The importance of using games to teach Phonics

Children love games right? They love exciting and engaging games that they can easily understand the rules to and which they are able to experience the joy and excitement of winning. As adults games need to be at least a little challenging for us to gain the same amount of excitement from a game. Games that are too easily achievable simply fail to invoke any real stimulation. For children however, especially in the Early Years, the challenge doesn’t matter quite so much. Usually having a fair amount of turns is just as important.

This makes the job of a teacher, parent or carer incredibly easy to come up with an activity that will entertain a child for short amount of time. All we need is a little imagination and sometimes, for the less creative of us,  some ideas from others.

At BEYC we follow a very play centred curriculum. Not only do the children have the freedom to choose and play at regular times throughout the school day but all (most) teacher led activities particularly for Maths and Phonics are games based. Our teaching staff are both guided and encouraged to choose the most exciting and engaging activities to play with the children during learning sessions. Whether the children are learning a new sound, letter of the alphabet, counting to 10, sorting objects or spelling words, they learn through games.

The formula for a successful lesson, which results in excellent learning of knowledge and skills, is really very simple: Take a favourite children’s game. Kids party games are a great place to start. Games such as ‘Pass the Parcel’, North South East West, Musical Chairs, Treasure Hunt, Kim’s Game (The one where you place objects on a tray, cover, then remove an item for the children to remember which has been removed).

Next you need to find a way to incorporate the teaching objective into the game. And that is it! Let the learning begin.

From a  teacher’s point of view, there is nothing better that an activity that all the children want to play. As a way of controlling behaviour and as a means to teach turn taking, sharing and good sportsmanship etc its fantastic.

This formula for effective learning really isn’t anything new or even that amazing, but it is something that many teachers, parents and child practitioners often forget, resulting in ineffective learning or unnecessary stress.

We have been using the game based lessons to teach, practice and apply new skills and knowledge ever since the Letters and Sounds publication was issued in the U.K. Initially we made permanent resources based around the suggested Phonics games but it wasn’t long before our teaching staff started getting incredibly imaginative with ideas. This led to us making an array of permanent resources that teachers can use both inside and outside of the classrooms. The academic results and progression in Phonics as a result of this initiative has been truly amazing. Here is a great post for Kidsactivities:

British Early Years Centre is an International Kindergarten School in Bangkok. For more information please take a look at our website here…