Phoneme Segmentation Activities

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Students will practice phoneme segmentation in these play-based and high-energy activities. The activities include collaboration and individual exercises designed to engage young, early readers fully in the learning process.

Why Do Phoneme Segmentation Activities

Learning to read can be a challenging task for young children. However, play based learning is a great way to get them to lessen their focus on the pressure of learning and focus on the fun they are having. When you involve your students in fun, interactive games and activities while learning you help them become engaged in the learning process.

These activities are designed to get your early young readers (early elementary level) actively involved in the process of phoneme segmentation.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Hands-on manipulatives make this activity lots of fun and helps students visualize how words are made up phonemes and how they come together.


  • Small toy vehicles (cars, trains, etc.)
    • You will need 4-5 vehicles for each child or group.
  • Target words printed on slips of paper.
  • Scissors
  • Tape


  • Divide your class into small groups, pairs or have students work individually.
  • Each group needs a set of vehicles, scissors, tape and a set of target word slips.
  • Write one target word on the board. Ask your students to find this word in their set of words.
  • Instruct your students to read the word and then use scissors to physically segment the phonemes (cut the word into its separate phonemes).
  • Then the students should tape each phoneme to a vehicle and practice moving the vehicles together and away from each other to see the phonemes join to form the word.
  • Choose a group to go to the front of the room and show where the cuts should have been made.
  • Encourage your students to practice saying each phoneme as they move the vehicles around.
  • Repeat with each word in the set.


  • Any items can be used, such as toy animals or blocks. If none of these are available, students can simply segment the phonemes and move the pieces of paper around.

Puddle Hopping

This activity will get your students up and hopping to each phoneme!


  • Large circles to place on the floor
    • These should be blue to keep the puddle theme, but can be any color if blue is not available.
    • These should be large enough for a child to stand in.
    • You will need 3-4 circles per student.


  • Place the circles on the floor in a grid pattern.
    • The further apart they are from each other the more physically challenging the activity will be for your students.


  • Instruct your students to pick a circle and stand on it. It does not matter where they start.
  • Give them the rules of the game.
    • When I say a word, I want you to repeat the word back to me.
    • Then I want you to repeat the word slowly, jumping to a new puddle/circle with each phoneme/sound in the word.
  • Allow for a practice or two.
    • CAT - Did you jump three times for the phonemes c-a-t? Good.
  • Continue the activity for as long as you like.
    • Students will enjoy the process of jumping around each other and trying to aim their jumps to empty circles.

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