Developing phonemic awareness is a crucial component to later reading and writing success, but don’t worry. Many early childhood activities like singing songs, reciting nursery rhymes and more help kids with these important skills. There’s a full continuum of phonological and phonemic awareness skills that kids progress through. Today we’re sharing an activity from our snowflake theme lesson plans to help kids with segmentation. Use our free printable snowflake segmentation mats and these steps to practice with your kids one on one or in a small group.
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- Snowflake manipulative of your choice-Choose from snowflake sequins, foam snowflakes, cotton balls, white pom poms, snowflake jewels or any other idea you have in mind.
- Falling Snowflakes Segmentation Mats
When possible I like to start phonemic awareness activities with a gross motor component. During this part I model and do the activity along with the child or group of kids. Then we move on to a more individualized activity.
Gross Motor Guided Options
If you’d like to do this without manipulatives, have kids pretend their hands are snowflakes. Say a word. Then model how to let a “snowflake” fall for each sound in the word. It’s best to start with 2 or 3 phoneme words first (like at or cup). As kids become comfortable with these words, you can move on to words with more sounds and blends.
If you’d like to use manipulatives for the gross motor option, give kids large foam or paper snowflakes. Follow the same steps as above, but have them drop a snowflake for each sound in the word instead of using their hand.
Fine Motor Independent Option
Once kids become more comfortable doing this activity together in a guided way we move toward some independent practice so they can verbalize and show what they are thinking as they segment the words.
Here give kids (individually or in a group of 3 or so kids) a snowflake mat and snowflake manipulatives. Two options are included, one set with lines for the snowflakes to “land” on and the other with no lines. Choose the one that meets your needs.
Review what was done in the guided activity. Then model how to use the mat and the manipulatives. Show kids how to start on the left side of the paper and pull down snowflakes moving left to right as you segment the sounds in the word. Let them know that they won’t always use all of the snowflakes, so some will stay “floating in the air.”
Then move on to practicing individual words. Listen as kids segment the words. This will help you see where they are needing additional support. This activity does not have to take a long time. I would practice 3-5 words during each session and then move on to a different activity. Reintroduce the activity a couple of times over a week or two as you work on your winter or snowflake theme.
See it in Action
If you are working with younger preschoolers who are not yet ready to segment the sounds in words, these mats can also be used to:
- Segment the words in a sentence-Recite a short sentence. Have kids pull down a snowflake for each word in a sentence.
- Segment the syllables-Say a word. Have kids pull down a snowflake for each syllable in the word.