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Word Building Activity – Reading and Spelling with Blocks

This simple building block activity for kids is a great way to support your child as they learn to read and spell. Using whichever building blocks you have at home you can start to blend the phonemes (letter sounds) that make up the words we read. Children can use them to build and read real words or you can see how they are getting on with phonics knowledge by making up some nonsense words. So here you go a simple hands-on activity for building basic words with blocks.

A simple and easy activity for kids learning to read building cvc words with blocks.

What is a Word Building Activity?

A word building activity is a simple hands-on activity that uses knowledge of letter sounds to build some basic words. They can be used for word families just changing 1 letter at a time or you can use some of the common sight words and practice spelling and reading them.

Pinterest image of a simple block word building activity for learning to read and spell cvc words

What words to use with this Word Building Activity?

We like using simple words as we first work on blending sounds. As in the Rainy Day Mum house we used Jolly Phonics and Letter and Sounds as our basis we first introduced this activity with the first 4 letters S, A, T, P, and then expanded on it with more letters as we covered more sounds.

The following words can be made with just those 4 letters to start:









After SATP we introduced the next 4 letters – INMD combining these with the previous set there were a lot more options of words we could build with the blocks check out these ones:

  • am
  • an
  • and
  • as
  • at
  • dad
  • did
  • dim
  • din
  • dip
  • in
  • is
  • it
  • mam
  • man
  • map
  • mat
  • men
  • mid
  • min
  • nap
  • nip
  • pan
  • pat
  • pin
  • pip
  • pit
  • sad
  • Sam
  • sat
  • Sid
  • sip
  • sit
  • tan
  • tap
  • tat
  • Tim
  • tin
  • tip

Building the Word Activity

When you are working with letters and learning to read this is an ideal time to introduce the activity, select the blocks you will need, add in some letters and follow the instructions below.

Building a word using mega blocks, the word on the 3 block is pat and single blocks are scattered around with the letters p a and t on to make the word.

Materials Needed to Build the Word

  • Lego Duplo or Megablocks
  • Erasable Marker

How to Use Your Word Building Activity

A hand putting the t on the word pat matching the word on the bottom 3 block.
  1. Find a long brick that is the correct length for your word. For example, for ‘cat’, you need a ‘3-piece’ block.
  2. Write your word on the block and space out the letters.
  3. Take single blocks (each of a different colour). Use 1 block for each letter in the word. E.g. c-a-t.
  4. Write your letters (graphemes) – one letter on each block.
  5. Your child then recreates the word using the single blocks and attaching them to the larger block in the correct order.

Extending your Mega-Block CVC Activity

Wider choice of letters

So your child has a choice of 3 letters to make a 3 letter word and can quickly put them in order? Add some challenge. Can they make the 3 letter word when choosing from 5 letters, 6 letters, 10 letters? Simply make up extra single blocks to add the choice.

forming words of 4 letters with building blocks a 4 block has the word ball written on it and the blocks for b, a and ll are around.

Missing letters

Don’t give your child all the letters!

Let me give you an example. You write ‘cat’ on your ‘3-piece’ block and write letters on 2 single blocks and leave the third block empty. Can they build the word and tell you the missing letter?

EXTENSION: Can they write the missing letter?

Capital letters

Try writing your big block in capital letters and your single blocks in lowercase (not capitals) letters. Your child will have to process the letters more to match these to build the word up.

Adjacent consonants, digraphs, and trigraphs

Building the word sigh with blocks. There is a 4 block on the base with the word sigh on and about it a single s block and the trigraph igh over the igh in sigh.

As they learn more sounds, you can extend this activity further to read and spell longer words.

More Learning Letters and Early Reading Activities for Kids

dinosaur letter cards and sand tray activity for preschoolers

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