Sight Word Manipulatives

This sight word manipulatives activity is a great multisensory learning activity for hands-on learning sight words. Use this and all of our sight word activities to support learning with play!

Sight Word Manipulatives

A sight word manipulative is a learning tool designed to help children recognize and memorize sight words, which are common words that are frequently used in reading and writing. These manipulatives are typically physical objects that can be moved and arranged, such as flashcards, word blocks, or word wheels.

Sight word manipulatives are designed to make the process of learning sight words more interactive and engaging for children. By providing a hands-on, tactile experience, these tools can help children better understand the spelling and meaning of sight words, as well as improve their reading fluency and comprehension.

Examples of sight word manipulatives

Examples of sight word manipulatives include:

  1. Flashcards: Cards with a single sight word printed on them that children can read and memorize.
  2. Word blocks: Small wooden or plastic blocks with sight words printed on them that children can arrange and manipulate to create sentences.
  3. Word wheels: Rotating wheels with sight words printed on them that children can spin to create new word combinations.
  4. Magnetic letters: Letters that children can arrange on a magnetic board to create sight words and sentences.
  5. Play Dough Words like the ones below!
Sight Word manipulatives

Clothes Pin Sight Words

We love clothes pin activities because of the fine motor benefits. For young children who are working on handwriting for the first time, getting all of the pinch strength and grip strength through play is essential for developing pencil grasp and the underlying components of handwriting. 
For this age, overall hand strength is often suffering. That’s where activities like this one help in more than one way.
This clothes pin sight word activity fits the bill!
For this sight word manipulative activity, you’ll need just a few items:
  1. Play dough
  2. Clothes pins
  3. Marker
  4. Cardstock or thick paper (like an index card)
To set up the activity, you’ll need to:
  1. Cut small pieces of paper.
  2. Write the sight words on each piece of paper.
  3. Clip a clothes pin onto the piece of paper.
  4. Press the clothes pin into a ball of play dough.
We’ve been playing a lot with our sight word cards. Did you see our Sight Word Scavenger Hunt post?
One day we had the play dough out and we did a little playful learning with sight words.
Big Sister worked those fine motor skills to pinch and pull little bits of play dough from a big lump.  She rolled little balls of dough…all great activities for strengthening the small muscles of the hands.
Sigh Word Manipulatives
After she had little balls of play dough formed, we pinched the sight word cards and stuck them into the dough.
Big Sister loved this!  She would read the cards as we moved them around and she loved making crazy sentences.  It got a little silly 🙂
This was such a fun way to practice our sight words.  

Working on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, or scissor skills? Our Fine Motor Kits cover all of these areas and more.

Check out the seasonal Fine Motor Kits that kids love:

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Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to


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