Simple Phonics Activities

Young boy playing an online phonics game

If your child is getting ready to learn how to read, fun phonics activities can help speed along the process and make reading more enjoyable. Children learn through play, so making your lessons into more of a game will not only keep your child more involved, it will have him coming back for more educational activities.

What is Phonics

Before beginning phonics activities with your child, it is a good idea to understand what phonics is. The concept of phonics is the sounds associated with each letter. When teaching this concept, you want your child to think of a particular phonics sound when he sees that letter.

Let's take the letter "A" for starters. When your child sees the word "apple", he does not say "Ay - pple", but "ah-pple". The sound of "A" therefore is "ah".

Moving on to "B," your child does not say "Be nanana", but "Ba nana".

Your job is to teach him the sounds that go with each letter. Remember, some letters have more than one phonics sound so you will need to make sure you teach your child all the sounds.

Phonics Activities

Since children learn best while participating in tasks, phonics activities are a great tool to help your child grasp the concepts. Music, hands-on art projects, physical movements, videos, and interactive games should all be included in your curriculum.


Singing is a wonderful auditory tool. Discovery Toys offers a music C.D. called "Sounds Like Fun." There is a phonics song on the tape called the "Alphabet Song" which is often used in preschools and kindergarten classrooms to help teach the concept of sounds and letters. Here is a sample of what the song entails:

"Apple, Apple, ah, ah, ah; Apple, Apple, ah, ah, ah.

Baby, Baby, beh, beh, beh; Baby, Baby, beh, beh, beh."

Though the song is very simple, both the music and repetition are helpful in helping your child associate the sounds with each letter.

You can also make up your own songs using everyday words and sounds.

Hands-On Art Projects

Art for kids is a fun and creative learning tool you have at your fingertips. Have your child create drawings, paintings and collages based on phonics. For example, make a collage using all letters that begin with the letter "D". Then review the pictures they have chosen and have them listen to the same sound:

  • Dog
  • Desk
  • Duck
  • Diaper

They will soon grasp the sound a "D" makes.

Every week pick a different letter and create a new art project.

Physical Movements

Kids need to get up and move. You can incorporate phonics activities into physical education by playing games that revolve around your letter.

  • The Alphabet Race: Have all the children begin at the same spot. Give them a letter or sound. For every word each student says that begins with or has that letter or sound, he takes a step. The first person to the end wins. Play the same game using rhymes like "hop" "pop" and later move on to using sounds, so "sock" and "clock" can be added.
  • Spelling Basketball: Pick a simple word with a phonics sound. Have the child make baskets. For each basket he gets, he can say a letter of the word. So if you use cat, he needs to make 4 baskets; C-A-T-Cat. You can play this game with a beanbag toss as well. Show him how to spell the word before hand. Chose the next word based on a similar phonics sound in cat for the next player.

Interactive Games

Children love to play, so turn phonics activities into a game. Make a fishing game out of cards with paperclips taped to the top and let your child fish for letters using a magnetic fishing pole. Have him practice his phonics for each letter he pulls out.

If your child likes to play "Memory" create your own cards matching pictures and phonics.

For another game, let your children become authors as you create a story based around a letter and sounds: "The careful cow came to the chocolate river to consume carrot juice."

Reading Aloud

There are numerous books available to help teach phonics. Pick a book or a series and base your lesson plan around that book and the sounds. Dick and Jane and Dr. Seuss books are two popular series of books used to teach phonics and beginning reading. Usborne Books offers a series called "Phonics Board Books" for toddlers and "Phonics Readers" for preschoolers. These books focus on rhyming phonics such as "Fat Cat on a Mat". They also offer flashcards.

Read the book a few times and have a discussion about the sounds they hear. Ask them to identify the letters that are being used to create the words. Rhyming words will help get the idea across. Children's poems are another great phonics learning tool.

Online Resources

If you are not creative, there are numerous resources and free phonics worksheets online which can help you add phonics activities into your lesson plan.

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Simple Phonics Activities