Find Time-Saving Kindergarten Resources ➔

6 Ways to Make Worksheets More Engaging

As a primary teacher, my main objective is to make sure my kids are learning all of the foundational skills they need in an engaging format. I don’t want them JUST to learn. I want them to have fun learning! Because of this, I’ve learned some tips and tricks to keep engagement high. One of those tips is to make worksheets more engaging. Intrigued? Come along to see how it’s done!

This image says, "6 Ways to Make Worksheets More Engaging" and includes and example of a color by code 2d shape worksheet.

Worksheets Don’t Have To Be Boring

I know what you’re thinking… How on earth can worksheets be engaging? I know how it sounds friends, trust me! As a teacher who prefers hands-on learning activities over worksheets, I know that worksheets are often the last thing you want to include in your lesson plan. But let’s face it, science shows us that students need repetition to learn new skills. And sometimes. . . to get that repetition within the time constraints of our school day a worksheet is needed.

But here’s the thing… they don’t have to be boring! If you use them strategically, your kids will love pencil and paper practice as much as they do hands-on centers. In my room, I use some trusty tools, school supplies, and teaching methods to make worksheets an engaging activity that everyone loves. Here are 6, simple ways you can do the same!

1. Use Daubers or Stamps

First on my list, are my beloved BINGO daubers and stamps. These are such a quick and easy way to make an otherwise hum-drum worksheet fun for little learners! Kids love them, and they are a fun way to select an answer on paper rather than using a pencil.

This photo shows an engaging worksheet that can be used to practice letter recognition. Students will use bingo daubers to mark the target letter for some fun, hands-on learning.

I like to use BINGO daubers or stamps with these Phonics Practice Worksheets during my small groups. They’re the perfect warm-up activity for students as they arrive at my table. Since students can use them independently, it gives me just a couple of minutes to get situated for my new group as they work. There are a ton of skills covered in this bundle including:

  • Letter Recognition
  • Beginning Sounds
  • Word Families
  • Digraphs
  • Blends
  • Long Vowels

These pages make it quick and easy to warm up and review important phonics skills before we begin our lesson for the day. Plus, since we use them with stamps or daubers, this is a no-prep activity for me! All I do is select the skill we’re targeting, print, and go! Then as students sit at the table, they use their daubers or stamps to mark the correct answer.

2. Use Playdough with Worksheets

With the engaging worksheet in this photo, students will use playdough to build numbers and then practice writing and representing the number in different ways.

Is there anything more fun than playdough? My students LOVE playdough and it never seems to get old in my classroom. For this reason, I’m a big fan of using it to make worksheets more engaging. We use playdough to practice letters as well as numbers. These worksheets make it super simple to sneak some engaging practice in during center time. I also love to use these as an afternoon activity when my kids are kind of restless and tired. There’s just something calming about playdough!

The worksheets inside my Dough Numbers Worksheets resource have students find the number, trace it, rainbow write it, build it in a tens frame, write it, and build it with playdough. I love having these worksheets on hand at the beginning of the year when we’re working hard on numeral formation and number recognition!

The worksheets inside my Letter Dough Mats resource are similar. Students will find a letter, rainbow write it, trace it, write it, and build it with playdough. I like to laminate these mats for this purpose, but you can also slip them inside dry-erase sleeves as well. Both options work well for primary students and allow me to use the same pages over and over again.

3. Make Worksheets into File Folder Games

This photo highlights an engaging worksheet that can be attached to a file folder for more durability! Using the worksheet, students will follow a key and cover each space with a colored plastic math cube in order to reveal a picture.

Another fun option I have discovered over the years is that I can make just about any worksheet into a reusable file folder game. All you need to do is glue the page inside of a manilla file folder, then laminate the whole folder flat. After laminating, you will provide manipulatives, playdough, and/or dry-erase markers to complete the activity.

The exact directions will vary based on the worksheets you choose to include. For example, if you used my Snap Cube Centers, students would use colored snap cubes to complete each activity. I like using file folders for these because it tends to keep the worksheets in better shape over time and they can be stored easily.

You can also use cut-and-paste worksheets inside of a file folder with the addition of velcro! Just cut apart the pieces and laminate them separately. Then attach velcro to the spaces on the worksheet as well as on the pieces themselves. The pieces will be stored inside the file folder and students will complete the activity by attaching them one by one. It’s like a puzzle that you made yourself!

