6 Engaging Sight Word Games For First Graders

Last Updated on October 6, 2023 by Editorial Team

Knowledge of sight words is essential to developing linguistic skills but it may prove challenging to impart when the kids are at the receiving end of instructions. Teaching difficult things in an easy and fun way helps make the process more inclusive. Amongst various pedagogical approaches, gamification of the concept-building process improves learning ability; a study[1] tells so too.

Hence, if you are thinking of some games to teach sight words to first graders, let me help you with a few effective strategy-based ones. 

Games to learn sight words – What do these offer?

The game list that I intend to share with you in this post is curated while keeping a few factors that are essential for the concept-building process in kids. When we choose to teach anything, including sight words, in a gamified way, the idea is to bring quality to the learning process[2]. Thus, the very first thing these games ensure is that the kids don’t meander away from the basic idea, which is – learning.

Other objectives that teachers or parents can achieve from these games are:

  • Teaching usage of the word in sentences
  • Focus on building spelling efficiency
  • Helping first graders understand the use of sight words in daily life situations
  • Be quick in identifying the sight words
  • Improving learning progress

All that sounds interesting, isn’t it? So, let’s take a look at some of the fun games that can help the first graders get well-acquainted with sight words and their use in daily-life conversations.

Popular games to teach sight words to first graders

Often the little students who have just entered the primary level search for a break from learning through books or practice charts. It is where the games step in and provide a more indulgent way of teaching sight words to little learners in first grade. Let’s take a look at some of the engaging games that you can play to have a collaborative learning environment in the sight word classroom session.

1. Spot the sight words

Sight word games for first grade

Arrange words in a matrix in a jumbled-up manner and mix the sight words in this mesh. The students can indulge in a competition to spot the sight words circle them and try to beat each other on the parameter of time and number of sight words they can spot. 

This game is a rip-off of the word spotting games that kids love to play in their free time. Not only does it check the knowledge gained, but it also helps the first graders affirm the correctness of the spelling of the sight words they have learned. By making different matrices containing sight words, you can allow kids to enrich their collection of these commonly occurring components of a sentence. It is certainly a good break from the process of mugging up sight word books!

2. Make the sentences Buzzer game

Make the sentences Buzzer game

There are several story books and sight word books that demonstrate the use of sight words in sentences. So, if you want to give an innovative solution other than those books to the first grader, why not allow them to be the sentence-builder?

As a game jockey, your task will be to give a cue sight word to two students competing against one another. The challenge is to keep making sentences on the given word. The side that makes more sentences using the sight word wins the rounds as they are announced during the gameplay. The next round starts when either side fails to recollect or make correct sentences. The sentences that are formed in a manner semantically incorrect also lead to the next round. 

It is played in four to five rounds so that the enthusiasm stays alive. Also, it becomes possible to fit the game into a restricted time schedule. Thus, improvement in memory recall, as well as correct use of sight words, are the two main benefits you achieve from this game.

3. Sight word spellathon

Sight word games for first grade

This game will require you to have letter cubes and a table. Kids will pick the letter cubes to make as many sight words as possible. This simple game serves the purposes of learning spellings, speeding up word formation, and also boosting recognition of sight word spellings. The use of letter cubes is suggested to enhance motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination.

You can add more to the challenge by asking kids to make longer sight words and the qualifying words will only be those that contain at least four letters. Possible to play in groups, you can make this game more portable by simply asking participants to play this game orally. 

4. Sight Word Bingo

Sight Word Bingo

One of the most popular games – Bingo – gets a linguistic twist when you replace the numbers on the Bingo cards with sight words. You, as a game jockey, will distribute Bingo cards to the students. One clue card containing numbers will be with you. 

The gameplay is simple. You speak out the sight words and the students locate that on the Bingo card and place the color-coded coin on that. If the row or column is filled with coins, the student will announce ‘Bingo’ and win the game. The game can enhance listening comprehension, and sight word recognition, to quote a few benefits. Also, you can add an additional task by asking the learner to make sentences with all the sight words that helped him earn a Bingo.

You can develop customizable Bingo Cards with the help of an online card generator or use our printable sight word learning chart for the gameplay.

5. Sight word Swatting 

Sight word games for first grade

It is a quick game where you create some sight word flashcards. Give the child a fly swatter or something similar to it. Spread the flashcards in front of the child and start speaking out the sight words one after the other. The child has to listen to the sight word and swat it. Every correctly swatted sight word will be removed and may be introduced again later in the game to reinforce learning. 

This game can be played while making pairs. The one who swats all words faster is declared the winner. Thus, you can achieve sight word recognition, better word recall rate, and sight word vocabulary strengthening with this game.

6. Sight Words Treasure Hunt

It is an interesting game that can be played both in school and at home. The game requires you to hunt the things in a given area of the house or in the classroom. You give a sight-wordy twist to the game by telling them to read the sight word written on the object they hunt and make a sentence using that word. The one who collects all objects and makes sentences the fastest is the winner.

Various strategies to maximize learning from sight word games

During the course of gameplay, the challenge is to not let the focus waver from learning. Also, kids may need to first open up before they participate in the game. I would like to share a few strategies that worked for me while homeschooling my child in his first-grade days to give him additional training on sight words; these include:

  • Keep the process simple: The fewer steps and easy process make the little learner more interested in participating.
  • Talk about the outcome in advance: Give a heads-up to the child to let him imbibe the idea behind playing the game
  • Use rewards as a motivational tool: You can share the reward that kids will get on completing the game; it engages them better and keeps them motivated to perform sincerely.

To sum up,

Playing sight word games is a participatory way of teaching these elementary language concepts to first graders. The games allow you to reduce learning anxiety and replace it with the ease of grasping new concepts. All Engish Language beginners feel more included when gamified ways of teaching are adopted.

Take the help of the games listed above to achieve the teaching objectives and share with us any new observations that you found in student performance or in their interest in learning sight words.


  1. Cheung, S. Y., & Ng, K. Y. (2021). Application of the Educational Game to Enhance Student Learning. Frontiers in Education, 6, 623793. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2021.623793
  2. Gozcu, Emine & Caganaga, Cagda. (2016). The importance of using games in EFL classrooms. Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences. 11. 126. 10.18844/cjes.v11i3.625.

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