Mexican wave game
All students sit in a line, the 1st student does a star jump and says the phonic. The next student repeats this and the student at the end of the row says a word. The end student then runs to the other side of the line and they each move along one place.
Duck, duck, goose
Students sit in a circle on the floor. 1 student, ‘Bob’ stands up and taps the head of each student whilst saying a word i.e. apple. ‘Bob’ will eventually tap a student’s head and say a different word, such as orange, this student should then jump up and catch ‘Bob’ before he sits in their seat. If they catch him then ‘Bob’ repeats this process. If they don’t catch Bob they are the next person to be ‘it’.
Get students into a line. Say a word to the first student ‘bat’ then each student should whisper ‘bat’ down the line. The last person should write it on the board. Then the person at the start goes to the back of the line. The next person now at the front has to think of a 1 letter variation ‘mat’ whisper it down the line and the last person has to replace the b, with an m on the board and the person at the front of the line goes to the back and the process is repeated.
Musical chair phonics
Put flashcards on chairs. Get student to walk around the chairs and walk past teacher who has a flashcard with the letter ‘e’ on it and they walk past and slap it and saying the phonic. Then when flashcard goes down they have to sit down. Then when students sit down they have to pronounce the flashcard on their chair correctly. After each round remove a chair.
Phonics puzzle game
Draw a jigsaw puzzle on the board with forfeits and the phonics words in different sections of the puzzle. In turn students throw a sticky ball to the board and whichever piece it lands on they have to do either the forfeit or say the word.
Phonics Board slap
Split your board into two or more sections. Write a different phonic in each. Draw a starting line at the back of the room. One student form each team stands behind the line. You call out a word. They have to hop, skip, frog leap, ballet dance, crawl or any other action to the board, slap the correct phonic for the word you called out and then shout out the word themselves. The student who does it correctly first, without any foul-play, is the winner.
One student listens for ‘oa’ phonic words and should run to one wall, another listens for ‘ow’ phonics words and should run to the opposite wall of the room. If their phonic word is called i.e. ‘soap’ or ‘crow’ they should to run to their wall before the other student turns to catch them.
If your phonics lesson has 3 or more similar yet different phonic sounds in it then this game is great. For instance, if your sounds are ‘ire’ ‘our’ and ‘ore’. Start by brainstorming some words for each of the different phonics on the board. Then draw on the floor 3 different squares- big enough for all students in the class to stand in when they need to. Assign each square 1 of the phonic sounds then in between each square draw red fire and 1 central stepping stone. Students start by standing in 1 square. Teacher then shouts out a phonic word relevant to a different square and each child should then quickly run to the next square without, stepping into the fire. The teacher can count down from five and any students who are not in the correct square when the time runs out are eliminated.
1 student says a word ‘book’ and the next student has to say a word that starts with the sound of the end of the previous word ‘cap’ then the next ‘pin’ and so on. This game is best with higher levels with more of a grasp of phonics.
Make 2 bags with phonics words in. The aim is to collect as many cards as possible from the bag. In turn students pull a card out and try to say word correctly. If they can then they get to keep the card. In the bag are also 6 ‘oops’ cards and 4 stars. The ‘oops’ cards mean students have to put all their cards back into the bag and the stars are worth 3 cards.
Non musical chairs
Put all phonics words up on the board, have the chairs in the middle of the classroom, get students to walk around the chairs, teacher holds their hand out, each student has to slap Teachers hand and say a phonics word, when teacher puts hand down they have to sit down, student with no chair then holds their hand out too and the students tap their hand and so on.
Whisper down the line
Students make two lines. Whisper the phonic or word to the first two students then they must whisper it down their line. When it reaches the student at the back of the line they must run to the board, write it and shout it out. If they do it first and correctly they win.
Get students to make a rhyme using the phonic words and other words with the same phonic sound and present to class in a straight forward way or by rapping it. This is ideal for higher levels.
