Embarking on the journey of early literacy development is an exciting adventure for kindergarten students. One crucial component of this journey is phonics, the foundation of reading and writing. By introducing multisensory experiences into phonics instruction, we can unlock a world of engagement and retention for our young learners. Through the power of touch, sight, and sound, we can create dynamic learning opportunities that strengthen letter-sound associations and foster a love for language.
We will talk all about five interactive and captivating multisensory activities for phonics that can be used in kindergarten and are designed to bring phonics alive in the classroom. Get ready to witness the magic of hands-on exploration, vibrant visuals, and playful sounds as we empower our kindergarten students on their path to literacy success. Multisensory activities are a great way to engage kindergarten students and enhance their learning experiences. Here are some ideas to use to help with phonics instruction.
Sensory bins can be a fantastic addition to a kindergarten classroom, providing a rich multisensory experience for young learners. It’s also the perfect opportunity to incorporate multisensory activities for phonics. These bins, filled with a variety of materials such as rice, sand, or dried beans, engage multiple senses and create an interactive and stimulating learning environment. By incorporating sensory bins into phonics instruction, children can explore letter recognition, letter-sound associations, and even practice blending and segmenting sounds in a hands-on and playful way.
When using sensory bins for phonics activities, educators can introduce letter cards or small objects with corresponding initial sounds into the bin. As students dig their hands into the materials, they not only engage their sense of touch but also visually search for letters or objects. They can feel the texture of the materials and search for specific items, associating the tactile experience with the phonics concept they are exploring.
Moreover, sensory bins encourage language development as students engage in conversations with their peers or educators while exploring the materials. They can discuss the letters they find, the sounds they make, or even create simple words by combining different letters. This social interaction fosters communication skills and helps reinforce phonics knowledge in a collaborative and engaging way.
A sensory bin doesn’t have to be fancy. You can get a tub that is large enough to hold the material of choice and the learning material you want to add. These learning materials can be center cards or task cards that you already have created. For example, if you place colored rice in your bin, you can add task cards for medial sounds.
Students may have to dig around to find each card. Then, you can add plastic vowel magnetic letters inside the sensory bin as well. After reading the picture, students will have to find the matching vowel. A tip would be to make sure your tub has a lid. When it’s not in use, put the lid on so it won’t spill.
Another idea is to create raised letter formation cards. You can do this by tracing a letter card with the glue from a hot glue gun, using glitter glue or any other media that will be raised when it dries. This creates the perfect way to trace the letters and actually feel them.
Sensory writing can be a huge benefit to kindergarten students in the early stages of their writing journey. So what is sensory writing? Sensory writing refers to a multisensory approach to writing instruction where students engage multiple senses, such as touch and sight, to enhance their writing skills. It involves incorporating various materials or surfaces with different textures, such as sandpaper, shaving cream, or textured fabric to provide a tactile experience while practicing letter formation, tracing or writing.
In sensory writing activities, students use their fingers or writing tools to interact with the textured surfaces, feeling the different sensations as they create shapes, letters, or words. By engaging their sense of touch, sensory writing helps reinforce muscle memory and fine motor skills, promoting proper letter formation and improving handwriting.
The purpose of sensory writing is to provide a more interactive and engaging experience for students, making the learning process enjoyable and memorable. It allows them to not only visually observe the letters and words but also physically experience and connect with them through tactile sensations. This multisensory approach facilitates a deeper understanding of writing concepts and promotes overall literacy development in a hands-on and immersive manner.
Colored sand is something that we incorporated into our intervention and small groups. We had enough sand trays for six students. The sand that we use is pretty magical. It is two-toned. You can find that exact sand here. As students write, they move the sand, and the blue tray is revealed below the sand. These trays are perfect for practicing writing letter sounds and working on letter formation. These same ideas work well with salt. Add the salt to a tray and students can use their fingers to write.
Sensory games are interactive activities that engage multiple senses to stimulate and enhance the sensory experiences of participants. These games are designed to provide sensory input, promote sensory exploration, and facilitate sensory integration. Sensory games often involve various sensory elements such as touch, sight, sound, smell, and sometimes taste. These elements can be incorporated in different ways depending on the game and the desired sensory focus. For example, a sensory game may involve touching different textured objects, listening to and identifying specific sounds, or exploring scents by smelling different items.
The purpose of sensory games is to provide opportunities for sensory stimulation, sensory learning, and sensory regulation. They can help children develop their sensory processing skills, improve sensory integration, enhance body awareness, and promote cognitive and motor development. Sensory games can also be a fun and engaging way to learn and explore the world around us.
Examples of sensory games include “Simon Says,” where children follow commands that involve different sensory actions like touching their nose, clapping their hands, or stomping their feet, or “I Spy,” where children use their senses of sight and observation to identify objects or colors in their environment. I Spy is a perfect game to add in a little phonics with. I like to have my students sit on the rug to play this. I look around the room and I can do syllables, beginning sounds, rhyming words and so much more.
Storytelling with Props
Storytelling with props is an engaging and multisensory activity that can captivate the imagination of kindergarten students. By incorporating visual aids such as props, puppets, or felt boards, you can bring stories to life and create a more interactive storytelling experience. Using props during storytelling allows children to visually connect with the characters and events in the story. Props can represent different characters, objects, or settings, providing a concrete and tangible representation that enhances comprehension and engagement. Students can touch and manipulate the props, stimulating their sense of touch and strengthening their connection to the story.
Moreover, storytelling with props encourages active participation and interaction. You can invite students to hold and move the props, encouraging them to become part of the story. This hands-on involvement not only engages the sense of touch but also fosters creativity, imagination, and oral language skills as students interact with the props and contribute to the storytelling process.
Additionally, incorporating props into storytelling can support children’s cognitive and emotional development. The visual cues provided by props help students visualize the narrative and make connections between the story and their own experiences. Props can evoke emotions and help students empathize with characters, creating a more immersive and meaningful storytelling experience.
These ideas can be added to phonics skills. Students can use puppets to respond to rhyming words, phoneme segmentation, breaking apart syllables, and segmenting sentences.
This has nothing to do with phonics, but sometimes we need a brain break. With all of the learning going on, students need a break sometimes. This includes a sensory break. Create a time during the day when you provide sensory breaks.
Sensory breaks support self-regulation skills. Kindergarten students are still developing their ability to manage their emotions, attention, and behavior. Sensory breaks provide an outlet for students to engage in activities that help them calm down, release excess energy, or refocus their attention. By incorporating multisensory activities such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, or using stress balls to squeeze, sensory breaks promote self-awareness and self-regulation skills, empowering students to manage their emotions and behaviors effectively.
Secondly, sensory breaks enhance cognitive functioning. Engaging in multisensory activities during breaks stimulates the senses and promotes sensory integration. This, in turn, supports cognitive development, attention span, and memory consolidation. Sensory breaks provide a valuable opportunity for students to engage in physical movement, explore different textures, or manipulate objects, which can improve focus and cognitive performance when they return to academic tasks.
Lastly, sensory breaks foster a positive classroom environment. Allowing time for sensory breaks acknowledges and respects the diverse needs of students. It creates an inclusive atmosphere where students can take care of their sensory needs without feeling overwhelmed or pressured. By incorporating multisensory activities into breaks, teachers can create a supportive and nurturing environment that values each student’s unique sensory profile, promoting a sense of belonging and well-being among kindergarten students. As a bonus, you can participate in these sensory breaks and refocus your energy as well. Teachers also need mental breaks.
Which one of these multisensory activities for phonics will you try?
Here’s a FREE letter match that you can add to a sensory bin. Just have students to match the letters.