Fun Kindergarten Readiness Activities to Try This Summer: Phonological Awareness

Fun Kindergarten Readiness Activities to Try This Summer: Phonological Awareness

The new school year is almost here! And for many young children, this upcoming school year is extra special – they’ll be starting Kindergarten. How exciting! They’ll ride the school bus and go into a “big kid” classroom for the very first time. Before this transition, I’m sure many families and Pre-K teachers are doing everything they can to ensure their children are ready for the next big step in their lives. 

But, being Kindergarten-ready is not just about getting the perfect first day of school outfit or picking out a brand new backpack (although I’m pretty sure many children would say otherwise). There are several skills every Pre-K child needs in order to be fully prepared to conquer Kindergarten – and beyond! So, if you’re focusing on Kindergarten Readiness for your students or children, here are a few fun activities to try this summer:

Phonological Awareness Activities: “I’m a sound detective!”

Before we jump right into the activities, let’s chat through what phonological awareness is and why it matters. Phonological awareness is the understanding of how words sound and the ability to recognize and work with those sounds. It’s also one of the most important foundations for learning to read. Most people may think learning to read begins with sounding out letters, but that’s not the case! Learning to read begins way before a child even sees words on a page – and phonological awareness is key!

By the time a child starts Kindergarten, they should be able to complete these phonological awareness skills:

  • Generate rhyming words
  • Listen and differentiate between sounds that are the same and sounds that are different
  • Blend and segment phonemes in CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) and one syllable words

Now to the fun part… the activities that help teach these skills! All of these activities – as well as many others – can be found in our free downloadable resource, “Tried and True Recipes for Teaching Phonological Awareness.” Here are some of our favorites:

1. Sergeant Smarty

Sergeant Smarty is here and he needs some sound detectives to help him! Put on your detective gear because it’s time to investigate some onset-rime clues. This blending onset-rime activity is perfect for large groups. You can get the full activity guide here, but watch as Mary, a Pre-K teacher, does this activity with her students:


2. Onset-Rime Bingo

B-I-N-G-O and we’re learning onset-rhyming with this game-o! Make your own onset-rime BINGO cards by rearranging the Onset-Rime picture card in a variety of ways. Next, tell your students they’ll have to be great sound detectives and listen carefully to the first part of the word and then the rest of the word to blend the sounds and find the picture on the card naming that word. 

Onset-Rime Bingo Picture Cards


3. Hungry Monster – Blending Syllables

I hope you’ve been practicing your best monster voice, because this monster is HUNGRY! This monster isn’t just hungry for any ‘ole food – he’s hungry for multi-syllable foods. To get started, you can create your own hungry monster the kids will feed during this activity. Make him happy, make him scary, make him colorful – use your creativity! 

You’ll also need to print out multiple syllable food picture cards or use plastic food. Now, the monster lets the children know what he’s craving, “chick….. en. chick…… en.” The kids have to blend the syllables together to select the right food. Nom nom nom!

Hungry Monster Blending Syllables Activity


4. Rhyming Pairs

Glue, Shoe! Hat, Cat! Shell, Bell! Here is a fun way to practice rhyming words in small groups with your everyday, household items. Give each child a set of rhyming objects they can put in pairs in their muffin tins. It’s as easy at that! You can also adapt this activity for large group or individual use.

Rhyming Pairs Activity


5. Song: This Old Man

Tell me if you know this one: “This old man, he played one he played knick knack on my thumb!” I bet you were singing this in your head when you read it. It’s pretty catchy, right? This nursery rhyme can easily be adapted to help children understand the concept of deleting phonemes. Let’s take the same tune and tweak the words just a bit:

Your students are bound to love these Phonological Awareness activities and they’ll get one step closer to being Kindergarten-ready! But Phonological Awareness is just one key piece of the puzzle. Check back soon for some more fun activities to try this summer.


Recommended Kindergarten Readiness Skills Resources

Phonological Awareness