Learn 10 fun and easy Kindergarten sight word activities that will also develop fine motor skills using household or low cost items. Make learning fun!
Have you ever decided to do something without completely thinking it through? My son’s school folder was filled with sight word work every week. So I decided that I was going to encourage him to learn them at home too.
I wrote sight words out on index cards several times and taped them all over the house. I thought that he would read them as he walked by them. Or that I could get him to tell me them before getting a snack.
Boy was I wrong! My son ran by them unless I asked him to stop and point at which one said a specific word. He was totally annoyed that he was working on the “all day long”. And my house felt like a mess because there were random Kindergarten sight words taped to the walls.
So instead of thinking only as a mom, I started to rely on the 15+ years of experience as a school-based Occupational Therapist. But I couldn’t ignore the fact that I am a mom of 4 and that I am being pulled in a lot of directions.
I needed sight word activities that were fun, easy to set-up, quick, not messy, and didn’t require me to sit with him.
Why combine Kindergarten Sight Word Activities with Fine Motor Skills?
Sight word activities are an easy way to sneak extra fine motor practice into your kiddo’s day. Our days are busy, and anytime I can have my kids work on more than one skill at a time, I’m all in!
Also, fine motor development continues to be really important at this age. Kindergarteners are still working on maturing their pencil grasp, finger mobility and strength!
Learn more about the development stages of pencil grasps.
Kindergarten Sight Word Activities That Build Fine Motor Skills
#1. Letter Ball
Take a tennis ball, preferably a solid color one, and write the alphabet randomly all over it using a fine point Sharpie. You can wither write in all capital or lowercase letters, whichever one your kiddo is used to.
Have your kiddo hold the tennis ball with their dominant hand. For every sight word, move the ball using only your fingers. When you find the desired letter, press on it with your thumb and say the letter out loud.
After completing a word, lightly throw the ball in the air and catch it with two hands. Repeat until all sight words are done.
# 2. Dice Roll Sight Word Chart Activity
Pick 6 sight words that you want to practice. Make a grid on a piece of paper with 6 rows and 6 columns. At the bottom, label each column a number 1 through 6. Above each number write one sight word.
Throw the dice so that it lands in a designated area by using painter tape, or a piece of paper. This requires graded control! Another skill not only used in writing but also pouring liquid into another container!
Whichever number is rolled, go to that column and write the sight word. Continue until either all columns are full or one column is full.
# 3. Crossing Midline Sight Word Sticker Activity
Write the sight words out by placing one letter on a sticker. I love using removable Garage Sale Labels because they don’t leave the sticky residue. They can also be moved is a mistake is made.
After all letters are written out, place the dots on both of your arms. Spell out each sight word by peeling off the correct sticker and place them on a piece of paper.
If you only put stickers on your arms, you HAVE to use your other hand to peel the sticker off. This is called crossing midline.
Learn more about crossing midline and how it impacts kids success in school!
# 4. Alphabet Beads
Kids love to make all kinds of things with arts and crafts materials. And using Alphabet beads is no exception!
String sight words onto a pipe cleaner, shoelace, or string. Stringing the lace through the hole of the bead works the pincer grasp but also eye and coordination!
To make it more challenging, have your kiddo incorporate a color or shape patter within the sight word!
# 5. Popsicle Stick Sight Word Spelling
Write sight words out so that each popsicle stick has one letter written on it. If you are short on popsicle sticks, write more than one letter on each stick. Make sure that you can still spell the word using one stick for each letter.
Make slits into a box or in the lid of a container so that there are enough slits for the longest sight word. Place one popsicle stick in each slit to spell the word. When done, push the popsicle stick through the lie for a great strengthening task.
Learn about more fun outdoor hand strengthening tasks!
# 6. Play dough Sight Word Activities
Play dough, by default, is a great hand strengthening activity! If you need a DIY play dough recipe, this is my absolute favorite one and is worth the effort!
Take small amounts of dough and roll it into a log either using one hand or both hands. Once it’s long enough, form the letters within a sight word.
Tired of rolling play dough into letters? Try flattening it like a pancake and then “write” the sight word by dragging a toothpick or make dots to form the letters!
# 8. Clothespin Sight Word Spelling
Write the sight word out by writing on each wooden clothespin one letter. Spell the sight word by clipping the clothespin onto a piece of paper, the edge of a container, or even on a clothespin line, in the correct order.
Opening and securing clothespins onto something are great for strengthening your “writing fingers”! Make sure that you use your thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger to open the clothespin.
For a fun twist, spell out a sight word by clipping the clothespins onto a piece of clothing that you are wearing!
# 9. Wikki Stix Letters
Wrote out letters using Wikki Sticks, sticky waxed yarn. Pinch them down with you thumb and pointer finger to make them stay in one spot and to bend them in forming curved letters.
Don’t have Wikki Sticks? Don’t worry, you can using string. String is harder to manage on smooth surfaces because it will slide more easily. This would be a challenging task that really works on graded control movements!
# 10. Play a Card Game with Sight Words
For both of these examples, write sight words out on index cards that are the same color, with one word per card. Repeat so that each sight word has two index cards with the word written on it.
Shuffle the cards and then pick which game you would like to play!
- Go Fish – Deal out 5 cards to each player. Place remaining cards in a pile placed between the players. Take turns going back and forth asking the other player for a specific sight word.
If the other player does not have the match, then pick up the top card from the pile and add it to the cards in your hand. Continue until the first person runs out of cards!
The fine motor win in this game is holding the cards in one hand and picking up cards from the top of a pile!
- Memory – Turn over all shuffled cards so that you can not see the words. Take turns with another player turning two cards over to see if they are a match.
If they are not a match, turn them back over and try to remember what they were and where they were for future plays!
Flipping a card over in its spot without dragging it across a surface works on in-hand manipulation skills!
Learn more about in-hand manipulation skills and how it has been proven to help with writing legibility.
Which Kindergarten Sight Word Activity should I choose first?
Pick one that you think your kiddo with like! Work, any work, is more enjoyable when you are having fun!
The caveat to that is,
If your kiddo struggles with sight word recognition, pick a fine motor activity that is easy for them.
When something is already hard, it makes it much harder to complete when you add another hard skill with it.
How can I make these Kindergarten Sight Word Activities work for Me?
The best part about most of these activities, is that they can be reused over and over again. For the activities that use wooden clothespins and popsicle sticks, use a pencil so that can be erased if needed! You can also do the same activities for math facts!
I store items in separate containers so that I can grab what I need quickly!
BUT, my best advice to you, is meet your kiddo where they are. Start with tasks that are fun and easy for them before trying to give them something more challenging!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I am sure that you are not the only one with the same question! I read all comments and would love to hear from you!
Make sure to share this post with anyone you know who has a kiddo learning sight words! To find it again easily, pin it to your Kindergarten Activities board!
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Kelly is a licensed Occupational Therapist with 15 years of experience servicing school-aged children and Early Intervention. She is the founder of OT Perspective and a mom to 4 children. To learn more about her, check out her About Me page, here.