched too much of this programme!! Paw Patrol is on a roll! πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

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Monster Mealtime

A super simple way of making reading, recognising graphemes and sorting words a little more engaging and fun and can easily be adapted to suit the phase your child is working in. Using the back of a envelope draw a monster outline with the mouth over the flap of the envelope. I made three monsters but you can make as many as you would like. I didn’t write the graphemes onto the envelopes so the monsters can be reused at a later date. Write some word or letter cards and your child reads the cards and feeds them to the correct monster.Your child could sort words that contain graphemes that can are often mixed, like the digraphs ‘ar’, ‘or’ and ‘ur’. For children working in Phase 2 they could feed the same letter to the corresponding monster or you could have picture cards and they sort them according to the initial sound.Children in Phase 4 could sort words that start with the same adjacent consonants and children in Phase 5 sort words with the alternative graphemes that make the same phoneme. Children in Phase 6 could sort words according to the suffix used.You could also adapt this to sort rhyming word cards too πŸ‘πŸ»

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Phonics Litter Picker

I love a litter picker! They are so fantastic to develop hand muscles and a super way to support pre-writing. I got this long armed grabber for Β£1 from Poundland.This activity is really quick and easy to prepare. All you need is some bits of paper and cardboard. Write some real and non words on the ‘litter’ and scatter it around. I also created a tally chart using another bit of cardboard from the recycling.Your child’s job is to pick up the ‘litter’ using the grabber. Read the word on it and decide whether it is a real or non word and record on the tally chart. They could write the word on the record sheet instead of making a tally.I focused on real and non-words that contained the Phase 3 ‘er’ grapheme as in ‘litter’ and ‘picker’. Adapt the words depending on what you want to focus on.For children working on recognising the letters of the alphabet you could just scatter some of the litter around, you say a phoneme and then your child uses the grabber to pick up the corresponding letter. Alternatively you could have two graphemes on the litter and they create a tally of how many of each letter they found.Children in Phase 6 could sort the litter according to the suffix the word uses, for example words ending in ‘ing’ and ‘er’ or have words where the spelling rule has been applied incorrectly and correctly and they sort them out.

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Phonics Spot the Difference

A great five minute filler and really simple activity to set up which encourages your child to look carefully and use their phonic knowledge.Cut an A4 sheet in half and on one piece write a selection of words appropriate to the phase your child is working in. I wrote some words that used Phase 5 graphemes. You could write the words in different colours as an extra challenge too. Place the blank half over the top of your written sheet and trace over but this time make a few differences. You could have letters incorrectly formed, words that use the wrong grapheme or words in a different colour.Your child now looks at the two sheets and spots the differences. A great way to prompt a discussion on the correct grapheme that needs to be used in words if you are creating a Phase 5 sheet, for example writing the words ‘cake’ and ‘cayk’ your child could tell you which is the correct spelling. Count up the amount of differences and let your child know how many they are looking for. They put a circle around all the differences they can spot. A simple activity but effective nonetheless.

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Mini Books for Mini People

After posting the ‘Giant’s Giant Letter’ activity a couple of weeks ago it got me thinking of an activity that would be the complete opposite and so I made mini books for mini people. The books could be for Duplo people, Fairies, Trolls or Lego characters.Imagine your child discovering the characters reading the books. My son was so excited to find out what they were reading and then identify the initial sounds. A wonderful way to engage children in their learning, prompt reluctant readers and it only takes a couple of minutes to set up πŸ‘πŸ»I just wrote the writing as small as I could inside a piece of small folded card. Adapt what you write in the books depending on what you want to focus on. You could write letters of the alphabet, tricky words, decodable words or sentences for your child to read. You could give them a magnifying glass to help and make it more exciting reading the books too.

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Money Box Phonics

A great game to practise spelling without the use of pen and paper and children love posting things! Great to build fine motor skills too πŸ‘πŸ» This activity can also be adapted to support children who are spelling simple CVC words within Phase 2. Just change what you write on the coins and the pictures you have on the tags.I focused on words using phonemes from Phase 3. I cut out some cardboard coins and coloured them in. You could use stickers on counters or real coins instead. I then drew some pictures on some gift tags and wrote the corresponding graphemes to spell that word onto the coins. So for ‘burger’ I wrote a ‘b’, ‘ur’, ‘g’ and ‘er’ on four of the coins.Your child selects a tag, segments the word and then finds the corresponding graphemes to spell that word. They then post the coins in the correct order into the money box.

