| | | | |

Snowball Word Building Activities – Free Printables

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. See our disclosure policy.

Get seven winter themed word building activity ideas for young learners, with letters and digraphs printed on snowballs! Download the free printables and young learners can have a “ball” (get it?) using this engaging and fun seasonal activity to practice reading skills.

Pinterest graphic with pictures of the snowball printables.

❄️ Why We Love It

In my school groups, kids become more engaged when I lean into the seasons! That’s why I put together Science of Reading aligned, season-themed resources, like Beginning Sounds worksheets and Phonics Snowman!

And since we’re experiencing a lot of winter weather lately, we’re extra excited about these snowball-themed word-building printables.

Each snowball has a letter or digraph, and we left a bunch of blank snowballs so you can add any other letters, phonemes, or digraphs you’re working on.

You can easily scaffold with this resource because kids can use it in a variety of ways, from building their knowledge of letters and sounds to practicing word building.

👉 This resource was designed to be best suited for students in Kindergarten through Second grade.
👉 Want more? Get our Elkonin Boxes/Sound Boxes for 3, 4, and 5 phoneme words and learn how they help students with lots of important reading skills!

And for extra fine motor skills practice, have the child cut out the snowballs and sled, and use one of the seven activity ideas below!

A child's hand arranging cut out snowball shaped letters on a sled worksheet.

💡 Activity Ideas

1. Word Building

Using our comprehensive CVC word list, Silent E word list or first High Frequency Words list, dictate words to your students.

Try this: Ask your child to make a word like “mit.” Place the “m – i – t” snowballs on the sled. Have you child touch each snowball and say the sounds /m/ /i/ /t/.

Then, the child should run his finger along the base of the sled and blend the sounds together to read the word “mit.”

2. Change One Letter Game

Extend the word building idea listed above by playing Change One Letter. This is a higher level phoneme manipulation skill that challenges children in their knowledge of sound placement to spell and change words.

Here’s how to play: If children have the word ”mit” on the sled, say “I want you to change one letter so the word will say “mat.” (Child should change the ‘i’ to ‘a.’) Once they have the new word “mat” on the sled, you might say, “I want you to change one thing so the word will say “fat.” Child should change the ‘h’ to ‘f.’

Then say: “Now change one letter so the word says “fan.” (Child should change the ‘t’ to ‘n.’) Each time, follow the procedure of having the child check their work by placing their finger under each letter, saying the sound, and then blending the sounds together to read the word.

This teaches self-monitoring skills to ensure that what they see (the snowballs on the sled) matches what they say and hear (the individual sounds along with the sounds blended together to form the word).

*If teaching the spelling of irregular words, be sure you have explicitly taught these words to your students first and use this activity as practice to reinforce the spelling.

3. Letters and Sounds

This can be used for the new letters you’re introducing or for letters and sounds your child continues to struggle with. Only provide a few snowballs with those letters on them, about 5-7 snowballs maximum.

If you’re working on letter recognition, call out the letter that you want them to find. They can place it on the sled. If you’re working on sounds, call out the sound. Say, “Find the letter that says /m/.”

4. Writing

Use the blank snowballs for this activity. If you laminate the blank snowballs, you can use them over and over. Otherwise, you can even have your child make their own snowballs using plain white paper.

Say a letter or sound, and have the children write the letter on the snowball and then place it on the sled. Play “When Will it Topple?” and keep placing letters one on top of the other.

See how many snowballs they can pile on the sled. If they get a letter wrong, then the whole thing topples. Keep track of the high score and see how many snowballs they can place on top of the sled!

5. Count Syllables or Phonemes

Use the blank snowballs for this activity. Place three or four snowballs under the sled. If you’re working on syllables, then say a word and have the child place one snowball for each syllable in the word. If you need a list of words to call out, use our Counting Syllables worksheet.

If you’re working on counting phonemes (sounds in words), then call out a word and have the child place one snowball for each phoneme they hear in the word.

Remember, digraphs are one phoneme (For example: /sh/ makes one sound). Consonant blends (like br, cl, and tw) will be pushed up using different snowballs, since each consonant in the blend is clearly heard.

6. Alphabetical Order

Mix up the snowballs. In a large area, have children spread out the snowballs and try to race to place them in alphabetical order!

If you practice this over and over, use a timer to challenge kids to beat the clock and beat their previous time. Engage all of the kids senses with this activity and have them sing the ABC’s as they place them in order!

This will surely increase their time as well and help solidify those tricky letters that sometimes get muddled up together (l, m, n, o, p).

Download & Print

We’d love to hear about your experience using our printables!
Please leave a comment below or tag us on Instagram @literacylearn.

DOWNLOAD TERMS: All of our resources and printables are designed for personal use only in homes and classrooms. Each teacher must download his or her own copy. To share with others, please use the social share links provided or distribute the link to the blog post so others can download their own copies. Please do not save our files to a shared drive, reproduce our resources on the web, or make photocopies for anyone besides your own students. Your support in this allows us to keep making free resources for everyone! Please see our Creative Credits page for information about the licensed clipart we use. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our terms, please email us. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *