Phonics is a well recognised way of teaching children to read quickly and is proven to help children to become fluent and confident readers. Recognising the sounds that single letters and combinations of letters make is the first stage in phonics and helps children begin to decode words that they see or hear. Water is always a big hit with children and adding some phonics pebbles to an outdoor water tray gives children plenty of opportunities to learn while they play and splash to their hearts content.
Our Under the Sea phonics tray allows children to begin to familiarise themselves with, say and experiment with blending sounds. To set up our Under the Sea phonics play, we added shells, bubble tube fish, water and phonics pebbles to an activity tray. We also placed some sorting bowls nearby and some scoops and tweezers for children to scoop and sort the pebbles.
The children needed no encouragement, they immediately started scooping the pebbles into the sorting bowls whilst splashing in the water.
To turn this activity into a fun game, the sorting bowls could each be labelled with a laminated picture for the children to sort the phonics into the bowl based on the sounds in the names of the pictures.
Children can also practice sounding and saying the phonics as they scoop and sort or finding the correct pebble depending on the word or sound that you say. For example you could say fish and children can then look for the pebbles with the sounds contained in the word fish.
This activity can cover a number of EYFS goals including:
- Communication and language – describing and discussing what is in the tray and how they will play with it
- Physical development – fine motor skills for sorting and moving pebbles using scoops and tweezers as well as helping to fill trays with water using watering cans and buckets.
- Personal, social and emotional development – deciding how they will play with the tray, which tools to use. Working together to sort pebbles.
- Literacy – recognising, saying and blending sounds
- Maths – number pebbles can be used instead of phonics pebbles to encourage counting, sorting and number recognition
- Understanding the world – discovering how water moves and behaves.
Can you think of any more fun games to play with Phonics pebbles? For more fun ocean themed activities, visit our Under the Sea page or follow us on Pinterest.