Wondering how do you teach sight words at home? These creative, low-prep activities will get your child learning their high-frequency words in a hurry!
I think we can all agree that learning sight words is an extremely important part of early literacy. Ultimately, the more sight words your child can recognize, the easier it will be for them to have reading success.
Because sight words don’t follow normal spelling rules and patterns, they can’t be sounded out in the traditional way – instead, they essentially need to be memorized, so continuous practice is key.
But pulling out the same flashcards every day with pre-school, kindergarten or first-grade kids will soon get old. Instead, we recommend making it fun by engaging young readers with creative, hands-on sight word activities and games.
By incorporating sight words into their everyday play, kids will be much more willing to learn, and therefore master their list much faster (without even knowing it!).
To help you teach sight words in a fun way, we compiled this ultimate list of sight word activities. There are ideas for kids who need to release energy with active, gross motor games, tons of outdoor activities, hands-on sensory play ideas, free printables, and much more.
Our hope is that this list will inspire your at-home learning, and allow your young readers to really blossom.
PIN for when you want to teach sight words in a fun way!
FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES
These sight word activities also help kids develop their fine motor skills in creative and engaging ways. Fine motor skills are essential for learning the other half of literacy, writing, so it’s a win-win!
(1) Sight Word Stamping: Use alphabet stamps in an easy activity to match letters and stamp out sight words. (via Fun Learning For Kids)
(2) Kinetic Sand Stamping: Or nix the paper and stamp into some kinetic sand! (via The Paige Diaries)
(3) Playdough Writing: Use a toothpick and some playdough to learn to write sight words. (via Fantastic Fun and Learning)
(4) Bend and Spell: Flex those little fingers by having them create sight words with pipe cleaners, Wiki Stix or rolled up playdough. (via Tickled Pink in Primary)
(5) Magic Words Watercolor Activity: Watch sight words magically appear in this watercolor art project from Montessori From the Heart.
(6) Clothespin Activity: This simple matching activity also helps kids develop finger strength using clothespins. (via Califf Creations)
(7) Travel Word Building: Looking for something on-the-go? Check out this magnetic travel sight word activity from I Heart Crafty Things.
(8) Golf Tee Hammering: An egg carton and golf tees are used to create this super creative sight word hammering activity. (via Montessori From the Heart)
(9) Sight Word Jars: Try these simple sight words in a jar for another travel option. (via No Time for Flashcards)
(10) Caterpillar Bottle Cap Activity: Create cute caterpillars and reuse bottle caps in this hands-on approach from This Reading Mama.
(11) Dot Sticker Activity: All you need are dot stickers and a piece of paper to do this fun sight word matching activity. (via Happy toddler Playtime)
(12) Sight Word Bugs: Make some friendly bugs using stickers to help your child memorize their sight words. (via Differentiated Kindergarten)
(13) Pool Noodle Build-a-Word: With just a pool noodle and a Sharpie your kids can stack and create tons of sight words! (via The Educators Spin on It)
(14) Building with Legos: Kids love this Lego match-up activity as they get to build and learn at the same time. (via Fun Learning For Kids)
(15) Sight Word Towers: Or use the Legos to build Sight Word Towers! (via Fun Learning For Kids)
(16) Place the Pom Poms: Using tweezers your kids will cover sight words with pom poms – helping them memorize while flexing their fine motor skills. (via Kindergarten is Crazy)
(17) Sight Word Threading: Get your kids using their pincer grip while practicing high frequency words with this simple bead threading activity. (via Childhood 101)
(18) Sight Word Spray: All kids love to use a spray bottle! Have them make pretty colors by reading and spraying sight words on paper towels. (via Montessori From the Heart)
(19) Magnetic Tile Match: This activity is super easy to set-up and uses supplies you probably already have: magnetic tiles and post-its! (via The Paige Diaries)
(20) Sight Word Fishing: Some simple flash cards, paperclips and a magnetic fishing pole is all you need to go “fishing” for sight words! Kids love this one! (via A Teachable Teacher)
(21) Easter Egg Spin: Repurpose your plastic Easter Eggs with this easy DIY spin and spell from Raising Dragons.
(22) Sight Word Scooping: Grab some ping pong balls and a muffin tin for this interactive sight word scooping activity. (via The OT Toolbox)
(23) Say It, Make It, Write It: This free printable mat allows your child to learn different sight words my manipulating them in various ways. (via You Clever Monkey)
GROSS MOTOR/ACTIVE INDOOR ACTIVITIES
Get up and move with these active sight word play ideas. These fun games will not only help kids learn their high-frequency words, but also burn off some energy in the process!
