Guest post by Kindergarten and Preschool for Parents and Teachers.

Young children learn with hands-on exploration using their five senses and movement. Of course you want them to learn to read, but do their eyes glaze over when you try to interest them in flashcards?  Enter: a letter sound activity that requires movement and action!

For more preschool fun, check out our Ultimate Preschool Activity Pack in our shop!

Children will enjoy learning letter sounds (phonics) through playful activities.   Reading is accomplished when a child understands to blend the sounds of the letters in a word. Many reading experts advocate teaching the sounds before letter names and teaching lower case letters before upper case because most print is in lower case.

Learn Letter Sounds with Action
Let’s use the example of trying to teach a child the letters in their name, such as Sam, starting with the letter S. Here are some letter sound activity ideas in which will help with vocabulary, exercise and reading skills:

Indoor Actions

    • Sssssslither like a Sssssssnake while you hisssss
    • Move Slowly like a Sloth
    • Spin
    • Crawl like a Slimy Snail or Spider
    • Fly like a Seagull
    • Squeeze, Squash, and Stamp Scented playdough
    • Slump, Stomp, Slide your feet
    • Swim in the Sea
    • Do actions in patterns: Skip, Slide, Slither, Stomp

Indoor Activities

    • Draw a Snake for your child to cut with Scissors and decorate
    • Cut pictures from magazines or comics for a collage of S words
    • Scribble
    • Smell or taste jars: Sweet (perfume), Sour (pickles) and Salty (pretzels)
    • Sort or match Shapes and letters in child’s name
    • Have your child trace their name going over it with different colors calling it rainbow coloring
    • Eat alphabet Soup
    • Sing Songs
    • Label S words in your house with index cards
    • Cut out an S shape from fine Sandpaper. Cover it with Salt in a tub. Have your child find the letter and trace it.
    • Say the letter Sounds Slowly as you run your finger under their name – increasing in Speed. Children will enjoy imitating the Slow than faster pace combined with their movement of Sliding a toy car or train
    • Have your child take a bath with foam letters and hunt for the letters in their name

Outdoor Activities

    • Make Slime by mixing cornstarch, water and a few drops of food coloring
    • Sidewalk chalk: Make a large-sized box letter of S and have your child trace it, lie down on top of the letter and put S objects inside the letter.
    • Play in the Sprinkler
    • Play on a Slip-and-Slide
    • Plant Seeds
    • Make a Sandcastle
    • Take a walk. What do you See? What do you Smell? What feels Soft? Write the words down for reading later
    • Spaghetti paint: Throw wet spaghetti on a large piece of cardboard. Spaghetti can be colored Soaking it in water and a few drops of food coloring
    • Swatter paint: Use a flyswatter to paint with washable diluted paints on the driveway – or just paint with water

The baby is doing his first steps

Imaginary Play

  • Spiderman – Spins a web
  • Superman – make a cape with a towel or newspaper
  • Doctor or Veterinarian performing Surgery
  • Saddle Up, Cowboy!
  • Act Silly, act Serious


  • Make signs that say Stop and Go and yell out the actions
  • Blue’s Clues: Give your child clues to lead them to an object that begins with S
  • Go on a Scavenger Hunt: Print out or draw some S words that you might find on the hunt and have your child cross words off the list as you find them. Some objects you might See:
    • Stop Sign
    • Swing
    • Slide
    • Skates
    • Scooter
    • Shoes
    • Socks
    • Sun
    • Sunglasses


Now it is time to be Still and read Green Eggs & Ham, having your child find the words Sam I Am. Run your finger under the words so that your child learns that reading is from top to bottom and from left to right.

Children love picture dictionaries. Perhaps you can find one at a used book store and help them learn all the letters and sounds through similar playful activities.  These letter sound activities with movement are sure to be a hit with your little learner!

20 Motivating Alphabet Games

Continue the fun with our Ultimate Preschool Activity Pack and watch your little learner grow!

Meet Susan

You can visit Susan’s blog at Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers. She is the author of Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. She is the co-author of The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn.

Similar Posts


  1. I saw this on pinterest. Great ideas thank you! What age do you suggest starting these techniques?

    1. You’re welcome, Vanessa! The starting age depends on the child. I usually begin introducing pre-reading skills when he/she becomes interested in learning them and that typically happens somewhere between 3-5.

  2. Hi Vanessa!
    This is great!! I will definitely save this!
    My 17 months old son sometime agogot a toy with buttons which when pressed make the alphabet letters’sounds and another button sings the alphabet song. He loves it and dances to it. Also we have a little book with animals and plants and with the alphabet letters right in the last page and all he loves in that book is that last page. I’ve been singing the alphabet to him showing each of the letters and he points at them at the same time. Of course I don’t think he already knows which letter is for example “M” if I ask him to point at it…He loves the music and that’s how he associates the letters to it.
    My question is: Is it too early, am I putting too much on my son at this so early age?
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *