image of children playing the sound game.

~ Art by Dawn Hyde ~

The Sound Game is an early childhood version of I Spy With My Little Eye using phonetics instead of letter names. It was a family favourite.

This article follows on from my previous blog, “The Magic Of Language In Early Learning”.

Before young children are familiar with the alphabet it is beneficial to play it in the way described below:

  • This game should be played in a fun way.
  • The sounds given are phonetic – the sounds of the letters are important, not the names. The child might say that he knows the letter “a” and gives its name.
  • You can say, “That’s right, you know the name, and it makes the sound “a”.
  • Give the short vowel sound like in man, cat, bag, sack, flag, sad.

How To Play

  • Make a sound, for example “m”. Give a word with it.
  • Ask the child for words with the same sound.
  • Make another sound, “s” for example and ask, “Do you know any words with that sound?” Pause to give the child time to think.
  • In the Sound Game children learn to listen for the sound at the beginning, middle and at the end of the word.
  • Do a third consonant sound like “t”.
  • You can do all of these in one sitting.

The Sound Game is not played in conjunction with showing children letters. It is played long before the children see any sandpaper letters. Do it every day.
It can be played with a small group of children.

Start with three fairly contrasting sounds. As they catch on add two consonants and one vowel.
Invite the children to give your sounds. When the child gives the wrong word just ignore it, and reinforce the correct response later.

This is a slight change from just asking for the beginning sound as in the original I Spy game.
I suggest:

“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with the sound ‘mmm’.”

You can collect some small objects that can be incorporated into the game, but you can play it by just saying a sound and then a word that has that sound in it.

This is a great game for a car trip.

Please share and leave a comment below.


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