Sorting Baskets Phonics Activity

Set up a fun phonics activity for preschoolers and school aged children with this sorting objects into baskets game! This takes no preparation at all and can be played in different ways to suit the age or stage of each child involved.Phonics activity using sorting baskets

Pop has been enjoying learning all her letter sounds (phonemes) and their corresponding names and shapes (graphemes) with all of our playful alphabet activities. I made her a phonics activity that I used to play with my Reception/ Kindergarten classes when I was teaching, using baskets and everyday objects to sort into them, according their phonemes.

Phonics activity with objects to sort by sound

This is one of those playful activities that takes very little  preparation time and can be adapted for travel or turned into a busy bag for pulling out at a moments notice.

I found some baskets and wrote out 4 phonemes that I wanted her to practise onto card, then cut them out. I collected a number of small items from around the house that had those phonemes as their initial sound and then mixed them up in a pile in front of the baskets, ready to be sorted. Obviously you need to base this on your own child’s ability and focus on sounds they may need help with. This is a good way to introduce new phoneme sets in small groups in the classroom too.

Phonics sorting baskets

We talked about how the first sound we say in a word was the one that we were going to listen out for, and emphasised how to hear and say each on by saying it out loud and segmenting it form the rest of the word. “This is a dddd-og” so what’s the first sound that it begins with? “d, yes!” She was then able to copy that approach with each object she picked up, saying its name and hearing its first sound, before deciding which basket to place it in.Phonics sorting baskets activity

She recognised all of the graphemes and we will now take a next step of choosing more unfamiliar ones to practise. After this it will make sense to move onto some digraphs such as “ch”, “sh” and “th” and I will be setting up this game for her big sister Cakie soon.

Another way to extend the play is to take the baskets and ask the children to go on a phonics hunt around the home themselves, finding appropriate objects to fill each one.

Moving onto hearing and distinguishing ending sounds is also a next progression and could provide a lot more challenge for more able children.Sorting objects into phonics baskets

What they are learning as they play:

literacy: discriminating initial phonemes in words, naming objects, sorting by phoneme, matching phonemes and graphemes, recognising graphemes by sight

maths: sorting objects according to one criteria

Cakie: 5.6

Pop: 4.0

Bean: 2.1

See all our Playful Literacy activities here, including phonics, alphabet work, story-telling, writing and pre-reading.



  1. Cyndy says

    I just want to encourage you by commenting on your site today. I am a new reader, and I LOVE your blog!! Thank you so much for taking the time to put your ideas on the blog!

  2. says

    Hi Anna,
    Another great post, I have just pinned it as a little reminder for the upcoming holidays. Well done for being one of the MADs awards finalists, you deserve to win (I nominated your blog!). Mel