48 Fun Sight Word Activities That Work

Teachers are always on the hunt for great sight word activities. Sight words are any words readers recognize automatically “by sight”—for fluent readers, that’s almost all words! High-frequency words, the most commonly occurring words in written English like those on the Dolch list, are often thought of as the most crucial sight words.

It’s a myth that blindly memorizing every letter in a sight word is the only way to learn it. The science of reading tells us that linking sounds and letters is the most effective way for kids’ brains to learn any word. Many common words are easy to tackle using beginning phonics skills (like “at,” “can,” “him,” etc.), so staying true to a strong phonics curriculum is one way to support kids’ sight word learning. Even irregularly spelled words have decodable parts, e.g., kids can use the sounds of “s” and “d” to help with “said,” even if the “ai” is unexpected. Experts often call these words “heart words” to call out for kids that they should learn the unexpected word parts “by heart.” (If all this is unfamiliar to you, it can feel overwhelming, but you’ve got this! Check out teaching guru Jillian Starr’s explanation for more help.)

Check out these low-prep and engaging sight word activities for both teaching and practicing words.

1. Map it and drive it

Toy truck on a lego board under the word have as an example of sight word activities

This is a genius way to introduce words with appealing materials: Say the word, represent each sound with a LEGO brick, write letters for each sound, and “drive” to read it.

Source: @droppinknowledgewithheidi

2. Smush play dough for each sound

Template for tapping and mapping words with play dough as an example of sight word activities

Set up a routine that works for any word. Play dough squishing for each sound is the ultimate multi-sensory component.

Source: @playdough2plato

3. Map words with a magnet wand

Template for mapping sight words with a magnet want and magnetic dot markers as an example of sight word activities

It is so super-satisfying to drag those magnetic dots around! Watch the video below for lots of tips on introducing a word using this process.

Source: @warriorsforliteracy

4. Make a mini book

Mini book for learning the word the as an example of sight word activities

Lots of handy info in one place for your little learners.

Source: @hughesheartforfirst

5. Tap it, pop it, learn it!

Template for tapping and popping sight words as an example of sight word activities

Hardwire those words in kids’ brains with this comprehensive word intro routine. (You had us with the pop its!)

Source: @hellojenjones

6. Find and swat words

Sight word cards laid out in a grid pattern with a red fly swatter as an example of sight word activities for the classroom

An oldie but such a goodie. Find a word in an array and WHACK! Swat it with a fly swatter!

Source: @kids_play_learn_laugh

7. Flip word pancakes

Sight words on cardboard circles that resemble pancakes with a small frying pan and spatula arranged on a white work surface

Serve up sight word pancakes while practicing spelling them aloud.

Source: @bee_happy_teaching

8. Wear heart word bracelets

Event bracelets with sight words as an example of sight word activities

Make kids feel like sight word VIPs.

Source: @teachingmoore

9. Search for sight word balls

Small multicolored plastic ball pit balls with sight words written in chalk marker

Write sight words on ball pit balls with a chalk marker or dry-erase marker. Kids can race around hunting for balls to read and toss in a basket, or hunt through a big tub of balls for a certain word.

Source: @preschoolforyou

10. Start a sight word band

A teacher holding a wooden spoon in front of sticky notes with sight words stuck to various pots and pans and other metal objects

Loud but oh-so-fun! Feel the rhythm while tapping and reading sight words stuck to homemade percussion instruments.

Source: @earlyyears_withmrsg

11. Drive on a sight word path

Child's hand driving a toy car over a path of magnetic tiles with sight words written on them

This is one of many fun ways to use magnetic tiles for learning! Kids love “knocking down” word tiles with a toy car as they read each one.

Source: @travisntyler

12. Use sticky notes to inspire sight word sentences

Sticky note with the sight word "said" stuck to a pink child's bike helmet

Have kids stick words on items that give them ideas for sentences. “My Mom said to wear a helmet!” = so good!

Source: @kinneypodlearning

13. Write words on a sensory bag

A zip-top bag with blue paint inside with the word "and" traced onto it to match a sight word card

So easy: Fill a zip-top bag with a small amount of kid-safe paint, seal well, and have kids practice “writing” sight words with their finger or a cotton swab.

Source: @makeitmultisensory

14. Wear a sight word crown

Paper crown headbands printed with rightwards

Wear your word proudly and practice reading others’ words. Fun in person or virtually.

Source: @mrsjonescreationstation

15. Play a magnetic-tile board game

Magnetic tiles with sight words arranged in a board game maze as an example of sight word activities

We love new ideas for ways to use magnetic tiles for sight word activities. Easy to set up and fun to play.

Source: @twotolove_bairantwins

16. Spell words to a familiar tune

Spell Words to a familiar tune

Get sight words stuck in everyone’s head, in a good way. We’d add a line for chanting the sounds in the word!

