1. Overview

The Sight Words Parking Lot game has the student parking a toy car in a parking space matching a particular word provided by the teacher. The game gives the student sight word repetition to build speed and confidence in recognizing their sight words.

sight words parking lot
Sight Words Parking Lot

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2. Materials

The game requires only a “parking lot” made with tape and a toy car or other figurine:

As an alternative to the toy car, you can use any small figurine. Be flexible and use whatever will capture and hold your child’s attention. If your child prefers horses to cars, use a horse figurine and call this the Stable Game.

Print out some sight words flash cards, using pre-made templates or our custom flash card creator. Then use masking tape or painter’s tape to create a “parking lot” on the floor or table. (Make sure the “parking spaces” are large enough to match the size of the toy and the flash cards you are using.) The more spaces you have, the more words you can cover in the game.

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3. Activity

Video: How to Play Sight Words Parking Lot

Have the child sit in front of the parking lot, holding their toy car.

Adult: We are going to play the Parking Lot game. I am going to say a word, and you
            have to find the word.
            Once you find the word and read it out loud, you can drive your car to that space
            and park the car on that word. Ready? Open.
[The child looks for the word open, and when they find it, they run their finger under the word from left to right and say the word out loud.]
Child: Open. [The child then parks the car on top of the correct word.]

If the child gets the word right, you confirm that they are correct, they get to “park” the car on that word, and then you move on to another word. If the child can’t find the word, or selects the wrong word, go through our standard sight words correction procedure to review the word.

Call out another word, and then another, until the child has successfully found and “parked” on all the words in the parking lot multiple times. Once a child has a bit of experience with the game, they can play by themselves, coming to you only at the end of the game with any words that they had trouble sight reading.

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4. Variations

We can make the game harder, easier, or just different with these variations.

4.1 Introduce the Words First

You can make the game a little easier by introducing all the words at the start of the game. Before you start playing, the teacher and the student read all the words on the board together. This is particularly useful when you are working with new words.

4.2 Two Players

Two more advanced students can play the game without needing an adult, with one player taking the role of teacher and choosing the words. You simply need one toy car (or other figurine) for each player. The first player chooses a word and announces it, while the second player has to find the word. The first player then checks the word and says another word. After a few minutes, the players switch roles.

4.3 Larger Lot

Make the game more difficult by making a larger parking lot with more parking spaces. The extra spaces make searching and finding a single word more challenging.

4.4 Reverse Parking Lot

In the reverse game, the teacher parks the car on a word and asks the student to tell them what word they are parked on. This variation is a little harder than the basic form of the game, because the child has to recognize the word purely through sight reading without having the benefit of hearing the word first.

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5. Assessment

The game lends itself well toward assessment. It is easy to observe which words the child has mastered and which words need more work, so that you can take inventory of progress on learning new words.

Mastery of the words in this exercise requires the child to be able to consistently find the correct word within five seconds, for 100% of the words being practiced.

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6. Additional Resources

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5 Responses to “Sight Words Parking Lot”

  1. Maggie

    Great game! I have used skateboards too. I guess that would make it the Skate Park game.
    I have also created permanent “boards” by using the back side of a small carpet, road rug, and vinyl banners that may have been used as an advertisement in stores or out in the community. I have a Nike one from a sports store and a plumbers vinyl banner that I cut into 3 board size pieces.

  2. Helen Raymond

    When I was teaching I spent hours making these games. The children loved playing them. For those who thought they could not read and refused to try with books, these games were the avenue to learning the necessary words to successfully begin reading.
    I am now retired and have great grandchildren living with me. One of them is very interested in reading everything. I have printed off some of these games to use with him. He is so excited to finish and play them. He knew most of the words from our reading together so should have no trouble playing them. I am sure that they will finish up much faster than the ones I made from scratch years ago.
    Thank you for these activities.

  3. Mandy

    Thanks! Looks fun.
    I’m going to try this game with my 4 year old. However, since he has so many Hot Wheels and Disney Cars I’m going to have him park a car on every word and fill up the parking lot. Once the lot is full, the game is over.

  4. Vamshi

    My 4-yr. old kid really loved this! He is using his favorite vehicle to move across the different parking lots whenever I say a specific sight word. I used a cardboard to create the parking lots and written words with sketches.

  5. hailey golu

    This is a very good game, more interesting game than today’s time smartphone games. I would love to play with my daughter-in-law
    Memorial Park Cemetery


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