I’m a little Teapot…

A different hands-on way to read and sort real and non-words. The activity can be adapted to suit each phase. For those working on recognising letters, like my son, rather than word reading we focused on sorting letters and numbers instead and recalled the nursery rhyme together too. He loved using the teapot to pour out the paper and sort the strips into the teacups. Non-word reading is a great tool to assess whether a child has developed good phonic knowledge and secure in the recognition of the graphemes that they have been taught. If they are confident they should be able to have a good go at decoding any word whether real or made up. Non words also make up a good portion of the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. To demonstrate the activity I chose to focus on the Phase 5 alternative grapheme ‘ou’ as in ‘out’, ‘spout’ and ‘shout’. I wrote some real and non words that included ‘ou’ onto small pieces of paper and then rolled them up and placed them in the teapot. I then stuck a piece of masking tape onto two teacups. One for real words and one for non-words.

Your child now pours out the ‘tea’, unrolls the paper and reads the word. They then place it either in the real or non-word teacup. I also realised as my son was playing the game that unrolling the little bits of paper is a great way to support fine motor skills too πŸ‘πŸ»

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Hickory Dickory Dock

A little cross curricular game which fits nicely as part of a nursery rhyme topic and not only develops phonic knowledge but supports with telling the time and understanding of the clockwise direction too.I made 12 cards each with a number on one side (1-12) and a word on the other. I focused on words that end in ‘ck’ as in ‘clock’ to demonstrate but adapt this to suit your child. We played again with initial sounds for my son. The ‘ck’ grapheme/phoneme is the first digraph (two letters that make one sound) children learn in Phase 2 and they will learn at this stage if they hear a ‘c’ at the end of the word their best bet is ‘ck’ as in ‘duck’ and ‘sock’. Later in Phase 3 if they hear a ‘c’ at the end of the word and it is after a Phase 3 or 5 digraph, not a single vowel, their best bet is ‘k’ as in ‘park’ and ‘hawk’.Place the cards to form a clock. You will also need a mouse (I made a paper one but you could use a toy or picture) and a dice. Your child now rolls the dice and moves the mouse that number of spaces (hours) around the clock going clockwise. They turn the card over wherever they land and read the word or say the phoneme. They continue to roll the dice, move that number of spaces around the clock and read the cards until they have managed to turn all the cards over. If they land on a card that’s already been turned they read the word again. You could also time how long it takes for them to be able to turn all the cards over.

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Catalogue I Spy

At this time of year, and as we head closer to Christmas, you might get a few catologues through the door or can pick some up for free in the shops. It doesn’t have to be a toy catologue you could use food magazines or a home store one. They are obviously great for cutting and sticking but can easily be used in a very simple phonics game. Really easy to set up. Less than 5 minutes. All you need to do is look through the catalogue and write some decodable words, suitable for the phase your child is working at, onto post it notes. Your child reads the note, searches through the pages and sticks it next to the corresponding picture. To narrow it down you could put a page number on the post it too if they are struggling to go through the whole catalogue. A neat little activity to extend a phonics lesson, put out as part of continuous provision or a nice independent guided reading activity too. Adapt the words and pictures to find according to phase. The yellow post it notes in the pictures would be suitable for a child working in Phase 4. For Preschool children and those working in Phase 1, like my son, I wrote some simple words onto the pink post its and I ‘sounded out’ the word and then he found the matching picture. You could also write initial sounds and they search and find a corresponding picture that starts with that sound.

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Can I take your order?

In a similar vein to the ‘Catologue I Spy’ activity I posted a little while ago this activity uses some magazines that you might be currently getting through the door or can pick up for free at the supermarket.

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Phonics QR Codes

I wanted to make a bit of a different and fun way to read real and non-words rather than just reading flashcards or the usual rubbish and treasure games. I created a QR code that when scanned gives a little message to confirm that a word is either a real or non-word. A way of motivating and engaging children and practising for the Screening Check normally taken at the end of Year 1. During the Screening Check children will be asked to read 40 words made up of real and non-words. Reading non-words acts as a great tool to check whether children have retained the graphemes taught and developed good phonic knowledge. If they are secure in their phonic knowledge they will be able to have a good go at reading any word whether real or made up. For this activity your child selects a card, segments and blends the word and then decides whether it is a real word or non-word. They could write it on a list (real words on one and non-words on another) and then scan the QR code to check their answer. You can obviously use the QR scanner on a phone if you are at home and completing the activity with your child but you can also activate the scanner on an Ipad camera if you want to do this in class or put out as part of continuous provision. I had to go into settings – control centre – customise controls to add the Scan QR code feature.

