The best games EYFS teachers can use to aid teaching


In Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) there is a reliance on games and play to aid learning development, as it’s a tried and tested means of keeping youngsters engaged.

It’s widely recognised that children develop extremely quickly in their early years and in order to ensure that youngsters can have the best possible start in life, Early Years teachers will focus on a number of key learning areas which help to prepare children aged under five for primary school.

In England, a set of learning standards cover the EYFS, with teachers expected to support learning in language and communication, physical development, literacy, maths and expressive art and design.

In addition, an Early Years teacher will also help youngsters with personal, social and emotional development, as well as helping them to develop an understanding of the world.

The use of play and exploring is key to this, and EYFS staff will encourage youngsters to have a go at things, try new experiences and facilitate free play as much as possible.

However, there is also a wide range of games that can be used by Early Years teachers to aid teaching, as we’ve detailed here.

Letter recognition

In order to prepare youngsters for time with a primary teacher, it’s important that they begin to understand letters and words.

Letter recognition games help to introduce the basics and can be as simple as a letter hunt, where letter cards are printed and hidden around the classroom, or letter bingo, where children are given a set of letters and must cross them out as they are read out.

These games can also be developed by an Early Years teacher as youngsters better their understanding – letters can eventually become words for the purposes of the game, for example.

Discovering phonics

Getting kids to be hooked on phonics starts at an early age, and there are several practical games that can be used to do it.

A fun and extremely active way for an EYFS teacher to introduce phonics is noisy jump game, whereby the letters of the alphabet are chalked on the ground and youngsters jump from letter to letter before saying or shouting each one.

The letters on the ground may include words they know and are familiar with or more generic sounds that an Early Years teacher may want to ensure they practice.

The sound of music

From singing phrases to creating melodies with different instruments, music is a great way for an Early Years teacher to introduce concepts such as call and response.

Youngsters can hear how a piece of music should sound before trying to recreate it themselves – this enables them to be creative and to play around with basic beats and to discover music at their own pace.

Ready, set, action!

Kids are always highly active, and an EYFS teacher can use that to their advantage in the classroom by encouraging them to act out parts of a story or cartoon.

When accompanied with reading sessions, this can be a great way to measure just how much youngsters understand what they have heard or read.

Sensory books also help to encourage interaction, both among the class and between the youngsters and the material itself.

Rewarding success

One way of boosting engagement is to reward success and good behaviour – such as with a star system.

An Early Years teacher may want to have a board on their classroom wall that is dedicated to showing off success in this way – youngsters will want to see stars under their names and it’s something they can show off to their parents when they are collected from school too.

This has the added benefit of increasing contact time between a teacher and parents, enabling them to build a rapport over time.

Many of these methods can also be used by primary teachers as a means of creating a fun learning environment for their pupils.

In addition, TES has a range of free resources for Early Years teachers to use in the first few weeks of having a new class.

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