Professional Development

March 24, 2024

5 Fun Phonics Games to Boost Early Literacy Skills

We all know how important phonics instruction is. It is a pillar in the 5 pillars of reading, it’s integrated into Scarborough’s Reading Rope, and it is heavily supported by research when it comes to how the brain learns to read. Phonics instruction is both explicit and systematic, but that doesn’t equal boring! We need to be intentional, but we can also have fun with phonics games.

Here are five hands-on and easy-to-implement phonics games for kindergarten literacy skills.

Letter Sound Hopscotch

Take learning outside, and draw a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk using chalk. Inside each square, write a letter of the alphabet. Have students take turns tossing a beanbag onto the grid. When they land on a letter, they have to say the sound that the letter represents. For your learners who are ready, have them tell you a word that begins with that sound.

Don’t have sidewalk around your school in a secure area? No problem! Use painters’ tape on the floor in your classroom! It peels up easily!

Phonics Bingo

This phonics game was always one of my students’ favorites! Make bingo cards with letters instead of numbers. Call out letter sounds instead of traditional bingo numbers. Students cover the corresponding letter on their card when they hear the sound. The first student to get a row covered calls out “Bingo!” and wins a small prize.

This game is EASILY adapted to a blend bingo game or a digraph bingo game!

Word Family Sorting

Prepare a set of word cards with simple word families (e.g., -at, -op, -ig). Label a pocket chart with each word family. Break students up into teams and have them work together. Students will pick a word card, read the word aloud, and then place it on the correct sorting mat based on its word family. The first team to collect a specified number, for example, 5 cards, wins! This game helps reinforce phonics patterns and decoding skills.

Phonics Word Chain

For this phonics game, you’ll need word cards with whatever phonics patterns you’d like to focus on. You’ll also need timer, tape, and a whiteboard to display the word chain. I suggest playing this game in teams, but individual works too!

Begin by placing a word card face up and set a timer for 1 minute. Each player or team must then add a word to the chain that starts with the last letter of the previous word. For example, if the word card says mat, the next word that students generate must begin with a “t”. Or if the word is brush, the next word that students generate must begin with the digraph “sh”. Whenever the next word is generated, then tape it to the board for everyone to see as you begin the next round. Players/ Teams who can’t think of a word within the time limit or give a non-sense word are out. The game continues until only one player or team remains.

This phonics game is an engaging way to practice phonics skills while fostering quick thinking and word association!

Phonics Relay Race

Divide the class into two teams. Set up two stations, each with a set of flashcards with the phonics skills you want to focus on, or simple words with the phonics pattern. When you say a letter sound(s) or word, the first student from each team races to their station, finds the corresponding flashcard, and brings it back to their team. The next student then goes. Continue until all students have had a turn. The team that collects the most correct cards wins the race.

Need More Phonics Activities?

If you are looking for more phonics activities that are easy to prep and help students think about the phonics skill of focus, these cut-and-paste phonics activities are perfect for you!

These beginning sound cut and paste activities are a great way to easily assess student's knowledge of beginning sounds. Use them as morning work, in a work station, or even as an intervention activity.

There are sets for:

  • Beginning Sounds
  • CVC Words
  • CVCe Words
  • Beginning Blends
  • Ending Blends
  • Digraphs

Get Cut-and-Paste Phonics Sorts HERE on TeachersPayTeachers.

Get Cut-and-Paste Phonics Sorts HERE on the website shop.

No matter how you incorporate phonics games and activities into your classroom, it’s a skill that cannot be ignored or pushed to the back burner. We must find time for explicit instruction and meaningful activities! These fun phonics games and activities reinforce letter-sound relationships in an interactive and enjoyable way.

Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? This FREE guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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