Multi-Sensory Approaches to Teaching Sight Words

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Do you often find yourself searching your brain for ways of how to teach your students sight words? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn multi-sensory approaches to teaching sight words! Certainly, you will love all of the new ways to expand your student’s learning experience and grab your freebie!

Your fingertips have over 3,000 nerve endings in each finger. So having multiple ways to engage those nerve endings while learning sight words can be a very effective strategy. These multi-sensory activities will be a great way to keep your students learning as well as super engaged in learning their sight words.

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These activities work well with these Simply Kinder resources:

Multi-Sensory Approaches to Teaching Sight Words in the classroom:

These activities can be done as standalone activities or using any other “traditional” practice activities to add a multi-sensory component. They can be done:

  • whole group at their desks with everyone working on the same word
  • small group with targeted words
  • centers with any number of activities
  • from words you write on a white board
  • from a targeted word list like from our Editable Word List Printables
  • from notecards
  • from a dry erase board where you write the word you want your students to write

Sight Word Sand Writing (Craft Sand)

Writing sight words in sand can be a super fun activity for students. Students will use their fingers to write the word, activating all those nerve endings. You can even get fancy and order craft sand in fancy colors. Combine that with a color tray (ours is from Target Dollar Spot) and it’s even more fun! A simple shake of the bin and the tray resets itself to be ready for the next word (sometimes that’s the funniest part).

Sight Word Sensory Sand Stamping

This is another fun way to practice sight words – kinetic sand and alphabet dough stampers. We have the sand in the small photo iris boxes (the ones that go in the colorful bins and used our old Lakeshore alphabet stampers. This is a great one for storage and because you can stack them and pull them out when you need them.

Write it on Mesh Embroidery Sheets

We love these plastic mesh sheets and use them for all sorts of things in class. One of them is to provide a bumpy surface to write words on. Just put the paper over the mesh and write your words. The bumpy feeling will create a fun writing experience for your students. (Many teachers do this one activity with all words because it is durable, easy to keep, and multi-sensory).

Sight Word Sand Writing (Playground Sand)

Don’t have craft sand? No worries. Grab some normal sand and put it in any tray you have in your classroom and the effect is just the same. It’s a little harder to see but we are going for feeling the formation in the sand and your students will see it if they do it big enough.

Felt Tracing Sight Words

Next, another great tactile sight word activity is felt tracing! In small groups, you can provide your students with a piece of felt, then call out sight words and have them practice tracing their sight words on the felt with their fingers. Most importantly, even without writing the actual words down your students are learning so much through this hands-on experience.

Including lines for an extra sensory approach for forming letters!

Play Dough Stamper Sight Words

First off, kinder students love playdough! This tactile sight word activity will be a blast in your classroom! Students can press letter stampers into playdough to form their sight words! This easy activity can be used over and over again without needing to replenish supplies often, but, just keep that playdough sealed tight to reduce hardening!

Supplies include playdough and stamps!

Sensory Bag Sight Words

Sensory bags are great for sight word writing! You will need is large Ziploc bags and some cheap colored hair gel. If you cannot find colored gel, grab the clear gel and add some food coloring! (For extra mess-free security, add clear packing tape to the zipper to reduce potential leaks!) Your students can use their fingers to write out their sight words on top of the bags for a fun tactile experience! These bags make for a good reusable center and can last all year if taken care of properly!

Shaving Cream Sight Words

In addition, another low-cost activity is shaving cream sight words! Your students can spray some shaving cream onto a sheet pan and use a small paintbrush and write the sight words in it. This activity can be done with a finger (or a paintbrush if you don’t want to get super messy). Certainly, we all know that students get WAY too excited over a messy activity, so this one is sure to be a hit in your classroom! (Shaving cream is also a great way to clean your tables so this activity works for great whole group if you are brave enough).

Leather Sight Words

We love this idea too because it’s fun for kiddos to pick. We found this decorative leather and immediately thought about how it would create a great bumpy experience for our students while they write. You could easily keep a bin of different textured fabrics, laces, and leathers that have texture to write on.

Craft Bead Sight Words

Craft Beads are another great option for multi-sensory sight word practice. We found these “decorative filler” beads in the floral section at Michaels. You want super small beads, pearler beads are too big if that gives you a frame of reference. Again, fun on a color tray to create a great contrast for your students to see and feel the word.

Fabric Mesh Sight Words

We found this great full-page size fabric mesh at Michaels and thought it would also make a great surface to write on that is bumpy. These are also great because they can be stored easily and do not take up a bunch of space. They came in lots of different colors and textures as well.

Sandpaper Sight Words

Sandpaper is another fun way to write sight words. When you are looking at sandpaper to use, you want it to be super thick and bumpy so students feel the letters as they write them.

OTHER SIGHT WORD ACTIVITIES YOUR STUDENTS WILL LOVE

Sight word high five hands

High Five Sight Words

The latest updates to our Endless Sight Word Bundle includes High Five Sight Words! These are fun to put around the room for students to say and high five. I have seen some teachers put them around the door and students have to touch them before they leave the room. We love to have students put them into their notebooks so they can slap the word while they read it – creating another sensory experience for them.

Sight word word search

Sight Word Search

Who doesn’t love a good old word search? Therefore, a sight word search is a perfect way to introduce these types of activities to your kinders! Most importantly, this use of visual learning will challenge your students to think deeper about how these letters are strung together to build sight words. Another update to our Endless Sight Word Bundle includes various kinds of word searches including the traditional one seen above. The great thing about our word searches is they only go left to right and up and down and they never intersect.

Sight Word Cut and Color

We also added these cut and color words that go great into notebooks so they can practice their fine motor skills!

Looking for a multi-sensory sight word centers bundle?

These sight word center ideas are certain to keep your students engaged in their learning day after day! If you’re loving the ideas from this blog and looking to revamp your current sight word setup, I recommend you check out our Sight Word Centers Endless bundle! It comes with SO many activities, including readers, craft pages, cut and glue sentences, printables, centers, and so much more! This bundle will include activities for all Kindergarten sight words, including several mentioned about and many more! Check out the video below that highlights just a few items you can expect to see!

Most importantly, this sight word bundle has so many great multi-sensory activities that will keep your students engaged day after day!

Multi-Sensory approaches to teaching sight words go on and on!

These are just a few multi-sensory examples for teaching sight words in your classroom. Above all, having your students use their senses while learning is a great way to help expand on their learning. What additional ways are you working with your students to learn their sight words using their senses that we did not share? We would love it learn more ideas from you over in the Simply Kinder Teachers Facebook Group or tag #SimplyKinder on Instagram!

Free Sight Word Book!

Did you love all of the ideas shared above?! Well, GREAT NEWS, we have a sight word book set with many of the examples shared above, just for you! Just print and guide your students through these great multi-sensory sight word activities! Your students will love having these super fun new centers in the classroom!

You can grab your free Sight Word Book by entering your information and the Simply Kinder freebie fairy will fly that over to your inbox! Already a member? Great! Unlock your freebie here too!

This post was written by Lindsey. Lindsey is a certified teacher with several years of teaching experience and a great love for all things Kindergarten and First Grade. 

At simply kinder we work together to bring you everything from developmentally appropriate resources, teaching tips, lesson plan ideas, and teacher laughs.  Simply Kinder’s goal is to make teaching kindergarten easier by providing a community for support for teachers in the classroom and beyond. Make sure to join the Simply Kinder Teacher Facebook group and sign up for emails here to always be in the know of all things kindergarten. 

Simply Kinder where teaching kinder is better together.

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