When learning sight words, repetition is the key to fluency. We want our students to be able to read smoothly, without a lot of pauses. Since sight words make up majority of text we read and write, these little words are a big part of reading success. Planning fun sight word activities is also uber-important.
Sight words, in most cases, are words that can't be sounded out, they need to be memorized. Continuous practice will help readers learn and remember the sight words so that they become second nature.
The trick is to keep the sight word activities fun and fresh so that students are excited about learning, rather than it being a chore. Any kid (and teacher) will tell you learning with plain flashcards is not going to cut it. The activities need to be hands-on.
So, today I wanted to share fun sight word activities that are easy to prep and engaging for students – and are WAY more fun than just memorizing from flashcards!
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Rubber stamps make for some fun sight word activities. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I am all about repurposing things to create a new activity. So, with that in mind, these stamps can be used two ways. You can grab some stamps and stamp pads and have students stamp their sight words in a notebook or on a piece of paper.
Another alternative is to have students use stamps to press the letters into play dough. Students flatten out the dough and press in the stamps to leave the letter impression in the dough. This is a great way to help strengthen fine motor skills too!
I like to have a separate set of stamps that are just for play dough. It helps keep this activity and the play dough cleaner, otherwise the ink from the stamp pad rubs off into the play dough.
If you're looking for an easy and versatile sight word activity, check out this Know and Show Sight Word kit. Students can stamp their sight words right on the mat.
Best of all the little word cards are editable, so you can customize the sight word cards to fit your class list.
Word Building Letter Cubes
Students love to use linking cubes for math, so why not use them for literacy activities too? Word building letter cubes are a fun way for students to have hands-on practice physically putting the letters together, in order, to spell sight words. I love that, just like magnetic letters, they have one color for vowels and a different color for consonants.
If you don't have word building cubes, you can make your own using old math cubes. Just take a sharpie and write letters on the sides. Take care to make sure all of the cubes are facing the same direction so that they link together.
Mini Eraser Words
Easy to prep and fun sight word activities are the best. For this one you'll need sight word cards or flash cards and mini erasers. If you don't have flash cards you can create some using index cards. Students read the sight word on the card and use the mini erasers to form the word.
The letter beads pictured below came from Lakeshore. They are one of my favorites for building sight words! But if you're like me and love the convenience of Amazon, you can find a similar set lacing letters set on the ‘Zon.
Just like with the letter cubes I mentioned above, these beads provide students with a tactile way to put the letters together as students string the sight word together. The strings that came with the beads were kind long, so I just used pipe cleaners.
The activity pictured also comes from the Know and Show Sight Word kit. This picture shows the mat which prompts students to build the sight word using two types of manipulatives. Students can use magnetic letters on top and letter beads on the bottom. Or letter beads on the top and a dry erase marker on the bottom. It's pretty flexible!
Shaving Cream Activities
I think it's a kindergarten rite of passage to use shaving cream. It's a tool I used every year in my classroom. Whether it was practicing letters, numbers, names, or sight words – seeing that can brought smiles to every little face! Plus it makes the room smell amazing.
Shaving cream works great for a whole group activity. Give each student a small squirt and have them spread it to create a thin layer in front of them. If your students have a hard time with personal space, plastic plates from the dollar store as a work space.
Call out a sight word and have students use their finger to write the word. Quickly circulate the room to check for accuracy. For a challenge, you can mix-up a sight word and write it on the board. Have students unscramble the word and write it correctly in the shaving cream.
Magazines Sight Word Hunt
Magazines are another way to practice sight words and sneak in fine motor skills. You can have students look through magazines to find sight words. They can cut those sight words out and glue them on a paper. Or you can give students a list of sight words and have students cut out individual letters to spell the sight words.
Be sure to preview the magazines first and remove any advertisements that may not be suitable for little eyes.
Want to get kindergartners excited about learning sight words? Hand them over some highlighters! These magical little writing utensils are a great way to get kids looking for and recognizing sight words in text.
Simply provide students with magazines (again preview them first!) and have students look through the text to highlight the sight words that they find. You can also rip out the pages and give students just the pages.
If you're not wanting to use magazines, Find the Word: Sight Word Worksheets Bundle is a great alternative. Just print and use highlighters or bingo dabbers to identify the sight words on the page. You can add some fun finger pointers for an extra special touch.
Wikki Stix or Yarn
If you're not familiar with Wikki Stix, they are these really neat yarn-like sticks that students can bend and mainpulate to form objects, letters, and numbers. They are re-usable and there is no prep required. Unlike yarn, the sticks already come pre-cut and ready to use.
Supply students with a list of sight words and have them form each letter in the word to spell the sight words.
A great inexpensive alternative is yarn. You can cut yarn into long strips and have student form the letters in the words.
Magnetic Letter Activities
I absolutely love these giant magnetic letters. They are much bigger than traditional magnetic letters, which means they are great for little hands. Another easy center idea is to have students use these large magnetic letters to build sight words on the board. Students think it is an extra treat when they get to work at your teacher easel.
Add in some fun pointers for students to read the sight words after they've built the words.
Sight Word Games
Learning to interact, get along, and problem solve is an important part of the early primary classroom. Incorporating games is a great way to not only develop strategic thinking, it also help students learn to problem solve.
Memory Matching Sight Word:
Create this game by writing sight words on index cards. Be sure the words can't be seen through the index cards. You can also use foam cut-outs and a sharpie to write the words on. You'll need two cards for each sight word. Students lay the sight word cards face down and take turns selecting two cards to try and make a match.
Students play with a partner. They will need a set of sight word cards. Player 1 will select three sight word cards, read them, and lay the cards in front of them and then close their eyes. Then player 2 will remove one of the sight word cards. Finally, player 1 will open their eyes and determine which sight word is missing. Students will switch rolls and continue to pla
This is a twist on the traditional Tic-Tac-Toe game using sight words. To play, instead of choosing X or O, each student choose a sight word. They use the same rules as the traditional game, but instead of writing X or O they write the sight word they selected at the beginning of the game. Each time they write the word, they have to read it too. The first person to get three words in a row is the winner!
Sight Word Trail Game:
This game is editable so you can add your own sight words. Students start on the first space in the upper left corner of the game board. They spin the spinner and identify the sight word they spun. They identify the sight words on the trail and move their game piece to the nearest sight word that corresponds to the one that they spun. The gray shaded themed spaces are free spaces.
The first player to make it all the way around to the last space on the game board is the winner. To win the game, the player must spin the final word shown in the last space on the game board.
Kids love writing with different tools. Switching out writing utensils is an easy way to keep things fresh. You can begin by giving students a whiteboard and dry erase marker to write their words. Switch up the activity by adding a different color marker. You can have students write vowels in one color and consonants in another.
Students can use a dry erase marker to pyramid write their sight words on the whiteboard. If you're not sure what that looks like, scroll down just a bit on this post. On the freebie picture I've written the word “with” as a pyramid on the whiteboard.
Let's face it. Sometimes we just need something pre-made. Maybe we don't have the time or energy to create our own. You can find pre-made sight word activities in my TpT shop. From cookie word building and gum word building to secret codes – you'll find a growing variety of fun sight word activities that are easy to prep and super engaging for students.
Sight Word Freebie
I've put together a freebie that you can use to assess your students and keep track of their sight word development.
You can take a peek at the picture below to see an example of pyramid writing on the dry erase board. Once students have completed their pyramid, I have them write the word one more time and then underline it as they say the word.
The sight word cards and check-up list are editable, so you can type in your own words and make this activity fit your classroom.
If you’re looking for more DIY hand-on sight word activities for Kindergarten click here to read more.