(1) Hop on Pop Sight Words: This simple hopping game will get your kids learning, while releasing some energy at the same time! (via The Chaos and the Clutter)
(2) Sight Word High Five: Get high-fiving with this sight word recognition game. (via Schooltime Snippets)
(3) Cup Crash! Read sight words and stack cups. The more you read, the better the crash! (via Coffee Cups and Crayons)
(4) Sight Word Target Practice: All you need for this fun sight word game is a ball, paper plates, a pen, and tape. (via I Can Teach my Child)
(5) Hanging Sight Words: Jump up and grab the sight words in this active activity from Simple Play Ideas.
(6) Toss the Balloon Sight Word Game: Practice hand eye coordination while learning sight words with this fun game from Gift of Curiosity.
(7) Sight Words on the Stairs: All you need are sticky notes and stairs in this sight word activity that will burn off some energy as kids read their way to the top. (via Hands on as we Grow)
(8) Bowling for Sight Words: Knock them down, read the words, then line them up again in this fun bowling game from Make, Take, & Teach.
(1) Chocolate Sight Words: This multi-sensory writing activity will have kids licking their fingers and asking for more. (via Natural Beach Living)
(2) Rainbow Salt Tray Sensory Writing: The colors and texture of this rainbow salt tray is a great way to engage kids in this early writing activity from Natural Beach Living.
(3) Shaving Cream Writing: Writing words in soft shaving cream is always a kid favorite! (via Half Pint Kids)
(4) Leaf Sensory Writing Tray: We love the use of leaves in this Leaf Sensory Writing Tray where your child can practice writing their high-frequency words without traditional paper and pen (The Imagination Tree)
(5) Sprinkles Sensory Tray: Use rainbow rice or sprinkles to make this colorful and inviting sensory tray to practice writing sight words. (via Montessori From the Heart)
(6) Construction Sensory Digging: This Construction themed sensory bin would be a treat for vehicle lovers! (via Montessori From the Heart)
(7) Digging for “Carrots”: Task your kids to dig and find the right sight word “carrot” in this sensory bin of beans. (via The Imagination Tree)
(8) Shaving Cream Sight Word Activity: Enjoy multi-sensory learning as you clean the letters in this sight word sensory bin from Mess for Less.
(9) Sight Word Ocean Sensory Bin: Want to learn about the ocean too? Try this fun ocean themed word search activity from Happy Toddler Playtime.
(10) Sight Word Sensory Bin: For hands-on learning, try this sandy sensory bin to see, build, and stamp sight words. (via Homeschool Preschool)
(11) Sight Word Sensory Tray: For more tactile learners, this Sensory Tray allows them to move while learning. (via The OT Toolbox)
(12) Squish and Seek: Adding in a fun ziploc baggie of paint to this activity really keeps kids engaged in this game of Squish and Seek. (via Playdough to Plato)
(13) Sensory Word Hunt: Go for a word hunt in a sensory bin to help learn sight words and letter recognition. (via Mess for Less)
(14) Shredded Paper Sensory Bin: This super simple sight word sensory bin uses shredded paper to hide words. (via The OT Toolbox)
LEARN THROUGH PLAY
Imaginative play is so fun to watch and with a little creativity can be turned into amazing opportunities to learn. We’ve gathered some of the best ideas on how to learn sight words through play.
(1) Sight Word Find: Putting large craft paper on the wall instantly makes this Sight Word Find activity more appealing. (via Busy Toddler)
(2) Mega Bloks Build: Your kids can build sight words in this block activity from The Printable Princess.
