55 Fun Sight Word Activities That Work

It’s a myth that blindly memorizing every letter in a sight word is the only way to learn it.

sight word activities

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.)

Read: What Are Sight Words?

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

Sight Word Activities for Introducing Words

These activities are great when you are introducing new words or when students need a reminder of the letters and patterns that make up each word.

1. Map it and drive it

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.

Learn more: @droppinknowledgewithheidi

2. Smush play dough for each sound

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

Learn more: @playdough2plato

3. Map words with a magnet wand

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.

Learn more: @warriorsforliteracy

4. Make a mini book

Create a mini-book they can take home with them to read on their own.

Learn more: @hughesheartforfirst

5. Tap it, pop it, learn it!

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

Source: @hellojenjones

Sight Word Activities for Practicing Words

Once students have learned a word, it’s all about practice, practice, practice! These activities will help students learn words by “heart.”

6. Find and swat words

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

Learn more: @kids_play_learn_laugh

7. Flip word pancakes

Serve up sight word pancakes while practicing spelling them aloud.

Learn more: Playdough to Plato

8. Wear heart word bracelets

Make kids feel like sight word VIPs and keep sight word review on hand.

Learn more: @teachingmoore

9. Search for sight word balls

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.

Learn more: @preschoolforyou

10. Start a sight word band

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

Learn more: @earlyyears_withmrsg

11. Drive on a sight word path

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.

Learn more: @travisntyler

12. Use sticky notes to inspire sight word sentences

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

Learn more: @kinneypodlearning

13. Write words on a sensory bag

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.

Learn more: @makeitmultisensory

14. Wear a sight word crown

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

Learn more: @mrsjonescreationstation

15. Play a magnetic-tile board game

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

Learn more: @twotolove_bairantwins

16. 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!

Learn more: @builditbre

17. Feed a word monster

Nom, nom, nom.

Learn more: @ecplayandlearn


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

Search for pom poms under sight word cups

@la.la.learning/Sight word cup game via Instagram

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

Learn more: @la.la.learning

19. Play sight word Kaboom!

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

Learn more: @essentiallykinder

20. Roll and write words

Roll, write, repeat.

Learn more: @mylittlepandamonium

21. Write words with rainbow colors

Bonus points for aromatic markers.

Learn more: @mylittlepandamonium

22. Trace words with flashlights

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

Learn more: @giggleswithgerg

23. Find words in plastic eggs

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

Learn more: @blooming_tots1

24. Spy words around the classroom

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

Learn more: @readingcorneronline

25. Find 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.

Learn more: @tales_of_a_kinder_classroom

26. Build words with bricks

Such a great use of extra building bricks!

Learn more: The Printable Princess

27. Write words in sand

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

Learn more: @teacherhacks

28. Spell words on a construction site

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

Learn more: @planningplaytime

29. Spell words with toy cars

Drive on over!

Learn more: @lozlovesprep

30. Park in a sight word “parking lot”

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

Learn more: @msbendersclassroom

31. “Plant” words in play dough

Watch those reading skills grow!

Learn more: @planningplaytime

32. Build words in a sensory tub

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

Learn more: @coffeeandspitup

33. Write words on a magnetic drawing board

That eraser track makes for a perfect word card holder!

Learn more: @moffattgirls

34. Or write words on the window!

Everyone wants a turn to write on the window!

Learn more: @kindergarten_matters

35. Shhh! Discover words written in invisible ink

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

Learn more: @teachstarter

36. Dot-paint words with a cotton swab

Calming and effective.

Learn more: @sightwordactivities

37. “Type” words on a keyboard

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

Learn more: @lifebetweensummers

38. Read words before heading through the door

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

Learn more: @ms.rowekinder

39. Read the word the teacher’s wearing!

Wait, is there something on my shirt?

Learn more: @theprimarypartner

40. Take a sight word cakewalk

Choose a winning word when the music stops!

Learn more: @joyfulinkinder

41. Play sight word hopscotch

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

Learn more: @wheretheliteracygrows

42. Play tic-tac-toe

I’ll be team “look.”

Learn more: Boy Mama Teacher Mama

43. Go sight word bowling

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

Learn more: @thecreativeteacher_

44. Ready, aim, read

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

Learn more: @laurens_lil_learners

45. Play muffin tin ball toss

Toss a ball or pom-pom into the muffin tin and read the word. It’s easy to use colored muffin cups to prep different sets of words.

Learn more: @fun_with_lynda

46. DIY sentence flash cards

Authentic use of words in context for the win.

Learn more: @teachertipsandtales

47. Play sight word checkers

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

Learn more: @sightwordactivities

48. Play sight word Guess Who?

Set up this game once and use it forever.

Learn more: @RebekahPoeTeaching

49. Sight word jars

sight word jars example

No Time for Flash Cards/Sight word jars via notimeforflashcards.com

Students organize a big jar of letters into words and pack them into smaller jars. Or put the letters you need for each word into a jar and students pour out the letters, then spell.

Learn more: No Time for Flash Cards

50. Sight word fishing

sight word fishing game

A Teachable Teacher/Sight word fishing via ateachableteacher.com

Put paper clips on notecards with sight words written on them, and have students go fishing.

Learn more: A Teachable Teacher

51. Sight word balloon toss

Sight word water balloon toss

No Time for Flash Cards/Sight word toss via notimeforflashcards.com

On those hot days, take students outside and write sight words on the pavement. Fill water balloons and have kids toss them at the words they read.

Learn more: No Time for Flash Cards

52. Sight words on the menu

student serving sight words putting letters onto a plate

The Kindergarten Connection/Sight word cafe via thekindergartenconnection.com

Put sight words in the pretend-play center and have students request, and then be served, sight words.

Learn more: The Kindergarten Connection

53. Sight word dominoes

Create sight word dominoes out of note cards and have students play dominoes, matching sight word with sight word.

Learn more: No Time for Flash Cards

54. Sight word caterpillar

Write letters on bottle caps and have students build sight words by adding letters to the caterpillar’s body.

Learn more: This Reading Mama

55. Sight word rubbings

Create raised sight words using a glue gun. When the glue is dry, students can use the cards to color over and see sight word rubbings.

Learn more: The OT Toolbox

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

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We found the best low-prep, effective sight word activities for your classroom, aligned with the science of reading. Check out our mega-list!

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