Prep: 10 Minutes / Activity Time: 5-10 Minutes

Listen! Look! Splat! will motivate your preschooler to have fun with sight words. Sight words are words that appear frequently but that can't easily be sounded out. Learning sight words helps children become more confident readers. The addition of a simple prop will give your child an active and multisensory experience as he practices sight words. It can take many repetitions before a child can recognize sight words quickly and automatically, so it’s important to make this a failure-free and fun experience.

  • 3" x 5" unlined index cards
  • marker
  • flyswatter
  • craft cutter or scissors
  • painter’s tape


listen-lookStep 1: Using a black marker, print sight words on unlined 3 x 5 index cards. Here are examples: a, and, big, can, for, I, is, in, me, the, go, yes, no, like, look, the, to, was, she.  

Step 2: Cut out the center of a flyswatter large enough to create an outline around the sight words.

Step 3: Tape six sight words on a wall, sliding glass door, or refrigerator.


Step 1: Give your child the flyswatter. Tell him that you want him to listen, look and splat! You might say:

I want you to listen (point to your ears), look (point to your eyes), and splat (make a motion with your hand as if you are swatting a fly). First, listen. I am going to say a word. Then, look. Look for the word on the wall. Last, you can take the flyswatter and splat! – place it over the word. Are you ready? OK – Listen. The first word is “was”. Look and find the word. Splat! – place the flyswatter over the word.

Step 2: Continue with remaining words.

Step 3: If your child is starting to read some of the words, you can trade places. Let your child name a word while you listen, look and splat.

For more about sight words, go to the activity called Word Detective.

Start with just three sight words that  look very different. For example, you might start with I, big, look. They all start with different letters and vary in length. Your child can use the beginning sounds as clues.

Place nine cards on the wall to choose from. When your child begins to recognize some sight words automatically and quickly, see if he can find them in a book or magazine. You might give him a highlighter and ask him to highlight the target word each time he sees it.