(3) Muffin Tin Game: Turn your muffin tin into 4 literacy games to play! (via Growing Book by Book)
(4) Reading Through Balloons: This is such a fun activity, as kids get to read “through” a balloon! (via The OT Toolbox)
(5) Duplo Sight Word Practice: Do you have a bunch of Duplo blocks that aren’t getting played with? Give them new life by creating a fun reading game. (via the Educators’ Spin on It)
(6) Pool Noodle Words: Keep sight words in-sight by placing these fun Pool Noodle words around the house. (via @playfulfamilies)
(7) Dice and Duplo Game: Make a simple sight word dice and transform your Duplos into letter cubes for this fun, build-a-word game. (via No Time for Flash Cards)
(8) String a Line to Matching Pairs: This fun matching activity gets your kids on the floor and only uses sticky notes, tape and string. (via Hand on as we Grow)
(9) Sight Word Parking Lot: Create a parking lot of sight words and drive the cars around to use imagination, play and learn. (via Juggling with Kids)
(10) Sight Word Pebbles: Forget the paper, writing sight words on pebbles gives kids a chance for open-ended play while learning. (via The Imagination Tree)
(11) Sight Word Pockets: Create a pocket word wall while practicing both spelling and identifying sight words. (via Fun Learning for Kids)
(12) Popsicle Stick Sight Word Puzzle: Create your own easy sight word puzzle with nothing but popsicle sticks! (via This Reading Mama)
(13) Sticky Note Sight Word Match: All you need for this simple matching game are some sticky notes! (via the Kindergarten Connection)
(14) Rocket to the Moon: Shoot to the moon and make sight word rockets while combining creativity with movement and learning. (via Growing Book by Book)
(15) Sight Word Ball Pit: How fun is this sight word ball pit for your kids to dive into?! (via The Kindergarten Smorgasboard)
(16) Fun with Gems: Rocks and gems are a favorite of pretty much any kid and this simple activity can be adapted for kids of different ages for sibling fun. (via the Educators’ Spin on It)
SIGHT WORDS GAMES
Games are a great way for parents and kids to have fun and learn together. These sight word games are perfect for bonding and learning.
(17) Sight Word Drag Racing: If your child loves Matchbox cards, this engaging Drag Racing game will keep them learning. (via Playdough to Plato)
(18) Blow Down Blocks: Use a fun party blower to engage your child in this game where they have to blow down the sight word blocks. (via Toddler Approved)
(19) Sight Word Jenga: Jenga can also be transformed into a great sight word game! Don’t knock the tower down! (via Kindergarten is Crazy)
(20) Sight Word Connect Four: Transform the game Connect Four into sight word practice in this fun idea from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.
(21) Showdown: Have fun together in this two person index card game. (via Playdough to Plato)
(22) Dominoes Sight Word Games: Easy set up and two ways to play with this after school idea from No Time for Flashcards.
(23) Post-it Memory Game: Play memory with sight words and post-its. (via Happy Toddler Playtime)
(24) Monster Munch: Need a study buddy? How about a cute monster that eats sight words? Check out this adorable play idea from The Craft Train.
(25) Pick Up Sticks: Save those wooden chopsticks next time you get take-out and put them to good use by creating this fun Pick Up Sticks sight word game. (via Jdaniel4’s Mom)
(26) Oh Snap! A fun popsicle stick game for parents to play with kids to help practice reading sight words and have a little friendly competition. (via Schooltime Snippets)
(27) Sight Word Soccer: This free printable makes it easy to get your child reading while competing in a fun soccer match. (via Playdough to Plato)
(28) Find the Bunny: Put old Easter eggs to good use with this fun Find the Bunny reading game. (via Squirrels of a Feather)
(29) Where’s The Bear: This game is so simple, but kids absolutely love it, and they have to read the words in order to find the bear! (via Sprinkles to Teaching)
(30) Pancake Flip: Have fun with play food and try this edible sight word game from Playdough to Plato.
(31) We’re Going on a Word Hunt: How many times can you find the word “the” in the living room? This is a fun word hunt that can be played throughout the house! (via Walking by the Way)
(32) Sight Word Go Fish: Transform the classic game, Go Fish, into one where your child is practicing and reading sight words – so smart! (via Always Expect Moore)
FUN WITH WATER
Combine outdoor water play with sight word learning. These ideas are perfect for hot summer days or any other time you feel like switching up the day and getting a little wet while learning.
(1) Water Balloon Toss: Instead of a water balloon fight, why not try turning those water balloons into literacy practice on your driveway? (via Primary Playground)
(2) Water Balloon Throw: A slightly different take on the sidewalk water balloon toss above, this one has them reading sight words on a balloon and then throwing it at the word it matches on a fence or wall. Equally fun! (via Life Your Way
(3) Sight Word Fence Spray: Clean the sight words from the fence by spraying and reading. (via Finding the Golden Gleam)
(4) Put Out The Fire Word Spray: Play firefighter as you spray down sight word flames with a hose or squirt gun! (via What Moms Love)
(5) Sight Word Scrub: This fun scrubbing game can also teach your child about cleaning and responsibility. (via Danya Banya)
(6) Sight Word Swim Game: Turn pool time into learning time with this sight word swim game from Coffee Cups and Crayons.
