As a homeschool family, we’ve been collecting alphabet tools and phonics activities for years. Teaching my girls to read has definitely been a highlight in my journey as a homeschool momma.
Lucky for me, my youngest is now 6, so I’ve been pulling out phonics materials left and right as I prepare to teach him to read. Fortunately, he’s been obsessed with the alphabet since he was 2 years old!
Special Needs Leads To Phonics Early
My son’s special needs include a pretty significant speech delay. Understandably, this has led to lots of frustration and severe meltdowns that started when he was around 18 months old. You can read more about our journey with our boy here.
On the flip side, his brain differences have also given him the ability to hyperfocus. His ability to zero-in on a subject has been directed towards the alphabet since he was a babe. Ultimately, this is a gift which we hope to harness for his success. Learn more about harnessing the power of the ADHD brain here.
Simple Phonics Activities
The following phonics activities and resources are very user-friendly. Each one can help you support your preschooler’s language and pre-reading skills in fun and engaging ways. And of course, learning is greatly enriched when mom and dad are a part of the process.
These can also be used for any child who needs to strengthen their basic phonic, spelling and reading skills.
(Ultimately, age doesn’t matter. Always focus on the next step in your child’s educational journey. That next step is always based on YOUR child’s needs and NOT artificial benchmarks.)
(I receive a small commission when you purchase through my Amazon link. This helps me in providing more free content on my page. I appreciate your support.) However, I will only ever recommend high-quality products that I have used and found effective.
These DVDs are educational screen time at its best. I was introduced to this little series about 10 years ago when I was teaching my oldest to read. She’d hit a wall in her motivation to read (probably because she was too young to have mommy pressuring her into academics).
In first-time mom desperation, I headed over to my local homeschool store to seek advice. One of the veteran homeschool moms who worked there wisely told me that it was time to “back off” my child.
“She is so young. Give her a break and make learning fun.”
Among other ideas, she suggested the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVDs.
I took that sweet lady’s advice, and took a step back from the formal instruction. My daughter and I played with magnetized letters and read fun books (think Dr. Suess). And while in the car, I popped in the Leap Frog Series. Both of my daughters ended up loving these, learned all of their letter sounds and my screen-time guilt dropped significantly. Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!
So when my son came around 4 years later, it was a no-brainer to use them again. This series originally began with the Letter Factory DVDs. Now you can stream them on Hulu.
Here’s why I always recommend the Leap Frog series to support phonics instruction.
Leap Frog & Multisensory Phonics
Leap Frog provides a multisensory approach to preschool learning. Using multiple areas of the brain to receive and process information is key to retention of new information. Leap Frog Company does a great job to provide this!
1. Visual Input
The use of imagery allows the child to receive phonics information visually.
2. Auditory Input With A Focus on Rhythm
Song and rhythmic chants hit the the musical and auditory areas of the brain.
If your kiddo is anything like mine, the dancing alone will support longterm memory.
Leap Frog Has Expanded
The Leap Frog Series has since expanded their DVD series to include many more subjects including numbers, shapes, vowel-teams, digraphs and more. The story lines engage and support your child’s early learning.
I love this sticker set of ABCs and Numbers from Melissa and Doug. It contains multiple sheets of letters designed in a variety colors, font styles and prints. These sticker sets can be used in a variety of phonics activities. Here are a few ideas.
- Spell words aloud (or simply say the phonics sounds) and have your child choose and stick the correct letters
- Spell your child’s name on a large piece of paper. Then have him identify the letters, peel them, and stick them on top of the hand-written letters.
- Have your kiddo choose his own words to stick and spell
These stickers peel easily without ripping making these a great choice for littles needing fine motor skill practice.
The Melissa and Doug resources can withstand the beatings that often come from being used by young children. This alphabet and number stamp set is another tool that can be used in phonics activities.
My son loves using the stamps to “spell” his name and the names of our family members. When he was into trains, we spelled the names of the Thomas & Friends trains.
I also like these stamps because the set includes basic punctuation marks and numbers. Therefore, it can be used for years and in a variety of ways. The numbers are an added bonus for obvious reasons.
Fine Motor Skills & Phonics
Strengthen your child’s fine motor skills when using the Melissa & Doug stamps. Simply gripping, inking and imprinting the stamps on paper strengthen those fine motor skills. The options are endless with this stamp set.
- Practice Letter Name Identification
- Practice Letter Sound to Letter Symbol Correspondence
- Word Building by Copying
- Spelling By Sound (once simple sounds are mastered)
- Number Recognition
When your child is ready for formal reading instruction (don’t rush), you’ll definitely want to check out All About Learning Press. This company supports phonics, reading and spelling instruction using the orton-gillingham method of instruction.
The program is created for the homeschool teacher in mind, so there is never a need to worry about “not being a teacher.” Any homeschool parent can pick up this program and teach reading and spelling with confidence.
Fun Phonics Activities In Your Home
What about you, Friend? What phonics activities do you enjoy using with your younger student? Do you find it challenging to get your child interested in learning?
For tips as to how to engage your preschooler or younger child in learning, check out this post. Tips For Teaching Preschoolers.
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