Initial sound phonics games

It has been a little while since I last blogged, mainly due to me preparing for a phonics information session with parents at school. So I thought it would be good to share some of the games and activities on here.

Most children will now have learnt most of the phase 2 sounds which is the first set of letter sounds they are introduced to. Now they can match the funny squiggle on a page to a sound they now need to put that into context so knowing that ‘a’ is found at the start of the word ‘apple’. Once they have grasped this, they then have a go at blending two or three sounds together to make a word. The following games support these concepts but can also be adapted to support children who are working on phase 3 or 5 sounds. Great if you have children in two different year groups.

Game 1: Building a sound tray

Pick a sound that your child is finding hard to remember or needs to practise. I have completed this activity with Megan recently as she struggles to say some letter sounds so this activity is also good for children who have speech difficulties as well as helping children to learn their sounds.

We started with ‘s’. I wrote the sound in chalk in our tuff tray. If you don’t have a tuff tray you can use any type of tray, then we looked through the magnetic letters to find all the ‘s’ letters. Each time we found one I encouraged her to say the sound. Then we went through the house finding everything we could that started with a ‘s’. Megan isn’t at the right stage to do this yet, but I picked up the items as we looked and said the name and she copied the name. Your child will probably be able to find items on their own with a little support. Megan was engaged in this activity for a good 20 minutes then spent time exploring the tray over the afternoon. Each time she picked up an item she tried really hard to say the ‘s’ sound.

Game 2: Musical sounds

This is an adaptation from musical statues. Place four letters you would like your child to practice in different corners of the room. Play some music and have a great time dancing. When the music stops say a letter sound and the children run to the correct letter. When they are confident in this game then change to say a word e.g. sun and your child runs to the ‘s’ letter.

I have also played this game with Megan helping her to recognise the letters in her name. All the letters in her name are on the floor, then when the music stops we show her a letter and say the sound and encourage her to say the sound back, she then jumps on the letter.

Game 3: Matching letter to picture

Use a range of pictures that your child will be able to recognise e.g. dog, cat. I just took pictures from a board game we have, but you can print some pictures easily from clip art or google images. I then sorted through the magnetic letters and found the initial letters for each picture. The game is for your child to match the initial letter sound with the picture. I put them in the tuff tray with some out of date ready brek that we use for messy play just to give it an extra element of fun and then your child can have a go at writing the letter underneath.

The children then played with scoops, bowls, spoons etc in the ready break mixture so I added the letters of Megan’s name along with a few other letters and asked her if she could find the letters of her name. To my amazement she could pick every letter in her name and put them in a bowl to make ‘Megan soup’.

Game 4: Ice cube writing

This game evolved from an activity I put together for ‘children in need’. I put some pom poms in an ice cube tray and then topped up with water and froze. They were to represent Pudsey’s spots and I put them in the tuff tray with a variety of bowls, spoons, tweezers for the children to explore. Megan then notice the ice cubes were making marks in the tray (we had previously used chalk in the tray) and started to write ‘m’. I then challenged Isabel and wrote some of the phase 5 alternative sounds to practise recognising.

If you squeeze a little paint into the bottom of the ice cube tray then top with water and freeze you can then use the ice cubes as mark making tools, they are a fun way of exploring writing letter sounds as they write in different colours as the cubes start to melt.

Game 5: Building a cvc (consonant, vowel, consonant) word

Once children are confident at hearing sounds in words and can recognise a few letters, they can start having a go at building words. They don’t need to be able to write the letters yet as it can be done with magnetic letters or alphabet stampers.

Collect together some pictures of objects or animals that have 3 letters to their name. I used some pictures from a game we already had but you can easily print some from google images or clip art. Pick a picture then give your child the letters that make up the word and a couple extra e.g. for cat give the letters catpm. Encourage your child to say the sounds they can hear in the word and then pick the letters and put them in the correct order. The photos I have used are from last year when I played it with Isabel.

As always I hope you enjoy these activities 🙂

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