Balloon volley ball
Divide the classroom into two equal halves. Use a row of chairs as a dividing line through the middle. Put a team on either side. Blow up a balloon and give it to one team. The aim is to hit the balloon over to their opponent’s side and make it touch the floor on the opposite side of the fence to gain a point. Set a theme or category, each time a student hits the balloon they say a related word. Penalise them for not doing so.
Last one standing
All students participate, stand up and when someone calls out a word with ‘C’ or ‘G’ in (for example) they should sit down for C words and stand up for G words. Students who make a mistake are eliminated. The last student standing wins.
Find, slap, say
Give each student a set of phonics cards. Stand at the side and say a relevant word. The students must race to find the right card in their pack, run up to the board, slap down their card and then shout out the word.
Have students sit in a circle, use a ball and throw it to another student saying either the phonic sound or the word that has the phonic in it, then they do the same to another student and so on. Varying speeds make this game more fun. However, rules are needed.
Hide the Flashcard
Have 1 student stand outside the classroom whilst another student inside the classroom hides the flashcard. When the student comes back in everyone chants the word- louder as they get nearer to the flashcard and quieter as they move further away from it.
Form a long line of all your students. Tell them to hold hands. You stand at one side and tell them that you are going to put your finger in an imaginary power socket. When you do this you will act out the shock and say a phonic or word. Shake your arms up and down to create a wave effect through the class, each student saying the sound or word as the ‘shock’ travels down the line.
Kung fu phonics
Write the phonic or word on the board. Stand your students up and get them to find a space in the room. Drill them like a martial arts club. Each time they do a punch or kick, standing on the spot, they shout out a phonic or piece of vocabulary.
Bring a student from each team up into the middle of the room. Put a phonic card on either side of the room. This game works with phonics which aren’t familiar to the students or that are confusing for them. Have them stand back to back and link arms. Shout out a word and have them battle to overpower their opponent to race and touch the correct card.
Write a phrase on the board such as ‘Hello’, ‘How are you?’ ‘Goodbye’ etc. Give them a range of people that they should practice saying it to i.e. a person in the street, a baby, your friend who you haven’t seen for 5 years, your boss, a family member who is dying.
Ping Pong phonics
After introducing the sound and some relevant words to your students bring 4 of them up to the front. Give them a pen and a ping pong ball each. When you shout out the word they have to write it on the floor then bounce the ping pong ball onto it. Every time the ball hits the floor they say the word. Bring the next 4 students up and do the same again.
Put students into pairs. Have them stand up facing each other. Establish a simple beat. First beat students clap their own hands, second beat they clap each others. Tell them that each time they clap they say the sound then on the 4th beat they have to say a word for the sound. A chant develops such as b b b bird, b b b baker etc. If there is already a chant in place, have the pair race against the rest of the class to finish the whole chant.
To drill word or phonic words, get your students to stand up and do a robot action. Each movement is accompanied by a syllable of a word.
Using none permanent marker pens, write a different phonic on each of your student’s shoes. When you shout out a word they must hop on the correct foot whilst chanting it.
Shout me to death
With a phonic or new word, tell your students that if they shout it at you long enough and loud enough you will die. Dramatise it several times and trick them into drilling.
Hold up your hand phonics
Students write the phonics on pieces of paper. When you shout out a word, they hold up the correct phonic.
Draw a huge start on the classroom floor with a different sound on each point. Stand students in the middle. Shout out words and have them run to the correct point and say it themselves.
Mexican wave actions
All students sit in a line. First student jumps up and does a star jump (or other action) whilst shouting out the sound. The next in line does the same and so on.
Students are divided into 2 even groups. Draw a river on the floor down the middle of the classroom about a meter wide and have 1 group of students on either side. Assign each group either a phonic ‘ue’ words like ‘blue’ or ‘oo’ words like ‘goose’ or 2 different grammar points. To begin 1 person is a crocodile, this could be the teacher, the T.A or if you have an odd number of students then use a student. The crocodile then stands in the middle of the river and shouts out different phonic words with the relevant phonic in it, the group with this phonic have to cross the river without being caught by the crocodile, if they are caught they become a crocodile too, when students are caught their feet must still be in the river at the time of capture. You could also use other animals like shark and small fish.