With the weather getting warmer, my mind instantly turns to ways to take learning outdoors. I thought of this fun way to use rocks to practice sight words and it would make the perfect activity to play outside. The great part about it is that really you could use it inside or outside all year round. It is an easy activity to make and relatively inexpensive (practically free if you can collect your own rocks). Sight word rocks would be a great literacy or word work center but keep reading because I've got several other ways that you can use these letter rocks.
This post may contain affiliate links for your shopping convenience. View our full disclosure policy HERE.
-White Paint Pen
Note: If you have rocks near you, save money and collect them! I didn't have a large amount of rocks so I just bought these. I put the link above but you can also find them at stores like Joann Fabrics. They are with the artificial flowers since they are used as a vase filler. If you have lighter colored rocks, use a darker colored paint pen.
Use the smaller rocks as the alphabet rocks. Write one letter per rock with the paint pen. Depending on the rocks you use (mine were kind of shiny), you may need to give the paint some time to dry before you handle the rocks. Determine how many students you will have working on this at one time so that you can decide how many sets of the alphabet you need. I would suggest multiple sets of vowels for sure.
On the larger rocks, write sight words that your students need to practice. If you need more space for the words, you can buy larger decorative river rocks. These smaller ones are considered river pebbles.
Choose a sight word from the pile. Sort through the letter rocks to find the letters to spell that sight word. Read the word. Pick another sight word and repeat the process.
Other ways to play:
The beauty of these rocks is that they can be used for more than just practicing sight words. Check out some of these variations that you could do using the alphabet rocks.
-Instead of giving students the sight word rocks, just give them the ABC rocks and have them spell as many words as they can
-Put this activity into a sensory bin, such as sand, so students have to dig to find the letters
-Practice sequencing the alphabet
-Have students find the letters that spell their names
-Hide the rocks in a courtyard or playground and have students search for certain letters or find letters to make a particular word
-Make an upper and lowercase set and have students match the letters
-Practice beginning sounds by matching the letters and an object or picture that starts with that letter