Phonemic Awareness Activities Make Early Reading Skills Playful

Phonemic awareness is a really important part of early reading skills.  Using phonemic awareness activities with kids can make learning to read a fun and playful experience.

Kids Activities Blog believes that learning should ALWAYS include play.  That is one of the reasons why we love this phonemic awareness activity that can really be a phonemic awareness game!

phonemic awareness activities

Want a fun way to combine learning letter sounds {phonemic awareness} with pretend play?

Try this alphabet shopping to develop early reading skills!

Phonemic Awareness Activities

My 3 year old loves pretending to shop. He drives his cart around the house carefully selecting items. Then, he brings his cart to the cash register {where he has placed me} and asks me to scan all of his items. I place his chosen items in a basket. He runs off to fill the cart again. While this is great pretend play and lots of learning is already taking place, I wanted to mix it up a little. I wanted to see what other learning we could accomplish. Aiden has been showing phonemic awareness through his interest in learning letter sounds lately, so that’s what I decided to focus on.

I wrote the letters of the alphabet on index cards. {You could also use card stock or regular paper.} To add durability  you could laminate the alphabet cards or cover them with contact paper.

Phonemic Awareness

Using phonemic awareness activities like a simple conversation can start the process.

I had Aiden choose a letter. We talked about the letter.
Me: What letter is this?
Aiden: B
Me: What sound does B make?
Aiden: /b/
Me: That’s right. B says /b/.

I asked him if he knew something that started with the letter B. He looked around the play room and said, “Ball.” I reinforced that by saying, “Ball starts with B.

Next I asked him if he wanted to go shopping. He was game. I asked him to gather a few things in his cart. As he checked out, we would match letters to the things he bought.

He happily filled his cart with toys. During check out, he handed me a toy. I scanned it just like in our usual shopping pretend play. Instead of placing it into the basket, we talked about the toy.
Me: What is this?
Aiden: a duck
Me: What letter does duck start with?
Aiden: {thinking}
Me: duck {emphasizing the d sound}
Aiden: D!
Me: Duck starts with D. Can you place the duck next to the letter D?

Aiden takes the duck to the pile of letter cards and matches the D with the duck.

Alphabet Matching

We continue playing until Aiden gets tired of the game.

Phonemic Awareness Games

  • Instead of focusing on letter sounds, you could focus on letter recognition. {Duck starts with D. Can you find the letter D?}
  • You could work on words instead of individual letters. {You have a duck in your cart. Can you find the work duck?}
  • Hide letter cards around the room and have your child shop for them. {Can you find the letter D to place in your shopping cart?}

What fun ideas do you have for practicing letter sounds?

More Phonemic Awareness Activities and Games

Looking for other ways to get your kids involved in phonemic awareness with a bit of fun thrown in?  Check out these other phonemic awareness activities and games to make early reading skills a blast!



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Trisha About Trisha

Trisha is a stay at home mom to her 3-year old son, Aiden. She writes about their adventures at Inspiration Laboratories, a blog dedicated to encouraging learning through creativity and play. Trisha is an educator with a passion for science literacy. It is never too early to start encouraging science learning (or any kind of learning for that matter). Follow along on Facebook, Twitter as @inspire_labs, Google+, and Pinterest.