Vowel Digraphs Games & Activities

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Learning to recognize when combinations of letters make a single sound can be tricky for students. These games and activities offer fun, interactive ways for children to reinforce their knowledge of vowel digraphs.

Playing Games Is Educational

When people think of school, quite often they imagine rows of desks with glassy-eyed students staring at the clock just waiting for the last bell to ring. Education does not have to be this way. In fact, finding ways to get your students actively involved in their own education greatly improves their learning. An active learner learns more than a passive one. Games and fun activities are a great way to engage students in a core concept and really help them connect with the information.

This lesson offers games designed to help students learn and comprehend vowel digraphs. Some of the games are appropriate for the entire class to join in highly active fun. Other games are designed for quiet solo or small group work. All the games and activities encourage full engagement from your students to help them grasp the concept of vowel digraphs.

Full Class Games

After a concept has been taught, it helps to reinforce the information through the use of active games. These games can be played by the whole class and encourage interaction as the students build on their knowledge of vowel digraphs.

Find My Match


Gather vowel squares from a board game or make your own letter cards. You will need a vowel for each student (making duplicates as appropriate for your current vowel digraph focus).


Give each child in the class a vowel and explain the game. When you give a start signal, all students will pair up with a partner and then call out a word that contains the vowel digraph formed by their letters. Check the pairs' words to ensure the words contain their vowel digraphs, and, if so, send the pairs to the front of the room. Cheer for the digraphs! Give the start signal again so children can remix themselves into new partnerships and call out different words. Remember to use plenty of variety to cover all the vowels you have given out.

Vowel Digraph Toss


Sidewalk chalk and small bean bags for tossing


Draw multiple grids on the ground (one for each group you intend to set up). Place vowels in each square of the grid. Make the grids as large or small as you like and randomize the vowels (or letters) to make the game as technically challenging or easy as you wish.


Select teams of children (maybe teams of 4 or 5) and give each team 2 bean bags. Ask teams to stand behind a line that is equidistant to the grids. When you call out a word, the first team member must toss the bean bags, one into each of the two squares holding a letter contained in the word's vowel digraph. All teams with correct bean bag throws get a point. At the end of the game (do at least enough rounds for every member of the team to get a turn), the team with the most points wins.

Vowel Digraph Pile Up Relay


Multiple sets of alphabet tiles (like those in board games) or make your own letter cards. Make sure that you have enough vowels for each team to make the vowel digraphs for the words you choose for the game. You may include the consonants for the words, too, to increase the challenge.

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