The boys are like magpies. They are always drawn to any ‘invitation to play’ involving twinkling fairy lights, so I knew this would catch their attention.


  • Christmas rice (see previous post on how to make this)
  • Tray
  • Unsharpened pencil or writing tool (if not a finger works perfectly)
  • Christmas pictures / objects
  • Christmas words
  • Fairy lights (optional)


Step 1: Set up the rice tray with an object or picture in.

Step 2: Ask the child to find the corresponding word.

Step 3: Have a go writing the words in the rice.

Ioan enjoyed sounding out the words to find the characters. He found it hilarious when he spotted that the robin was resting on some folded underpants. He then raided his pants drawer for some more ‘cushions’.

Finn used the initial letter sound to match the characters then asked to put the fairy lights in the tray to play.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)


ELG 09 – Reading:

Children use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately.

ELG 10 – Writing:

Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds.