Phonemic Awareness Activities in Kindergarten

Learn about phonemic awareness activities in kindergarten here! Being part of transforming students into readers is truly amazing! As kindergarten teachers, we have such an important role to play. The basics for reading is strong phonemic awareness. Outlined here are fun, easy, and engaging activities to promote phonemic awareness for students! Keep reading for practical kindergarten tips!

What is Phonemic Awareness?

There are many things that must be in place in order for reading to occur. One component of reading is phonemic awareness.

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, recognize, and play with the individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. In addition to being the last to develop, it is also the most sophisticated phonological awareness skill. 

When manipulating the sounds in words, children learn to:

  • Blend individual sounds to make a word
  • Break a word apart into its individual sounds
  • Swap in a different sound to the beginning, middle, or end of a word to make a new word

Because phonemic awareness is such a critical part of reading, it’s something we should be focusing on with our pre-readers and early readers. Luckily, that’s pretty easy to do, as phonemic awareness activities can be full of fun and entertainment for kids. Little learners love to play with language! (See what I did there? Alliteration is part of phonemic awareness!)

Phonemic Awareness Activities in Kindergarten

It’s always a good time to read aloud! The following titles lend themselves to phonemic awareness.

More Phonemic Awareness Activities in Kindergarten

Here are some other activities that lend themselves to learning phonemic awareness:


-Play ‘What’s That Sound?’

-Children must listen for and identify isolated sounds

-Simply ‘listening’ is a prerequisite for this activity

-Have the child wear a blindfold while you make a sound (knock, ring a bell, etc.)’


  • Work on word families (-at: cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat) – write out the words or simply say them – with practice, your child will join in!
  • Sing the song The Name Game! Your kids will love it!
  • Say, “I am thinking of an animal that rhymes with MAT. Any guesses?” (cat/rat)
  • Play ‘I Spy’ – say “I spy something that rhymes with bone” (phone)


  • Break words apart by saying each sound: CAT = c-a-t
  • Do this visually by drawing a box for each sound and having child put a penny into each box as he says the sound (low-tech Elkonin boxes)
  • Create simple picture cards with magazine pictures. Have your child identify what’s in the picture, and then break that word into its individual sounds. For example dog is d-o-g, three sounds. Have the child clap, snap or jump for each sound in the word.

Working with Syllables

  • Clap out syllables for words (fox = 1, donut = 2)
  • Do this for words, sentences, and poems (nursery rhymes are fun!)
  • Instead of clapping, incorporate gross-motor movement by trying the following:
    • Stomp
    • Snap
    • Jump

Individual Sounds

  • I Spy: ‘I spy something that starts with ‘b’ (emphasize the ‘buh’ sound, rather than the letter). This is a great activity at home, at the store, at the park, in the backyard, at the zoo, at the dentist’s office, etc.
  • Use a ‘Mystery Bag’ filled with small individual letters. Put only five-six letters in the bag to begin with, to increase the odds of being able to make a word. Have the child pull letters, one at a time, from the bag (the more drama, the better). With each letter, have the child identify the letter and sound. When three letters have been chosen, make a word (b – a – g)!
  • Alliteration! Focus on one sound at a time, making silly sentences for the child to repeat. Examples: Ben bounces on the bed, or David dumps the dominoes down in the dungeon.

Most of these activities focus on listening, identifying, and producing sounds only, not writing. However, if you and your child have been enjoying these activities, why not introduce some fine-motor work using crayons, pencils, or markers?

This activity goes well with:

The bottom line is, don’t make it feel like WORK. Language is fun. Reading is fun. We want children to enjoy learning, not resent us for being taskmasters. So read some books, play a few games, and enjoy the process!

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching for any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things Kindergarten, and low-prep learning ideas that your students will love. Be sure to stay up to date with all things kindergarten on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and through email. Simply Kinder: where teaching Kinder is definitely better together!

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