The phonics activities featured on this page provide a variety of fun and simple ways to teach children about phonics.

The Phonics Bell
Purchase a cheap bell, such as the kind found in waiting rooms to alert the receptionist that you’re there.  (These are available at most office stores.)  Affix it to the class clipboard and carry it around with you, or find another spot for it in the classroom. Every time you notice a child say a work that begins with your letter of the week in their normal conversation, ring the bell.

Once they get the concept down, turn it over to them, and have them come up to you whenever they notice one of their friends use a word that starts with your letter of the week.  They can tell you what the word was, and then ring the bell and shout that word to the class.  Before long, kids will be coming to ring the bell on a regular basis, and you will have found a fun way to get them thinking about phonics in their everyday conversations!

Phonics Memory Game
Print out the phonics memory game cards linked below. You’ll need to either print them onto heavy card-stock or glue the pages onto construction paper so that you can’t see the picture when the cards are laid face down. Consider laminating your set if you want them to last through repeated uses.

The set features a combination of phonic blends (ph, sh, th, etc.) along with pictures that correspond to that phonetic blend (shoe, chicken, thorn, and so forth). Cut the cards apart, and mark the back of all non-picture cards with an x. Now shuffle all the cards and lay them face down on the table in rows.

You play this game just like any other memory game, only with a twist: kids turn over two cards per turn, one x card and one picture card. Only instead of looking for two identical picture cards, you’re looking for a phonetic match: ch with chicken, sh with shoe, and so forth. If they find a match, they take both cards and place them into their pile. The child with the most cards at the end of the game wins!

Phonics memory game

Phonics Hunt
Write a different consonant on a card or piece of paper for each child in your class, and gather a picture of something that starts with each consonant, or simply print our letter of the week flashcards, then cut the letter from the picture to have separate letter and picture.

Hide the picture cards around the room while the kids are outside.  When they come in, give each child a consonant card. Then send them off to hunt around the room for the hidden pictures.

Once a picture is found, have kids work together  to find a matching consonant that goes with the picture. Whatever child had the matching letter then takes the picture and tapes it together on the chalk board or an open area of the wall. Then have them continue to hunt searching and helping other kids match their letters with the proper picture cards until all the pairs are properly matched.

Phonics Soundbox (Group)
Get a medium-size box and fill it with an assortment of everyday items: gloves, Keys, a pen, battery, paint, or whatever else you have lying around.  One at a time pull an item out of the box and have kids shout NOT the name of the item, but the phonetic sound it starts with.

Fill in the Blank (Group)
Pick different words to write on your board, leaving a blank spot in place of one or two different letters, like so:

  • I_ter_atio_al      (International)
  • Ea_th                   (Earth)
  • __eater                (Theater)

Tell kids the word, saying and reading it together. Then encourage them to chunk it apart by its different sounds in order to figure out the missing letter(s).  For example, in the word theater, we have underscore underscore eater written, so ask the kids what sound is missing? What sound isn’t represented by the letters that are up on the board?  It’s a simple activity you can do over and over again if you’d like, and a great way to work on phonics skills.

Silly Word Olympics (Group / Writing)
Forget about real words. Since the purpose of phonics is to help kids attach sounds to letters, why not create your own words that utilize a particular sound? Encourage them to come up with silly words that feature whatever phonics you are working on, such as “shishushu” or “badibity.”  Figure out how you might spell such a word and write it out, them have them come up with a definition for their made up word.  You can do this as a group time activity or individual writing project, or both. You’ll likely get fits of laughter from your kids, and they’ll be learning phonics at the same time.  You can do this activity for each letter of the alphabet as well as phonic blends.