4. Use Manipulatives

This photo shows a "build the letter" activity that can be used with legos and dry erase markers.

My next idea for you is always a student favorite! Try using manipulatives like building bricks with your worksheets to make them more fun to complete. Building bricks are a great option for students since they encourage fine motor skills, and feel more like “play” than learning!

These Letter Recognition Worksheets have students find the letter, rainbow write it, trace it, write it, and build it with bricks. They LOVE these pages, so they’re a great option for right after lunch or recess when we’re trying to get refocused for the afternoon. I also find them to be handy for a fun morning work option as well!

To make them last longer, I laminate them and then bind them into a book. Then students can grab a book, flip to a letter, and get started! Not to mention, this prep method makes these worksheets last forever!

5. Try Color by Code Worksheets

For this engaging worksheet, students will only need crayons in order to color by code and reveal the shape!

Have you used color by code in your classroom yet? If not, you’re in for a super simple way to up the engagement of worksheets! I love them because they are so easy to use – just print and go! I just select my topic or theme, print it out, and use it for instant practice activities. They also work well for morning work, centers, and for fast finishers too! Some of my favorites include:

Being able to print these out and use them immediately is one of their merits. I also love that kids like the surprise factor as they color and the full picture is revealed. But the benefits don’t stop there. They are a great way to provide multiple repetitions in one activity. Kids also work on following instructions as they complete the activity. And. . . these are GREAT to stash in your emergency sub tub for when you’re out!

6. Use Worksheets as Partner Games

This photo shows two worksheets that focus on s blends. One targets phonemic awareness with pictures only and the other targets decoding with written words. Each worksheet is intended to be used as a partner game!

Last on my list, I’ve got another fun way to make worksheets more engaging… partner games! Kids love working with a partner, and kids love playing games. So why not combine the two as a learning activity? I decided it was time to find a way to do this easily with worksheets. I came up with these Make a Square Worksheets for Practicing Beginning Sounds and they were a huge hit!

To use, pair your kiddos up and give them one worksheet. Students will take turns drawing one line at a time to connect two dots side by side, either vertically or horizontally. When one student completes a square around a letter/picture, they can claim that square but only if they can correctly identify the beginning sound. If they identify the sound, they color it. If they cannot identify the sound, their partner can “steal” the square by correctly identifying and coloring the square.

Students will continue to draw lines and claim and color squares until all squares are claimed. The player with the most squares at the end wins. My kids LOVE this, and I love how it makes practicing beginning sounds super simple and fun for them! I also created these Make a Square Worksheets for Letter Recognition that use the same approach to practice the alphabet.

Engaging Worksheets for the Whole Year

So which of these was your favorite?! It’s always hard for me to choose, and you know what? I think that’s ok! I’ve found that variety keeps things fun in the classroom, so the more the merrier! Whether you decide to start using playdough, BINGO daubers, building bricks, or fun partner games – I know your kids will thank you!

Choosing materials and supplies to help make worksheets more engaging is a win for everyone. You’ll be able to utilize the no-prep benefit of worksheets while still ensuring your students have fun learning! So don’t be afraid to mix it up and incorporate some new things into your lessons to keep things feeling fresh. If you want to snag some of these resources for yourself, you can find them all and many more in my TPT shop!

Looking for More?

Check out these posts for more ways to make primary learning fun!

Pin It!

Pin this post on Pinterest so you remember how to make worksheets more engaging for your students!

When you hear the word "worksheets", your first thought is probably not "highly engaging". However, there are 6 ways to make worksheets more engaging so you can use them to practice literacy and math skills with a hands-on approach! For example, adding tools like math cubes, bingo daubers and playdough are sure to make worksheets more engaging! Check out this post for even more ideas and examples!

Share it:


You might also like...

Hi, I’m Julie!

If you are looking for hands-on, engaging kindergarten activities, you came to the right place!

I’m here to save you time by sharing tried and true kindergarten resources, tips, and ideas and hopefully give you some ideas for your own kindergarten lesson plans!

Find it Fast

Browse by Category

Join the Newsletter
Tips, Tricks, & Freebies in your inbox!