Source: @saysbre

17. Feed a word monster

Feed A Word Monster sight word activities

Nom, nom, nom.

Source: @ecplayandlearn

18. Search for the pom-pom under sight word cups

Search for pom poms under sight word cups

Read all the words as you try to find the cup that hides the prize.

Source: @la.la.learning

19. Play sight word KABOOM

Play sight word kaboom

This classroom classic is perfect for sight words. If you need a refresher on the rules, Jillian Starr covers them.

Source: @essentiallykinder

20. Roll and write words

Roll and write words for sight word activities

Roll, write, repeat.

Source: @mylittlepandamonium

21. Write words with rainbow colors

Write words with rainbow colors

Bonus points for aromatic markers.

Source: @mylittlepandamonium

22. Trace words with flashlights

Trace words with flashlights

Stock up on batteries because kids never get tired of this!

Source: @giggleswithgerg

23. Find words in plastic eggs

Find words in a sensory bin

Give kids a checklist of words to find as they open each egg.

Source: @blooming_tots1

24. Spy words around the classroom

Spy words around the classrom

Just add a magnifying glass and clipboard to make kids feel like supersleuths!

Source: @readingcorneronline

25. Find words in the morning message

Spy words in the morning message

Don’t forget about old standbys! This is one of our favorite ways to get kids to recognize sight words in connected text.

Source: @tales_of_a_kinder_classroom

26. Build words with bricks

Build words with bricks

Such a great use of extra building bricks!

Source: @raysinkinder

27. Write words in sand

Write words in individual sandboxes

Easy-peasy to set up and keep neat if you use plastic pencil boxes.

Source: @teacherhacks

28. Spell words on a construction site

Make a word construction site

Bulldozing over each word to read it is the best part!

Source: @planningplaytime

29. Spell words with toy cars

Spell words with toy cars

Drive on over!

Source: @lozlovesprep

30. Park in a sight word “parking lot”

Park words in a sight words parking lot

This one is easy to modify based on whatever toys are available in the classroom or at home.

Source: @msbendersclassroom

31. “Plant” words in play dough

Plant words in play dough

Watch those reading skills grow!

Source: @planningplaytime

32. Build words in a sensory tub

Build words in a sensory tub

Because spelling is just more fun when your hands are covered in beans!

Source: @coffeeandspitup

33. Write words on a magnetic drawing board

Write words on a magnetic drawing board

That eraser track makes for a perfect word card holder!

Source: @moffattgirls

34. Or write words on the window!

Write words on the window

Everyone wants a turn to write on the window!

Source: @kindergarten_matters

35. Shhh! Discover words written in invisible ink

Discover secret words written in invisible ink

Write words in white crayon and reveal them with watercolors on top!

Source: @teachstarter

36. Dot-paint words with a cotton swab

dot paint words with a cotton swab

Calming and effective.

Source: @sightwordactivities

37. “Type” words on a keyboard

type words on a keyboard cover

Busy day at the sight word office! Use a keyboard cover or any old keyboard.

Source: @lifebetweensummers

38. Read words before heading through the door

Read words before heading out the door

The line leader can double as the word pointer during transitions.

Source: @ms.rowekinder

39. Read the word the teacher’s wearing!

Read the word the teacher is wearing

Wait, is there something on my shirt?

Source: @theprimarypartner

40. Take a sight word cakewalk

Take a sight word cake walk

Choose a winning word when the music stops!

Source: @joyfulinkinder

41. Play sight word hopscotch

Play sight word hopscotch outdors

If you can’t get outdoors, tape on the floor works just as well.

Source: @wheretheliteracygrows

42. Play tic-tac-toe

Tic-tac-toe game using sight words as an example of sight word activties

I’ll be team “the.”

Source: @create_n_teach

43. Go sight word bowling

Bowl those words right over

No bowling pins? Use half-filled plastic water bottles instead.

Source: @thecreativeteacher_

44. Ready, aim, read

Hit words with foam darts

Just throw a beanbag at a word target if foam darts are a no-go.

Source: @laurens_lil_learners

45. Play muffin tin ball toss

Toss a ball and read the word it lands on

Toss and read. It’s easy to use colored muffin cups to prep different sets of words.

Source: @homeschooling_fun_with_lynda

46. DIY sentence flash cards

Sight word sentences on flash cards as an example of sight word activities

Authentic use of words in context for the win.

Source: @teachertipsandtales

47. Play sight word checkers

Sight words checkers

King me! If kids don’t have a partner available, they can “play” with a stuffed animal and get double practice.

Source: @sightwordactivities

48. Play sight word Guess Who?

Sight words guess who

Set up this game once and use it forever.

Source: @lessons_and_lattes

We’d love to hear—what are your favorite sight word activities? Share in the comments below.

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