I’ve added a free downloadable PDF to the printables page of the website that includes 40 word cards and their corresponding QR codes. If you do download and use the cards I would love it if you could share a photo and tag the page! 😊

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Roll a Word

Another simple dice game which is really easy to set up and gives children the chance to practise building and reading real and non-words in a fun and practical way.I draw out a 7×7 grid on cardboard. Down the side I drew in each box a spot to represent the number on the dice and a beginning of a word (onset). I did the same across the top but this time with some word endings (rime). You will also need two dice and two bingo dabbers. Your child rolls two dice. The numbers will find a start and ending to a word. So, for example, they roll double 1 and make the word ‘start’ or a 5 and a 3 to make the word ‘town’. I’m sure they will find it hilarious when they discover the word on 3 and 1! If when they are put together it makes a real word they dab the spot with a green bingo dabber. If it makes a non-word they dab the spot with a red dabber. They could also write the words into the spaces too. Adapt the words that are created according to the phase your child is working.

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Phonics Dustpan and Brush

A simple little activity that can be adapted to support most of the phases. You could focus on letters of the alphabet, graphemes from Phase 3 or the alternatives from Phase 5. I chose to demonstrate here with Phase 4 words as in ‘dust’ and ‘brush’. During Phase 4 children do not learn any new graphemes but really practise the skill of blending and segmenting and reading and writing words that contain adjacent consonants. Adjacent consonants are two consonants next to each other within a word that make two separate sounds (the ‘st’ in ‘dust and the’ br’ in ‘brush are an example). These words have to be carefully segmented and blended in order to avoid the mistake of missing one of the consonants out. The word’ dust’ could be written as ‘dut’ if the child hasn’t listened carefully to all of the phonemes (sounds).For this activity I just wrote out some word cards. Some of the words with the adjacent consonants ‘st’ and some with the adjacent consonants ‘br’. You tell them which words they then have to brush up into the pan. If you use a whiteboard pen on the pan you can show the focus and then rub it out and change it for a different one.

A super activity to also adapt to reading real and non-words. Your child could sweep up all the non-words leaving all the real ones.

Copyright Phonics Family 2020

Crack the Dino Code

My four year old is a massive Dinosaur fan and thanks to Andy he can name lots of them. He teaches me because I often don’t have a clue! I used his love of dinos today to help him practise blending some simple CVC words. A fun, engaging and interactive way to identify initial sounds, support letter recognition and practise blending just using things you have around the house and going with your child’s interests. I placed out the dinosaurs in sets of three so that the initial sound of each dinosaur created a CVC word so, for example, Spinosaurus, Ankylosaurus and T-Rex (sat). I put out some corresponding wooden letters (you could just use letter cards or bits of paper). My son had to name the dinosaur, identify its initial sound, find the corresponding wooden letter and place it in front of the dinosaur. He then worked to blend those 3 phonemes (sounds) to form the word. He also used another small dinosaur to walk passed the letters, saying the sounds as it did, which also helped him blend the sounds together.

You could play with any toys or objects from around the house. It doesn’t have to be dinosaurs. Stickers are a good option too. You could extend this by getting your child to write the letters to form the words instead.

Copyright Phonics Family 2020

Coin Flip Bingo

A super easy game to set up and flipping a coin or counter means it can be played pretty independently (no need for someone to be the bingo caller). A good way to support your child in identifying graphemes within words and can be easily adapted to suit Phase 2-6.

I put a couple of stickers on each side of a Connect 4 counter. You could use an actual coin, milk bottle top or cut a disc of card instead. On the stickers I wrote a grapheme. Here I demonstrated with ‘oi’ as in ‘coin’ and its alternative grapheme for the same phoneme (sound) learnt in Phase 5a. I used an old bit of card to create a Bingo board where I wrote words that contained either ‘oi’ or ‘oy’.

Your child simply flips the coin then finds and reads a word that contains that grapheme. They then cross it off their board. For example they flip the coin and it lands on ‘oy’ so they read and cross off the word ‘joy’. They continue to flip until all words have been crossed off the board.

I played with my son who is beginning to read simple CVC word. I had the initial sounds ‘s’ and ‘t’ on the coin and he had to find and attempt to read a word that started with that sound. I put sound buttons under the words to help him segment and blend the sounds. He started to use the dabber on each letter within the word too which aided segmenting and blending.

Images Β© Phonics Family 2020

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