Practicing phonics is a crucial stage of your child’s early learning and development. As a parent, it can be challenging to know where to start, what activities to prioritise, and which stage your child is at already.
Learning through play is a powerful way for kids to retain information and develop skills to support them as they enter school age. More importantly, play provides a way for parents to support their children in a safe and fun environment.
To give you the lowdown on phonics and fun phonics activity ideas, the BrightMinds team have put together a helpful guide on how to teach phonics to kids!
What is phonics?
Let’s start with some phonics jargon-busting.
Phonics is defined by the National Literacy Trust as “a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.”
Therefore, in simple terms, phonics activities involve teaching your child how the alphabet creates words through matching them with sounds they’re familiar with. This can help children get to grips with unfamiliar words as they start reading books at school.
Teaching phonics to a child at nursery or pre-school
Although your child is too young to read and write at this stage, they will be taking in a lot of information and soaking up the world around them.
The focus at this stage may be purely on matching sounds and pictures. Here are a few ideas for phonics activities for your 3-5 year old:
Use toy animals to turn imaginative play into a ‘make the animal sound’ game. For example, simple wooden toys such as the Bigjigs Wooden Animal Shape Lorry or Red Bus Sorter could be used to sort the animals into their respective compartments while making the sound and naming the animal. This means your child will start to recognise different animals from what they look like and be able to recall the sounds they make.
Start matching pictures to words with the Magentic Learning Phonics set from Fiesta Crafts. The set includes 48 words, 48 pictures, 24 phonic sounds, eg 'sh' 'ar', 'oi', a magnetic board and a dry wipe pen. The dry-wipe pen can be used on the board to copy words or to make up sentences that include the words on the magnetic pieces. A winner for introducing them to phonics before school.
Phonics activities for early primary school children
Once your child has got to grips with the basics of phonics at school, what they’ve learned can be put into practice through playing at home.
A great way to help your child with both reading and writing is through a toy such as the Read & Write puzzle. This activity includes upper and lower case for the whole alphabet making it a simple and effective way to teach children to write and form their letters. Children associate letters, words and pictures by completing a rich and colourful alphabet. By both writing and sounding out the letters, they will be able to get to grips with phonics in a fun and rewarding way!
Learn and play with phonics games from BrightMinds
It’s never too early to get your kids involved with phonics. At BrightMinds, we focus on learning through play - practicing literacy skills is no exception! Explore our collection of English learning toys for children of all ages to practice English grammar, vocabulary, sentences, listening and pronunciation skills.
For more fun learning ideas and inspiration, head to the BrightMinds blog where you will find the latest on games for kids, activity ideas for all seasons and some of the favourite products from the team.