Phonics is such an important early stage of learning, providing children access with the tools required to unpick words and learn their initial sounds. Phonics can be taught in many different ways, with the united purpose of helping children to become more confident, fluent and independent readers. Although, these sessions would usually be taught using powerpoints, flashcards and whiteboards for children to practise writing their sounds, there are plenty of creative ways to keep learning phonics throughout the day or at home as part of their home learning.
From playing hopscotch with phonics sounds to finding buried treasure, there are plenty of great ideas for using the outdoors to teach phonics. Some of my favourite outdoor phonics learning ideas include: sticking phonics sounds on an outdoor wall and giving children a water pistol to shoot the right sound. You could even turn this into a competition with different teams – whoever gets the sound first wins. When teaching in Early Years, we had a pirates themed phonics treasure hunt. This is a great way to engage children with their phonics learning as they have to search for the word on the treasure coin inside the sandpit. Using powerpoints and flashcard tools are great, but getting children outdoors especially in good weather can motivate children to learn their phonics creatively.
2. Fun with play dough
Using play dough to learn phonics is great for tactile learners. Children, who struggle to sit through a 20 minute phonics input could definitely benefit from active learning and keeping busy. There are lots of ways to use play dough to support phonics learning e.g. preparing sound cards and rolling the play dough into sound buttons, making letters, letter stamping and much more. Instead of twiddling their thumbs during carpet time, they can have a go at pressing the sound buttons or even making letters and words out of this stretchy substance.
3. Online Games
Most, if not all schools will use interactive resources when engaging children with phonics. Using games that are timed, competitive and fun can engage children to consolidate their phonics learning. Below is a list of some phonics games websites that children can enjoy for free whether they’re learning as part of a phonics lesson at school or supplementing their phonics learning at home.