(7) Sight Word Dive: Having a pool day? Go diving for sight words! (via I Can Teach My Child)
(8) Pool Noodle Sight Word Boat Race: See whose sight word boat floats to the finish line first! Great for the pool, or even just the bathtub. (via The Educator’s Spin On It)
Get outside and get learning! Just because you are outside doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. Use these outdoor ideas to learn sight words while outside.
(1) Puddle Jumping: Grab your rain boots and turn puddle jumping into learning with this active game from Fantastic Fun and Learning.
(2) Chalk Twister: A classic game with an educational twist. Draw your own sight word twister outside! (via Confidence Meets Parenting)
(3) Sight Word Scavenger Hunt: Get moving by setting up a sight word scavenger hunt outdoors! (via The OT Toolbox)
(4) Frog Hop Sight Words: Jumping is great exercise and this lily pad game helps kids learn their sight words while burning off energy. (via Fun Learning for Kids)
(5) Sight Words Bean Bag Toss: Write sight words on your driveway and then call them out – see if your kids can land a bean bag on the right word. (via A Mom With A Lesson Plan).
(6) Chalk Movement Game: Create an oversized matching game outside to get kids moving and reading. (via The Educators’ Spin On It)
(7) Sight Word Hopscotch: With a few slight modifications, turn this classic playground game into a chance to learn! (via JDaniel4’s Mom)
(8) Chalk Painting: Kids can practice their sight words while tracing over them with chalk paint in this simple activity from Mess For Less.
(9) Outdoor Duplo Hunt: We’re going on a block hunt! Anytime “indoor toys” get to go outside is exciting for kids so they will love this outdoor Duplo hunt from No Time for Flashcards.
(10) Pirate Sight Word Treasure Hunt: Step into your imagination and become a pirate looking for buried sight word treasure! (via The Imagination Tree)
(11) Star Wars Sight Word Game: Battle Darth Vader in this engaging Star Wars themed game from Playdough to Plato.
(12) Squeegee Sight Words: Need your windows cleaned? Grab a chalk marker, some water and a squeegee and instruct your child to clean away the words that you call out. Talk about good, clean fun! (via Little Learning for Two)
(13) Yard Cleanup Sight Word Activity: Learn to recycle and clean up trash while using your imagination and practicing to read in this creative yard cleanup activity from No Time For Flashcards.
(14) Sight Word Soccer: Combine sports and literacy in this great movement game from Coffee Cups and Crayons.
Snag these incredible free printables for more games and activities that get kids learning and reading sight words. Seeing the words in different ways is a great way to reinforce them and these free printables require very little set-up and additional materials, making it easier than ever to encourage your kids to put in the extra practice.
(1) Roll & Read Sight Word Printable: We love the flexibility of this free printable Roll & Read Sight Word game – you get to write in the sight words your child needs to focus on. (via No Time for Flash Cards)
(2) Rainbow Roll & Write: Roll the dice to decide a color and trace the sight words on this free printable worksheet. Repeat until you have written the word in every color of the rainbow! (via This Reading Mama)
(3) Ice Cream Sight Words: Match the ice cream to its cone using sight words in a printable game from A Dab of Glue Will Do.
(4) Sight Word Blackout: Be the first to cover your board in this free printable game from This Reading Mama.
(5) Sight Word Guess Who?: Print this fun game to play a literacy version of the classic game, Guess Who? (via This Reading Mama)
(6) Dot & Dab Sight Word Printable Sheets: Use dot markers to find all the circles that match the sight word in the middle of this printable from Kindergarten Mom.
(7) Very Hungry Caterpillar Sight Word Game: This simple game inspired by the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, makes reading practice fun. (via Playdough to Plato)
(8) Roll & Cover Gingerbread House Printable: Print out a sight word gingerbread house and roll the dice to place “gumdrops” on the roof to decorate! Perfect for the holiday season. (via Kindergarten Mom)
(9) Printable Sight Word Flashcards: Find these cute flashcards to print for free from This Reading Mama.
(10) Roll a Sight Word: Roll a dice and write sight words from a printable list that has the same number of letters as you rolled. (via I Can Teach My Child)
(11) Sight Word Bingo: Adapting a classic game for sight words. Grab your sight word bingo printable from Kindergarten Mom.Just by using a few of these activities every week, your child will soon master their sight words, setting them up for years of reading success ahead!
Kat is a mom to two young boys and is the force behind the blog Califf Life Creations. She has a passion for nature, creative learning and inspiring families to get outside together. Kat has a deep love for the natural world and is trying to raise her boys with the same appreciation of the outdoors. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for nature learning, sustainable mom life, and family adventure!