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14 Fun and Engaging Phonics Activities for Young Learners (Part 2) 

This is part 2 in a two-part series. To find the first seven activities, check out:14 FUN AND ENGAGING PHONICS ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG LEARNERS (PART 1)!

In my last post, I shared with you seven fun and engaging phonics activities for young learners. Well, today, I’ve got seven more activities to share with you! 

We know phonics is one of the five key concepts at the core of early literacy and reading instruction, and we know we need to make phonics fun to keep our young learners engaged… However, one question that’s come up since I sent out my last post is this: When should I start with phonics instruction?

Well, according to the experts, kindergarten is the most effective time to begin phonics instruction! 

Just know, phonics is not something that should be limited to kindergarten. It is just as important to continue phonics instruction in the older grades, too.

What Phonics is not!

In part 1 of this series, I spent a little time breaking down what phonics is. I thought here I might touch on a few things phonics is not.

For starters, phonics is not the same thing as phonemic awareness. Yes, they sound similar but they are two different and important components of literacy. 

Phonics focuses on the written expression of individual sounds. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that each word is made up of a series of sounds.

Phonics is also different from Phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is when you can recognize and manipulate the spoken parts of words.

Here are Seven (MORE) Fun and Engaging Phonics Activities for Young Learners!

1. Rhyme Sparkle!

It’s game time!

For this game, have your kiddos stand in a circle. Announce a word to the group and then go around the circle as each kid says a rhyming word. When you come to a student who can’t think of a rhyming word, that student will sit down. Start the next round with the next child in the circle. 

Keep playing until just one student is left standing!

2. Phonics Bingo!

For this game, begin by brainstorming a list of words that follow your target phonics pattern. 

Then, give the kids a blank bingo Board and have them write one word from the list in each box. Most of your students will be familiar with the game Bingo, but if they are not, you may need to take a beat to review the rules.   

Next, play bingo! 

Get creative with how the kids cover their squares. You can have them use counters, torn pieces of paper, stamps, or simply color in squares.

3. Feed the Hungry Thing…

One of the most fun activities I remember from my own school years is feeding an alphabet monster! Every week, we brought in items that started with a certain letter and “fed” it to a large garbage can dressed up as a monster.

This activity is a little like that, but with a phoneme manipulation/ rhyming twist! It’s based on the book The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian. In it, townspeople feed the hungry thing foods but change the initial sounds of each food.

Start by grabbing the freebie from my post with picture books for teaching phonemic awareness or just get the Hungry Thing freebie here.

Make the creature using a paper bag or box. You can get really creative with this! Let your students give input on what the creature will look like and let them name it!

Then, show them the picture cards and say the name of one, but change the first sound (for example, pilk instead of milk). Have kids find the picture card that rhymes.

Now for the fun part… allow students to feed those items to the creature! 

Hungry Thing freebie. One of many fun phonics activities!

Make sure to grab the freebie here: Hungry Thing Freebie

4. Drive the Word!

Remember Word Family Slides from part 1? Well, this is a similar activity that will also reinforce blending!

This is super simple- just type and display a large word on the whiteboard using any word program. If you don’t have a toy car that won’t wreck your whiteboard screen (I had a foam eraser in the shape of a car that was perfect), you can just print out a car image or clipart.

Then, have students “drive” the car as they trace the target phonics spelling pattern and blend the word to read.

If you can superimpose the word on a road background, that makes it even more fun!

Then just type more words and call up new students to try.

Here are some examples of what it can look like on your whiteboard:

5. Word Ladders!

Use magnetic letters to build words on a ladder!

  • Start with a magnetic whiteboard. 
  • Draw a ladder on the whiteboard. 
  • Then build a word at the bottom of your ladder using your target phonics skill. 
  • On each new rung, have kids change one letter to make a new word. 

6. Word Hopscotch!

I love hopscotch! This is such a great activity to do on those first warm days of spring when the kids are just itching to get outside!

Draw a hopscotch board on the playground with chalk. Instead of putting a number in each box, put a letter or word. Then, have kids hop and spell words or hop and say the letter name, sound, or read the words.

7. Flip & Read!

This is another great game to get kids up and out of their seats! 

Start by putting your word cards “face-down” in your pocket chart. Then, place your picture cards in a pile with the top picture facing the kids. 

Call a student to come up and flip a card on the chart. Have them read it. If it matches the picture card, they can put the picture and word card together and repeat with the next picture card. If it doesn’t match, have them flip the word card back and another student comes up to try to find a match.

Looking for even MORE phonics activities? Check out these phonics-based sight word activities.

Phonics & Fluency Pages!

Love these activities? Excited to embrace more phonics activities in your classroom? I have just the resource for you! Check out my Phonics & Fluency pages. They will walk you through the entire lesson with your students from targeting the phonics skill sound to reading it in context, incorporating comprehension, and writing!

Grab a free lesson to try below!

I hope these phonics activities spark some creativity in you so you can make phonics instruction fun and engaging for your young learners! 

Remember, kindergarten is the perfect time to begin phonics instruction with your students! You can keep your young learners engaged in learning phonics by making it fun for them!

If you have any questions or ideas for even more fun and engaging phonics activities for young learners, please leave them below!

And, don’t forget to go back and check out part 1 in this series!

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