With Christmas rapidly approaching I thought I would share some of my favourite Christmas phonics games with you. These games help to practise either individual phonics sounds or CVC words. They can also be adapted if you have children working on different phonics phases. These ideas have all been tried and tested on either my own children or my class and have been given the thumbs up sign of approval 🙂
Game One: Build a snowman
Resources: Paper or card in white and two other colours. a pen.
Cut out three snowman shapes with the white card and a number of hat shapes with the coloured card. Have a list of 3 letter words in front of you ( max 6) and then write each letter on a different hat. when you are finished spread the letters out on the table. Say a word and ask your child to say all the sounds they can hear. Place each hat onto a snowman in the correct order. Say the next word. Do you need to keep any sounds? Encourage children to think about the first second and third sound they hear.
Adaptation: To turn this into a maths game, flip the hats over and write a number on them. Ask children to tweezer the correct number of pom poms/beads onto the snowman’s tummy to match the hat. (Great finger gym activity too!)
Game 2: Building a christmas tree
Resources: Green paper or card, brown paper or card, a pen
Cut 18 green triangles, and 6 pots and tree stalks from the brown paper. Make a list of six 3 letter words you would like your child to practise. Write one letter on each green triangle. On the pots write the word you would like your child to make e.g. run. Then place the pots on the table and spread the green triangles out in front of them. Ask your child to pick a pot. Read the word. Then ask your child to find the matching letters. Can they put them in the right order to make the word?
Adaptation: If your child is learning to do alternative sounds write the word at the bottom of the pot correctly and incorrectly using the two different sounds e.g. boy or boi. Ask your child to pick the one that is correct and build the tree using the correct spelling. Isabel loved this game and wanted to play it a number of times.
Game 3: Snow flake bowling
Resources: White paper, scissors, a white ball (although any colour will work- I used a tumble dryer ball), a pen
Step 1: Make your snowflakes. There are lots of step by step guides available online that show you how to do this. I just start with a square of paper, fold it into a triangle, then just cut lots of triangles out of it. Open it up and you have a snowflake of sorts. The beauty of this is you can get your child to do the folding and cutting which makes it a fantastic finger gym activity too!
Step 2: write a word on each snowflake (try to use sounds that you want your child to practise). Then spread the snowflakes around the floor. I only did four but you can easily have up to eight. Then ask your child to stand at a distance, roll the ball and try to get it onto a snowflake. When the ball rolls onto a snowflake then pick it up and read the word. You can either take the snowflake away if it is read correctly or leave it on the floor. The person with most snowflakes wins.
I played this game with my class and they really enjoyed making the snowflakes to start and then trying to roll the ball accurately onto a snowflake. They all took a snowflake home with a word on it to hang up in their house.
Game 4: Bauble hanging
Resources: Baubles (that can be written on), a pen, pipe cleaners, pictures to match words you are making
Have a list of words you would like to make. I wanted to have a christmas theme so went for elf, santa, sled, tree. Write each sound on a different bauble. Place the baubles on the table or in a tray. Ask your child to pick a picture. Say the word, then say the sounds in the word. Collect the baubles with the sounds you can hear in the word, then thread them onto the pipe cleaner in the correct order.
When I played this game with my class they needed help to thread the sounds in the right order. It lead to some discussion about how it is important not only to know the sounds but also the order the sounds occur otherwise it will make a different word. E.g. elf became fel.
Game 5: Stocking filler
Resources: Stocking, objects of words that can be easily sounded out e.g. pig, paper and pencil or whiteboard and pen.
Fill the stocking with the objects. Then write the names of each object in a list next to the stocking. Ask your child to pull out the objects one at a time, find the word on the list and tick them off. This will encourage reading skills. To practice writing skills simply have a blank piece of paper next to the stocking and ask your child to write the word to match each object as they find it in the stocking.
Game 6: Balloon sounds
Resources: Balloons, pen
This game is hilarious and so simple. Write sounds on the balloons then throw the balloons into the middle of a wide area. Your child/children can then run around catching the balloons and saying the sound written on each balloon. To make it more focused you can put the balloons together to make a word. Adult say a word and children catch the balloons in the right order.
My class loved this game and wanted to play it long after phonics had finished. Isabel and Megan also love this game and as balloons never seem to pop in our house we have lots of opportunities to see the letter sounds and practise them on a daily basis without anyone realising they are learning!
I hope you all enjoy these festive phonics games. Merry Christmas everyone 🙂