Creative Phonics Activities that Support Word Reading

‘Phonics’ is a term familiar to both students and teachers alike. As Phonics sessions take place daily, teachers are continually having to think of new and innovative activities to engage their students.

So, with this in mind, and conscious that the Phonics Screening Check is fast approaching, we want to help teachers out. We’ve come up with some fun activities which have been designed to be easily incorporated in the classroom.

Water Balls

To play this game, first you’ll need to write words on ping pong balls and put them in a water tray or paddling pool. Students should then try to ‘fish’ out the balls, using different objects, such as nets, cups, etc. Once they’ve fished them out, ask them to read the word.

Snack Time

For this one, get a marker pen and write words on bananas. Ask students to read them before they eat them. Perhaps, write ‘target words’ for individual students. This could also be incorporated into a ‘shop’ or ‘grocery’ role-play.

Pebble Play

On pebbles, write ‘real’ or ‘alien’ words and hide these outside in the playground. Place two hoops in the centre of the playground, labelling one hoop ‘real’ and the other ‘alien’. Explain to the students they need to hunt for pebbles with words on. When they find a pebble, ask them to read the word and decide if it goes into the ‘real’ or the ‘alien’ hoop. To create more of a challenge for students, incorporate a timer and ask them to beat the clock!Phonics


Choose a mixture of ‘real’ and ‘nonsense’ words (perhaps you could use a word list from previous Phonics Screening Check Tests to save time). Write each of these words on a lollipop stick. On another two lollipop sticks, write the word ‘ZAP’. Place them all into a cup with the words facing down. Then, pass the cup around the group. Each student has to pick a stick and read the word out. The game keeps going until someone picks a ‘ZAP’ stick. When this happens, all the sticks have to go back into the cup and the game starts again. To encourage your students to practise reading words, leave the cup and sticks out for students to play the game independently.

Hope you and your class has fun with these games! For phonics-related EducationCity resources to try, see our range of activities.