Home Phonics Activities

Peter Bayne


Peter Bayne



Thursday 23 September 2021 9:00

Hopefully, last week's column helped explain all of the key terminologies you will encounter as your child learns to read and write. This week, I will focus on activities that you can do at home to help improve children's phonics knowledge.

Coloured Pens

A fantastic activity is to write a word out for your child in pencil. For younger children learning consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words such as cat, encourage them to use one colour for vowels (a,e,i,o and u) and a different colour for consonants.

You could adapt this for older children by asking them to write out their spellings in gel pens using different colours for syllables or phonics digraphs (e.g. boat, chin, and quit). It would be beneficial to purchase a whiteboard for this activity.

Magnetic Letters

I would also recommend buying phonics magnetic letters to help progress your child's skills. There is an abundance of phonics magnetic letters online; ensure whatever set you select includes the sounds that your child is learning. Magnetic letters are great for helping children learn the alphabet.

Give them a help sheet that contains the correct order of the alphabet, and they have to arrange the magnetic letters on the board to match this. An activity to help children learn CVC words (e.g. cat) could include jumbling letters up. Sound out each letter one at a time and then say the whole word while swiping their finger from left to right.

Sand & Playdough

Once children build their words using magnetic letters, they could then write them in sand or mould using playdough. Not only does this activity reinforce learning, but it helps develop children's fine motor skills. In addition to this, it improves hand-eye coordination, has a calming effect and is fun!

Online Videos & Games

For lots of parents, it is a constant battle to try and reduce their child's screen time. Use screen time to your advantage and encourage children to watch educational videos on their focus sound for that week.

I recommend wearing headphones to allow children to hear pronunciations accurately, and it also helps with their concentration. There are lots of free phonics games online which will appeal to tech-savvy children. Phonicsplay.co.uk and topmarks.co.uk are two fantastic websites that are free to use.

Get Outside

There are various activities that you can do together to practise phonics outside. You could create a treasure hunt by hiding words, sounds or letters in the garden and then encourage your child to go and find them. You could bring phonics outside by getting some coloured chalk and asking your child to write their spellings in giant letters on the ground.

Ask them to jump on each letter, say the sound, and go further by asking if they know any other words that start with that sound. Another activity idea is to lay some hoops down. For CVC words (e.g. cat), lay down three hoops with a letter in each. The child will then hop through each hoop while saying the sound and then blend the letters to say the word.

Like most things in life, variety is key. Find out what works for your child and explore similar activities to help them on their journey. Each of the activities discussed appeals to different learning styles: coloured pens (visual learners), magnetic letters, playdough and sand (kinesthetic learners) and online videos and games (auditory/visual learners).

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