Teaching phonics to a child can feel repetitive. If it’s boring for the carer, think how bad it is for a child with a limited attention span. Helping a child to learn phonics needs to be fun and creative. A fun phonics chart is a great way to keep the learning stimulating and different.
Draft in family and friends to round up 26 empty matchboxes. These can be small or large, but they do need to be in good condition; no broken, torn or otherwise damaged boxes. Next, collect a sheet of card large enough to take all the matchboxes side by side, in two rows of thirteen. If no single sheet is available, tape together some cereal boxes, cut to size.
Paint or cover the card with a nice bright colour. Poster paints or bright wrapping paper are great for this. When the covering is dry, paste the matchboxes, complete, onto the card. Take time to position the boxes so they can be opened easily, and without interfering with each other. It is easiest if the inside of the box pushes up to reveal the contents, so watch the spacing (Leaving the space of an open matchbox between the two rows works well).
Now place consecutive letters of the alphabet on the inner base of each box – Top row A – M, bottom row N –Z. What happens next is down to personal choice. The simplest option is to paste a picture to match the letter on the outside of each box. The second option, requiring a little more work, is to have the letter on the outside of the box and a model or actual item inside the box – For example, the A box could contain a toy apple from a food playset, or B could contain a biscuit (C/Cookie).
Now ask the child to sound out the letter, and then they can pop open the box to see if they were right.
Pin the phonic
A different way to approach the problem of making learning phonics fun, is to try a new take on an old game; Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
Begin by creating a large cardboard sheet, as before, painting or covering as preferred. Now cut out all 26 letters of the alphabet from card, or foam or use ready-cut letters available from toy stores. Attach a small lump of sticky tack to the reverse of each letter.
Hang the card sheet on the wall (or it can be used flat on the floor/table). Stick 26 items onto it, one representing each letter of the alphabet. These can be real items or they can be pictures cut from grocery boxes, magazines and any source of appropriate pictures.
Now, give the child one letter at a time, get them to sound it out and then go and stick the letter on the picture with the right sound.
These are two creative and fun ways to teach a child phonics.