In a hands-on making words activity, kids will explore letters and work on phonemic awareness and phonics skills. Much better than a worksheet, grab a baking tray and some magnetic alphabet letters and find the right activity for your child's level below.
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Using the BEST magnet letters from Coogam, we have created tons of reading games to learn letter names and teach letters together with their sounds.
This set of letters make much more visual sense for kids to work with than other multicolored magnet letters you usually see:
Also don't buy a fancy magnet board; you just need any old kitchen tray!
Before making words, comes the understanding the words are made up of letters and sounds. Exploring letters with or without sounds can be a great introduction to phonics.
My little one loves to explore with her magnet letters. She's 22 months and starting to show interest in learning letter names recently.
Lil Sis loves to pick out the same letters as Big Sis and repeat their names as she puts them on her tray. I am NOT of the mind that we need to teach kids letters this young, but if they pick it up on their own, what could be better?
Another learning opportunity with letter exploration is introducing each letter with its sound. As your child picks out a letter, you share the sound that letter makes, to start exposing them to the idea that letters make sounds.
Or if you are only learning the names of letters, kids can match lowercase and capital letters. If you want to target specific letters, limit the number of letters they're playing with. Too many new letters can cause visual overwhelm.
Part of learning to read and write is being able to isolate beginning, middle, and ending sounds of words.
Breaking up a word into all the sounds that compose it is called "segmenting." This hands on activity helps emerging readers isolate sounds and segment words.
Sound isolation and segmentation are part of an umbrella of skills that build phonemic awareness, which is essential for kids to have when learning to read.
In this example I made mostly CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words that were missing their middle sound. Begin with beginning sounds, then work on ending sounds, and finally middle sounds as they're the most difficult.
During this making words activity, I read each word that was missing its middle letter to Big Sis. Then she would attempt to segment the word, isolate the middle sound, and find that letter to make the word complete.
It was great to have the Coogam letter magnets since she could easily focus on the red letters for this difficult task. It also was a natural way to bring up vowels and consonants and examples of each.
For a more abstract activity, I had Big Sis make her own words, only specifying that they need to all include at least one red letter (a vowel).
She decided she would place letters on the tray and then read them to see if she had created a real or a silly word.
Through this creative game she was matching letters with sounds, constructing words, reading words, and then using comprehension skills to determine if the word was real or silly.
Another way to play would be to say a word and have your kiddo spell it out phonetically on the tray. To be honest, I loved her creativity in making silly words and enjoyed hearing her sound them out more than my original idea!