There are many ways to work on phonics activities with your students. We love playing I-Spy with oversized letters on our wall filled with items that start with that letter sound, but this phonics activity for PreK and Kindergarten is a little more hands-on. I think printable manipulatives like clip cards have their place. Still, I used them sparingly, opting instead for activities like these that offer children more three-dimensional experiences. No child will feel as though an activity like this is a test, and for many, using clip cards and worksheets can slip into that territory, which is not what we want. What I love about this is any teacher can do this. It’s a “use what you have” activity, making it a cinch to set up in any classroom.
Phonics Activity for PreK and Kindergarten
Gather your materials. You will need a divided tray ( I buy mine at Dollar Tree), some alphabet stickers, a bowl, and a BUNCH of figurines.
Start by choosing what letter sounds you want to work on. When I use this activity, it’s with a small group, and I change the sounds based on who I am working with, so I use stickers that can come on and off as needed. When you know what letter sounds you want to work with, gather 1-3 figurines for each letter. Remembering – and yes, I have to remind myself of this sometimes too- that spelling and speech sounds do not all ways coincide. Make sure that the figurines match the sound you represent, not necessarily the spelling. For example, I will not pop a giraffe in for g or a plastic knife for k – at this stage, stick to the hard consonant sounds and short vowel sounds.
Time to add your stickers to the tray – I use both upper and lowercase. I am trying to cement the idea that both upper and lowercase letters make the same sounds with my students right now.
Set your bowl of treasures <– oh wait, I didn’t tell you that’s what I call them. “Hey Tanner, want to come and sort these treasures with me? Do you know where they need to go?” I find my introduction to a short adult-directed activity makes a huge difference. The focus is on play with these types of activities woven in intentionally in my class.
Time to play!
I like doing this WITH my students. I not only want to be there to help, but I also want to use activities like this as an assessment. What are they struggling with, what do they breeze through? That doesn’t have to be done with flashcards. It can and should be done with games and hands-on activities as much as possible.
New small group? No problem, switch up the stickers and go. Also, don’t feel like you have to use every section of a tray like this. Want to focus on just one letter sound?
Try sorting it by does this item start with this sound? Yes or no? Taking a little step back and focusing more on sound differentiation. This activity is very easy to adapt to any student.
Do you need some super fun alphabet activities for your child? Turn them into Letter Superheroes!
I created this printable pack for parents looking for accessible materials that were still playful to help their child master the alphabet and become a letter superhero! Teachers are free to make multiple copies of these activities for the classroom as well.
Need more simple preschool and PreK activities for home or school?