Today I wanted to share with you some of my favourite, hands-on, playful sight word games for kids. There are so many fun ways to practice sight words!
But first, we should chat about what sight words truly are.
Sight words are words that we want our children to be able to read by sight, as in, not needing to sound them out. Some of these words are not able to be sounded out phonetically, whereas others are simply high-frequency words that are going to come up again and again as our children read.
Helping our children learn sight words requires two things. First of all, it is important that we introduce them in a manageable and sequential order, just like we do in both our Grade One Literacy Curriculum and our Grade Two Literacy Curriculum. You can check those both out right here: https://shop.howweelearn.com/
The second thing we need to do is to make that learning meaningful and fun. As you work through the Literacy Curriculums, you see how we use those words in simple ways day by day, building that sight word knowledge easy as can be. Each week we focus on 3-5 new sight words. In addition to the Literacy workbook, you can also play with those sight words in super simple ways to help consolidate that learning with play!
Okay, let’s get into it! Here are some of my favourite ways to practice sight words with play.
Fun Sight Word Games for Grades One and Two
A Sight Word Dice Game: This activity not only practices sight words, it also practices word families! And not only does it practice word families (there is more? YES, more!), it practices spatial skills too! Grab your free printable nets right here and get playing!
Chalk Tracing: Write a sight word on a chalkboard. Take care to form each letter properly, as this is a wonderful opportunity to help our children practice letter formation. Once you have written the sight word in chalk, have your child trace over the sight word using a paintbrush dipped in water. Once it has been traced over once, you will see that it reappears slightly. Have your child continue to trace that sight word with water until it disappears completely.
Sight Word Go Fish: Grab some pieces of construction paper and cut them into squares about the size of playing cards. Write some sight words on the cards, ensuring you have two of each sight word. Shuffle your deck, and play “Go Fish!” Ask your child, “Do you have the word “here”?” If he does, he needs to identify the card and give it to you, if not you grab a new card from the deck and it is his turn.
White Board Sight Words: If you have a whiteboard on hand, it makes a great tool for practicing sight words. If not, a plastic plate or a piece of paper in a page protector work just as well. Write a sight word in a dry erase marker and have your child trace each letter with his finger, erasing it clean away! He can then try to rewrite it himself from memory.
Colour by Sight Word: Add sight words to any colouring page and make it a colour-by-sight-word activity! Write your sight words down the side of the page and assign each a colour. Perhaps the word “here” will be blue, “the” will be red, and so on. Next, write the sight words in the various parts of the picture. Your child will need to identify each word and colour it the appropriate colour, becoming more and more familiar with those words as he goes along. Colouring is also a great way to strengthen those fine motor skills.
Sensory Sight Words: Lots of children love to explore sensory bins – even older children! There is something very soothing about it. Put magnetic letters, bead letters, block letters, or simply letters written on paper in a sensory bin filled with your favourite filler. Rice or beans work well. Have your child pull out the letters and spell his sight words.
Memory: You can use the same cards you used for “Go Fish” for this activity. Make sure you have each sight word written on two cards. Place all of your cards face down and mix them up. Then, take turns flipping over two cards at a time. If they match, you keep them, if they do not match, it is the next player’s turn. Whoever has the most sight word matches at the end wins!
Storybook Sight Word Search: I wrote a blog post all about this fun game. Very simply, choose a favourite storybook and have your child hunt through that book, finding the sight words from the week as many times as he can.
Sight Word Scavenger Hunt: Write sight words on strips of paper, cut them into individual letters, and hide those letters around a room. Have your child find all of the letters and recreate the sight words. This can be made easier by having a different colour of paper for each sight word.
Rainbow Writing: Write out the sight word on a piece of paper. Have your child trace that word again and again in various colours of marker creating a rainbow effect.
Popsicle Stick Sight Word Puzzles: Grab some popsicle sticks, line them up about 4 tall and write your sight words. Take those popsicles apart and you have your very own popsicle stick sight word puzzles!
Sight Word Tic-Tac-Toe: This is an idea from Playdough to Plato and it is a brilliant one! Play a simple game of tic-tac-toe, but use sight words instead of the “x” and “o” marks. This is such a great way to get those words written again and again in a fun way.
And there you have them. Some fun and easy ways to practice those sight words each and every week. These activities are the perfect complement to our complete Grade One Curriculum and Grade Two Literacy Curriculum, so be sure to check them out!