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Three Phonics Activities for Toddlers

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 3/2/2012

Want to get your child interested in phonics? Try some of these toddler phonics games to introduce your child to letters and their sounds.

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    Different toddlers learn different ways, so one game is not going to work with every toddler. These three games are divided according to modality, or strongest way of learning. Find the section that most closely describes your toddler, and try that game.

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    Tactile Phonics Games

    Some toddlers are tactile, which means that they learn best through touching. When teaching a new letter to your child, try making the process more tactile. Write the letter in very large print on a piece of paper, and cover the letter with glue. Give your child beads, glitter, or other small objects to cover the letter’s form. When the glue dries, let your child trace her finger around the letter as you say its name and sound. You can also cut a letter out of sandpaper to give your child a similar sensation.

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    Kinesthetic Phonics Games

    Some toddlers are more kinesthetic, which means that they learn best by moving their bodies. You can encourage these toddlers to twist their fingers – or their entire bodies – into the letter that you’re teaching them. It may be impossible, but that won’t stop some toddlers from trying! You can also teach phonics to kinesthetic toddlers by taking a walk around the block with them and pointing out different objects that start with the letter sounds that they have learned. Trees, cars, leaves, houses, and stop signs all lend themselves well to this activity.

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    Visual Phonics Games

    Create a phonics wall by cutting out pictures from magazines. You can start the phonics wall by teaching your toddler one simple letter and its sound. Then help your child look through a magazine to find words that start with that sound. For example, if you’re teaching your child the letter p, you might cut out pictures of pants, perfume, picture frames, or popcorn from the magazine. Help your child glue her findings to a piece of paper that has the letter “P" on top, and attach the paper to the wall. Each time you teach a new letter, add another paper to the wall to build your phonics wall.

    These toddler phonics games are great ways to get your toddler interested in the sounds that letters make. Do not expect your toddler to become an expert reader overnight! Instead, make sure to always introduce these phonics games enthusiastically, backing off if your toddler does not seem interested.