Fun Ways to Practice Sight Words at Home or in School

Sight words are so important for emergent readers and I am sure, if you are like me, you are always looking for ways to practice and support sight word recognition. Well...check this out and you will LOVE all the great ideas to practice sight words. I think you will be surprised with all the ways that you as a teacher or parent can practice these very important words. I would love to hear your ideas, too!

Before we dive head first into the idea of sight words practice, I think it is  important to note the significance of sight words:

Sight Words are one important piece of the puzzle when learning to read and write! The words are called sight words because your child or student is expected the recognize there words instantly and quickly at first 2-3 seconds. The development of sight word recognition is and has been a top priority when instructing emerging and beginning readers. Sight words are extremely important for children to master because, sight words account for up to about 75% of the words used in beginning texts. There are different sight words for each grade level, which spiral throughout your child's reading experiences. Once your child learns the sight words for Kindergarten, s/he will be expected to continue to recognize those words as s/he learns the new sight words for first grade, and this spiral will continue on and on. 

It is a NEW YEAR or maybe just the end of a report period and that time of year when we are assessing sight words in our classrooms or at home.

We have done this many times before, but it is now the second semester...the scenario might go like this.

⭐We check the first set of words that our Kinders or Firsties and maybe even second graders should know or you thought they knew and you find out that the words have disappeared into thin air after winter break..."Where did they go?" you ask yourself and perhaps panic sets in and you realize that maybe some of your kiddos need a bit more practice on certain words or EVERY WORD...don't remember this post from a while ago and then you see it has been updated with even more ideas than before and you JUMP FOR JOY and realize this IS the answer you have been waiting for...!! AHHHHH YES...more ideas to try!

Calmness sets in and you sit down with a cup of JOE and read the post feeling totally saved and ready to go!

I remember when my daughter was in 1st and 2nd grade the teacher would send home spelling words and/or flashcards to review to learn the words that were expected for those grade levels.

I also remember how much my daughter hated to use these flashcards and/or review the spelling words. 

I remember her bouncing, jumping and walking around the room or house as we practiced these words.

We even wrote them with colored soap crayons in the tub!! Now that was an experience worth seeing, but she did learn those spelling words!!

However, I, on the other hand was racking my brain to come up with ideas so I did not pull out my hair practicing these word with her!!

That was about 26 years ago and before I taught full time as a first and second grade teacher. 

I had taught part time, but not everyday.  It was my daughter's reaction to practicing these words that I decided to come up with a list of ways to practice spelling and/or sight words with your child.

When I became a full time teacher, I gave this list to parents to use in place of flashcards.

They also had fun coming up with their own ideas as well, which were so creative!

In fact I even challenged parent's to be creative and share ideas that they used to practice words.

In today's world with early age sports, video games, pre-school cheerleaders, tablets, i-phones and such, it is even more important to devise ways to practice words in a hands on or kinesthetic way.

Of course there are many spelling and sight word programs that can be used on electrical devices, but not all children learn tethered to a device.

Let's remember Howard Gardner and his Multiple Intelligences.

So, I thought I would share with you some ideas I have created, over the years,  to practice words whether they are spelling words, vocabulary words or sight words or even names.

I would be crazy to think that you have never heard of these ideas and I am actually positive that you may already be using or have seen some of these posted elsewhere, but I can assure you that some of us have been recommending these strategies for years!!!

Some are not new, but, then again, some may be new to you and worth a try!

I don't know if you are like me, but I can always use a little refresher course on pretty much everything because I usually see some ideas that I completely forgot about!

Above are some ideas that can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop in the packet entitled :

Sight Word, Spelling Word Work Fun Bundle for K, first and is an "oldie but a goodie!"

Along with these ideas are also worksheets to practice spelling and sight words.

Here is also a list of other tried and true ideas you might want to use:

  • Write words in shaving cream on a cookie for everyone!
  • Form words using Play-doh.  
  • Form the words using pipe cleaners or Wiki Sticks. 
    • Spell words using letter beads on pipe cleaners or using sticker letters on paper.

