I'm a strong believer that games are extremely beneficial to children. Not only are they just plain fun but there is always so much learning going on. I probably don't need to explain all the benefits of games, so I won't do that (you've probably already skipped ahead to the list of literacy games, below).
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I've curated more than 35 literacy games for kids for you. They cover a variety of skills, from learning phonic sounds to sight words, and many of them are very simple to make. There are even some terrific literacy games for active kids, because we know that many kids absorb information better when their bodies are moving! I even included some of our favorite board games, just in case you are not in a DIY sort of mood. (As I am often not.)
Literacy Board Games
Most of these don't actually use a board, but you get the idea.
Word A Round This is such a unique game in which players race to be the first to find words hidden in rings. We love it and it is very travel-friendly. It is especially good for building vocabulary, and I understand that speech pathologists love it!
The Story Cubes game. I featured these story telling dice as a game of the month. There a several different versions, depending on your child's interests.
Tell Me a Story. I thought I had written about these cards a few years ago, but apparently not! These gorgeous, oversized playing cards inspire kids (and parents) to invent and narrate wacky and imaginative stories. We used to use them at dinner time for a few good laughs. Eeboo makes the cards in several themes so there is something for every kid.
Magnetic big words and magnetic poetry. This isn't a game, per se, but tons of fun anyway. I installed three large stainless steel boards in my son's bedroom as part of my plan to create a print-rich environment at home. You can see them in action on our word wall.
Zingo Word Builder. While we've never actually owned a Zingo game, of course we have played it at our friends' homes many times! There is also a sight word version (among others)
Printable Literacy Games
- Rhyming is one of the best foundations for literacy! Print out our spring rhyming activity coloring page, and our 5 little leaves rhyme coloring page.
- Alphabet tic tac toe will help kids learn letter sounds.
- These clever visual closure printables will also utilize kids' fine motor skills, critical for handwriting.
- For kids who have difficulty with letter reversals, this dice game is fantastic.
Indoor Literacy Games for Active Kids
- Move and groove gross motor alphabet game.
- A Rainbow hop letter sounds game helps kids with phonics and gets the wiggles out at the same time.
- Paper plate alphabet game. Yes, you can throw balls in the house!
- Vacuum up the alphabet. Chores and literacy? Yes, please!
- Alphabet yoga. Just calm down!
Outdoor Literacy Games
- Splat sight word painting. This is perfect for a summer day! Plus, games that include art are always on my radar.
- Sight word knock down game with cars! Literacy and destruction? My boys would eat this up.
- Construction race letter and number game. I love how active this game is. Perfect for kids who concentrate better when they are moving.
- Find and Rhyme gross motor game.
Storytelling Literacy Games
- Make a Funny Flip word game, learn grammar and tell stories!
- Make stick puppets out of magazines or old books for theatrical storytelling. Or you could tell an ocean themed story with this ocean coloring page and fish puppet printable.
- Put together a fairy tale story telling basket. Pretend play is more beneficial for overall literacy than any board game!
- Storytelling with sight words. There are three games to try.
- Make fairy tale fridge magnets so kids can entertain you while you cook.
Rhyming Literacy Games
- A collection of everyday rhyming games for preschoolers
- Make your own rhyming dominoes and speed racer game.
- Rhyming matching game. This fun take on the classic memory game includes a free printable.
- Hop on Pop word game
- 20 free rhyme time game boards. This is the mother lode of rhyming games.
Word Family Games
- Word family dice. Quick to make and fun to play.
- Word family snowball toss. This game uses ping pong balls, so there's no barrier to playing it inside.
- Word family fishing game. Can't get to the lake? No problem. This game reuses those word family ping pong balls.
- Word family BINGO. This is a clever take on the classic game.
- Make your own alphabet dominoes. This is a great early literacy game perfect for preschoolers.
- Alphabet cave hunt game. Because what kid doesn't like to go pretend spelunking?
- Fun phonics game. I like how adaptable this activity is.
- Letter search game perfect for toddlers!
- Mystery mitten letter sound game. Finally! Something to do with mittens in the summer.
- Find the letters for a sifting, sensory spelling game.
Have fun learning!