Tuesday 19 September 2017

Piratey phonics fun in the park


I can't really believe Jane is starting school. But there is no doubt she is ready for it. Perhaps having two older brothers has encouraged her but there is no doubt she is a girl that enjoys learning. When Jane and I were walking around a park this week, we played our stick letter game.  It all came about when one day she found an 'rrrrrrr stick letter'.  And then had fun looking for letters and sounds as an impromtu activity that you can try too.

In a way Jane is always getting second hand lessons via the boys therapies.  Her brother, David, is autistic and pre-verbal so we spend time shaping sounds and now looking at letters.   We are already the kind of family that hangs out on street corners while David draws over all the letters on the sign posts. So we have a good idea of different letters and their sounds or phonics. Whilst playing about Jane stopped to pick up what she called an 'rrrrrrr stick' that looked like a small letter 'r'.

Jane pointing to animals on a sign

As we were standing near one of the information signs, we went over to have a look and spotted some things on the sign that started with an 'rrrr' sound, including a 'reindeer' (technically I think it would have be a fallow deer but still a star for getting the right sound) and a rabbit (also possibly a hare!).  We talked about the other kind of things that there could be in the park that started with 'rrrr' and this included a 'river', 'robin' and 'frrrrrog' because didn't I know there was an 'rrrrrr' in it? And that was how our pirate sound game was born. 

We loved our rather piratey sounding conversation and have played it since.  Any game involving pirate play can also be turned into an 'rrrrr' finding game too.  There's always 'trrrrrreasurrrrre' to be found.

We now also look for other stick and forest letters too.  This is great fun and could be really engaging for kids who may struggle in other settings.  David would definitely trace over the letters we found and it will encourage kids who enjoy sensory items, feeling the different materials and physically moving about.  We think of letters to find and this means thinking about the shape of them.  For example an 'a' is round with a tail, and we found a flower to use because 'j' has a dot on top.

Jane spelled using sticks on the grass

If you'd like to play some forest phonics fun like we did, here's what you can do to:

  • Talk about what letters look like and what things in the garden / wood / park are that shape?
  • Look for letters and sound them out
  • Look around for things that start with phonic sounds like, 'tu' 'rrrr' etc
  • Make phonic / letter shapes and sound them out
  • Use things to write out names or objects and sound them out

What fun things do you learn out in the forest?


  1. I wish my kids still enjoyed the outdoors, ugh teenagers. It's great that she loves to learn. Great post. #TriumphantTales

  2. My Little Man is so into his numbers and letters since starting school. He loved them before but I've noticed an even keener interest in the last couple of weeks. He's always asking what something says. Thanks for joining in at #TriumphantTales!

  3. What a great activity, she's going to shine at school for sure #SmallStepsAA

  4. What a great game. Our Little Lady has a big interest in letters because of her brothers obsession with letters. He likes reading all the signs to me when we are out and about. He is a logo boy #SmallStepsAA

  5. This looks like a lot of fun and very apt for "Talk Like A Pirate" day. We would look for letters and numbers everywhere, houses/buses/street signs/shop shelves.
    You'll have to tell Jane my favourite pirate joke:
    "Where does a pirate like to shop?
    Thanks for linking up with #SmallStepsAA

  6. Such an amazing idea. Will definitely do it with my daughter. #kltr

  7. What a great idea. I love taking learning outdoors. #kltr

  8. What a wonderful way in which to learn although much more fun in warmer weather right? #KLTR

  9. These are great tips, my daughter is due to start school in September so I think I need to try some of this with her. Thanks for linking up to #KLTR


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