    Here my Grandkids are spelling their names with sticky letters
    • Put copies of the words around the floor and ask the child to jump onto a certain word and spell it without looking( feet covering the word).
    • Use an Etch-a-Sketch and write the words.
    • Write words on the i-pad or computer.
    • Paint the words on an easel.
    • Type the words in different fonts on the computer.  The        to      have    from   like
    • Write the words in sand in a tray or right on the beach with a shell if it is summer time.
    • Cheer the words...vowels arms up, consonants arms down...this was a favorite with my class! You can even buy or make pom-poms for spelling words or have a Brain Breaks and spell the words! if the word is  T might look like this:

    It gets more fun as the words get longer and longer. For a Brain Break you can write words on the board...sight words....spelling words or even vocabulary words and have a blast cheering and spelling those words.

    • Spell the word using different voices...For example:  mouse voice, Elvis voice, old person voice, robot voice, opera voice, cowboy voice, baby voice or any other voice you can think of to use that might be a little silly. I even have some great Silly Voice Sight Word Games on TpT for the fist 100 Fry Words that would be super to play at home or school or even Homeschool and also for the second set of Fry Words: Here you go!
    • Spell the words in Cheerios, Fruit Loops, M and M's, Skittles...if the word is spelled or read correctly, eat the word!( or switch to beads or buttons and give a piece of candy as a reward so a sugar high is not created!)  I have also put copies of the word in muffin tins and kiddos toss a small candy into the tin and then read the word.  If it is correct, you get to eat the candy. If not leave it there and when you do know it the reward is more!

    • Sky write the words saying each letter as the word is written in the "sky".  We have been known to imagine and visualize that our favorite color is spraying out of our pencils or fingers when writing the word...great for handwriting practice as well!!!
    • Form the words using pasta or broken spaghetti.

    • Form the words using Unifix blocks or Legos.

    • Write Letters with sidewalk chalk.
    • Stacking Cups in another fabulous idea for all those future architects or contractors out there! I use this with alphabet letter recognition and sight words with a little kindergartener  I tutor.  He can only build the "tower" with the words he recognizes and we see how high or intricate we can make the tower with the cups!   
    This is an example with letter recognition, but it can be changed to use sight words by just writing the words students need to learn on the cups.

    • Have you tried writing sight words in the SNOW?  We have...this is with a mat underneath, but if you now it will be snowing, get out there and have some fun with your child's sight words...if you are a homeschooler...what a fun way to learn your words!!!
    • Circle or find your words in books, magazines and newspaper or online and write them in a notebook.
    • Hide the words around the house and then have your child find them and read them.
    • Stamp your words with alphabet stamps.
    • Cut letters that you need to spell your words from Magazines or type up the letters, cut them a apart and scramble them and then spell them...Look for my new Scrambled Egg Sight Word Game coming SOON!!!
    • Use letter tiles and baggies.  Put tiles in the bag to spell a word and unscramble it to spell it correctly.
    • Use a paintbrush with water and "paint" them on the sidewalk.  better be sure to read the words before the sun dries it up!!
    • Put magnetic letters for each word in a bucket filled with water and have children pull the letters out and spell the word correctly....or no water!!! A variation is that you pass the bucket and everyone chooses, without looking 3 letters and the letters accumulate see if children can make words with the letters! 
    • Use packing peanuts and put the letters or whole words into a basket with the packing foam peanuts and pull them out and read or spell the words.
    • Give each child a letter or a baggie of letters to a group of students and have them form a HUMAN Word with their letters.  
    • Snowball Fight...this is a great way to bring some winter fun into the classroom.  Write a certain number of sight words on blank white paper. So if you have 16 kiddos in your class, (wishful thinking!) you will write 16 different words on the paper. Then crumple each up into a ball or pretend snowball.  
    Give explicit rules about throwing and playing. I have been known to say the following: Toss carefully so the ball aims at knees or below, toss lightly so we are safe, and stay within this area.

    Then each child gets a "snowball" and the "fight" begins with everyone tossing for a few minutes 1 or 2 is plenty.

    Then ring your chime and everyone carefully picks up a snowball and sits on the rug. Each child reads their word as you go around the circle...then repeat as many times as needed to get a break and learn the words!  PS My kiddos LOVED this!!!

      New Ideas from Readers:
      • Here is an idea from Margo Gentile! She commented that it is a good idea to write the words you would like your children to know in places that they will see the words frequently. For example, Use lipstick and write the on the bathroom mirror...thanks for sharing this awesome idea!!

