Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Outdoor Phonics – Teaching Ideas

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-7
Sam Collins

Support your children’s phonics skills with these exciting outdoor learning activities.

Phoneme treasure hunts

Give each child a clipboard with some initial phonemes on. Encourage them to find objects in the outdoor area that begin with that phoneme. Remember to check there are some first!


  • Print and laminate pictures for the children to find in the outdoor area. Ask the children to write the words when they find the picture.
  • Hide laminated cards with phonemes around the outdoor area and ask children to find the sounds to make a word.

Phoneme Hopscotch

Chalk a hopscotch grid onto the playground and fill the squares with phonemes. Encourage the children to say the phonemes as they land on them. Give the children chalks so that they can try making their own grids.

Sounds in a bucket

For this simple game, you need beanbags (or something similar) marked with phonemes and a large bucket.

  • To start with, use it as a sound recognition activity. Encourage the children to say the phoneme printed on the beanbag as they throw it into the bucket.
  • To encourage letter recognition, put the beanbags in front of the child and ask them to find the (for example) t and throw it in the bucket.
  • For more confident blenders, you can ask them to make a word by throwing the beanbags in the correct order into the bucket.

This activity can also be turned into a team game. Give each child a beanbag with the phoneme on and then call out phonemes. Whoever has that phoneme throws (or runs and drops it) into the bucket.

Spray the Letter

Set up the activity by using chalk to write some phonemes on a surface in your outdoor area. Give the children a spray bottle filled with water and ask them to find and spray the phonemes. You can extend this by asking them to find and spray the phonemes needed to spell given words.

If you have any other ideas for learning phonics outdoors, please add your comments below.

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