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oa - float the word!

Phase 3 - oa

The activities and games in this blog post can be adapted and used with any sound that your child is learning. Phase 3 sounds and words can be found on the sounds page.

Spoiler: I couldn’t get the first activity to work!

I had seen the post where you draw a stick man on a glass or ceramic surface using a whiteboard pen. Then you add water and watch it dance. I thought it would be a great way to introduce the oa sound, watching it float to the surface.

Sophie and Benji poured the water into the dish, excited to see what happened.

Nothing! There was a little wiggle around the a but no floating! I tried a few different containers and surfaces and hot water but I couldn’t get it to work.

We used the water to see what objects we could make float and talked about the oa sound in boat (b-oa-t) and float (f-l-oa-t).

Introducing the sound I thought of a different way to introduce the sound afterwards. Investimage what happens when you put an orange and an apple in water. What sound does orange and apple start with? Write oa on the inside of a milk bottle top then place it on the water so it floats. Tell children that it makes an oa sound.


Write the letters t, l, d and c on the inside of some other milk bottle tops. Arrange them to make words for your child to read e.g. coat, load and toad.


I cut come cardboard from a cereal box to make two dividers. I would have use the milk container but it had already been recycled.

I positioned the two dividers on the lid from our Phonics Box, so it made 3 parking spaces and filled the lid with water.

Place the milk bottle tops with c, oa and t in the water so they float. Ask your child to blow the milk bottle lids so that the first sound ends up in the first space, the next sound ends up in the middle space and the third sound ends up in the last space.

You could also say a word and ask your child to select the milk bottle tops to put in the water.

The whiteboard pen wipes off with a cloth so you could add different letters to make more words.

Phase 3 words: coat, load, goat, loaf, road, soap, oak, toad, boat, coach, soak, foam.

Phase 4 words: float, throat, toast, cloak, croak, boast, coast, roast.

If you have a go at this activity and share any photos on social media I would love to see them. Please tag @miniwritersclub and use #miniwritersclub and let me know how you get on.



We used the Phonics Box as the water tray.


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