      I hope this brings a little sunshine your way on this cold winter day( if you live in a place where it is snowing or cold today)!  Please let me know if any of these strategies helped your students or children spell or learn their words!  Also comment with your tried and true ideas and link up your SIGHT WORD resources below!!!

      You might also be interested in Variations of the game BANG!  

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      Even Though Spring is Right around the Corner...Snow is in the Air! 3 Snowy and Fun Resources for Early Learners

      If you live in the Northeastern part of the United States, even though we are nearing spring,you will agree that we have had beautiful spring weather one day and a snowy blizzard the next!

      This can really confuse nature...some trees never lost all of their leaves and others show buds ready to burst open and announce that spring is here!

      So for that reason this post will focus on some snowy resources that you can use any day whether it is frosty or sunny!

      So with Punxsutawney Phil predicting 6 more weeks of winter, here are 3 Fun Snowy Resources and Ideas for your Early Learners:

      1.  Bring the Snowman inside with this fun maze worksheet. For more creative preschool activities, go to!

      At first glance you might think...this is just a simple maze, but do you all the benefits of children completing mazes and the skills involved?



      Following a maze allows emergent readers to practice tracking skills and adds to eye development.  I had a few children in my previous classes who had difficulty tracking left to right when reading and a developmental ophthalmologist suggested doing mazes!

       Hand Eye Coordination:  
      Mazes also provide support of hand and eye coordination which supports the ability to pick up, grasp and manipulate objects. As the hand moves the eyes and brain have to ready to make the turns to coordinate with the eyes.  Throwing a ball against a wall and then catching it is another idea to support this skill.

      Brain Development:
      Following mazes support developing both sides of the brain.  When brain dominance has not been developed and there is a mixed dominance, mazes help the brain to figure out a dominant side or can also develop both sides.

      Fine Motor Skills:
      Mazes also develop fine motor skills.  When you complete a maze you need to move precisely between the lines of the maze to completion. This pencil/paper skills helps children write more carefully and use movements with the wrist, hands and fingers to coordinate the fine motor movement and support coordination.

      Have I convinced you to grab up this maze for your kiddos?

      2.  Ignite your Kinders or Firsties' Imagination with this fabulous book "Snowmen at Night" by Caralyn Buehner and See Where the Creativity Goes!

        A Wonderful Youtube Video of this Story:

      A Youtube Video of Snowmen at Night set to music and the words are sung to an original tune. This is a great way to motivate your students and engage them in the story!

      ⛄ A Differentiated Snowman at Night Craft and Writing Activity:

      If you are looking for a fun, engaging way to encourage your Kinders or Firsties to write creatively, this will definitely fit the bill and can be found right here.

      Here is what is included:  

      ⛄3 different sized circles to trace and cut to make a snowman. These can be used as tracers or simply run them off onto card stock, cut and glue. 

      Various templates for hats, shirts, a tie, and bow 

      ⛄2 easy writing frames.

      ⛄1 longer writing frame for stronger writers with handwriting lines. 

      ⛄1 longer writing frame for stronger writers with only lines for writing. 

      ⛄1 planning sheet for jotting down ideas. 

      2 Beginning Middle and End frames for easier writing or just simply writing what the snowman may do for a rough draft and then writing a good copy to display. 

      ⛄I then add lots of beads, scraps, tissue, shape stickers, and all kinds of craft media materials to assist creativity. 

      ⛄An idea with an outline of directions for a lesson. 

      ⛄Sample craft. 

      3. Have some fun with Snow Dough!

      ⛄  All kids love snow or at least most of them do...

      If they have ever played in snow, they will remember the cold crackling feeling of making a snowman, snow angel or snowball.

      You can make snow dough with simply 2 ingredients...YES...I did say 2.  Baking soda and water.  All you need is one cup of Baking soda and 1/4 cup of water and you will bring that cold snow right into your classroom.  

      Here are a few ideas to use this in your classroom:

      ⛄Make it and simply let your kiddos play with it...this "snow" feels cold, which makes it even "cooler" to manipulate.  This is great for sensory needs and you can talk a little about Science!

      ⛄Create a snowman. Name the snowman and use a frame from the packet above or you own frame to write a story about your snowman.

      Create a snow scene by adding small trucks, people, cars, houses etc.

      There you have it...a few FUN WAYS TO BRING THE SNOW INTO YOUR CLASSROOM OR HOME! Don't wait too will be spring before you know it!


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