Puzzles. An absolute must and a right of passage in childhood.
Have you ever used phonics puzzles for preschool to make learning phonics more fun? Look no further! I’ve got them for you in many varieties…TWELVE, to be exact! Enough to meet the individual needs of all your little learners.
These letters and sounds puzzles offer so many ways to practice phonics skills! They will help you seamlessly differentiate instruction. Add them to your small group literacy centers and you will see your kiddos’ phonics skills blossom and soar!
12 Phonics Puzzles For Pre-K Phonics Centers
You are probably aware that puzzles are more than just fun! They also offer many developmental benefits to young children. They help develop: hand-eye coordination, fine motor development, problem-solving, cognitive skills, spatial awareness, and more!
My 5-year old self did not realize that puzzles were helping me to grow and develop in so many areas. My 5-year old self just knew that I HAD to do my Strawberry Shortcake puzzle every day. Yes. Every. Day.
I don’t know why, but this particular puzzle became my own personal gem. In my eyes, it had the prestige of a Van Gogh or Rembrandt. It was everything.
I put that puzzle together daily…until it was so rattered and tattered that it just couldn’t quite get pieced together anymore. Luckily, we were able to glue it onto some cardboard, so it truly became my own special masterpiece that I hung in my room. Tattered. Worn, But, my prized possession.
I went on to do many more puzzles throughout my childhood, but never again was one as special as this. Puzzles can leave a big impression on young minds.
Puzzles with 2-piece matching components like these phonics puzzles, are a great place for your early childhood learners to start! They get all the aforementioned benefits of puzzle-work, in a more simplified format. Plenty of fun and skills practice all mixed into one!
I love being able to provide resources that help teach all components of preschool literacy. My post How to Write Lesson Plans an Entire Year in Advance is still easily my most popular. From that post, my readers asked that I share my preschool lesson plans. I was happy to oblige.
Currently, my preschool literacy lesson plan bundle gets the most attention, and it is everything you need to teach a comprehensive literacy program for preschool. Everything, that is, except preschool phonics centers and hands-on manipulative based letter identification and beginning sound practice.
That’s about to change, my friends!
FAQ About Teaching the Alphabet to Preschoolers
Preschoolers need a lot of exposure to the alphabet. They need explicit instruction as well as plenty of indirect alphabet instruction.
That’s where letter knowledge builds through playful and natural activities in day to day life. To start teaching your preschooler the alphabet, try these things:
~ Read lots and lots of picture books!
~ Point out print around you.
~ Teach your child the letters of his name.
~ Teach each letter explicitly.
~ Do lots of whole alphabet activities, too.
~ Do hands-on alphabet activities.
~ Sing letter songs.
The alphabet should not be taught in alphabetical order. Teaching the alphabet in order puts a big focus on those beginning letters. Those are probably going to be the ones that your child sees and remembers most, since that Alphabet Song is so catchy!
Instead, teach the letters in order of how frequently they appear easily decodable words. Letters like s, t, r, m, n, a, o, and p should be taught first. These are “high-frequency” letters and emphasis on these letters first will allow children to quickly start reading simple words.
Many preschool alphabet activities that are done in the classroom can also be done at home. Beginning sound activities like these Beginning Sound Picture Seek Mats are a good option, as well as these Beginning Sound Fill-in Cards and these Year Long Alphabet Find and Circle Worksheets.
12 Preschool Phonics Puzzles Set
There are several different levels of letter identification and beginning sound practice included in this set, so as a teacher or homeschooling parent you can pick and choose which puzzles your preschooler will respond best to.
Since these preschool phonics puzzles are focused on the letters of the alphabet, you can also choose how you introduce them to your preschooler based on your own teaching philosophy. Even if you have not invested in my Preschool Literacy Bundle, they will still be very effective!
Included: 12 Letter Identification and Beginning Sound Puzzles
4 Letter Visual Discrimination and Letter Identification
It’s important that your preschooler can recognize the differences between the letter shapes and identify which letters match each other, as well as learn letter names. Included are the following:
- uppercase to uppercase letter matching
- lowercase to lowercase letter matching
- upper and lower case letter matching
- uppercase/lowercase to uppercase/lowercase letter matching
8 Beginning Sound Puzzles
There are eight puzzle sets included that focus on beginning sounds. These puzzles vary in difficulty.
- letter to sound matching with both uppercase and lowercase letters and pictures
- letter to sound matching with uppercase letter and picture only
- beginning sound matching using pictures only
- beginning sound matching with picture and word
- beginning sound and word matching
- uppercase/lowercase beginning sounds without word reference
- uppercase/lowercase beginning sounds with word reference
- uppercase/lowercase beginning sound matching with two pictures
No matter your preschooler’s abilities, these 12 puzzle sets are the right materials for your child.
How To Use These 12 Puzzle Sets in Your Classroom
These phonics puzzles are a wonderful addition to your alphabet activities for preschoolers! I love that they are engaging and easy to use. I especially love that they can help kids learn the alphabet, letter recognition, phonics skills, and more!
Here are some suggestions on how to use these 12 puzzle sets in your classroom:
- The very first thing you will definitely want to do is laminate all the pieces!
- I use circle time in my classroom to model center activities. I recommend you model these puzzles by starting with more basic ones such as matching capital A to capital A. Then, B to B, etc. and see if they can see the trend.
- Alternatively, if you teach a letter each week (or a few at a time), you can focus on that particular letter using some of the puzzle variations.
- I think it is appropriate to start with just one type of puzzle (ie: the “match A to A and B to B”) for all students during centers. This will help set everyone up for success, as you will eventually scaffold and add the other 11 puzzles.
- Once students have gained confidence in the same type of puzzle, you can start to differentiate and assign certain puzzle sets to certain kids/groups of kids. Or, give them a choice of a few types (because choice is ALWAYS good for preschoolers!).
- I think this is also an excellent free choice activity for kids! You will want to have clear parameters on how the students can select appropriate puzzle sets, or just guide them accordingly.
- Because of the many skills being taught with these puzzles, you can use them over several weeks, months, and even all school year long!
- If you have students that have mastered all the puzzle sets, you can challenge them by having them write letters on a whiteboard as they put each set together.
- To incorporate more fine motor activities, you can have kids match letter tiles to each puzzle set, use wiki stix or playdough to build corresponding letters, and so much more!
Get Your 12 Phonics Puzzle Sets!
If you’re thinking your preschooler would enjoy these effective literacy puzzles, be sure to grab your set here:
You may also want to grab some other great phonics resources here:
Be sure to add these phonics puzzles to your regularly scheduled learning activities! I think you will be amazed by their versatility and appeal!
I promise it will be one learning activity set that you will use again and again. And again. And, I think all your preschoolers will give it two very enthusiastic, puzzle-building thumbs up!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.