The foundation on which children learn to read, speak, and try to work out how to spell a new word is known as phonological awareness. Phonological awareness helps children 🧒 identify words that rhyme and recognize alliteration, along with distinguishing between different words by identifying the syllables in a word.
Children learn how to socialize and communicate by listening to their parents talk. It is easily observed that when parents teach their children how to speak, they break the words into separable sounds; this is a major component of phonological awareness.
In this article, I have listed several activities for parents 👪 and guardians that can help them develop their children’s communication skills.
Fascinating Phonological Awareness Activities For Kids
Phonological awareness facilitates the development of vocabulary in your child, along with their ability to find a way to pronounce a previously unheard word.
Phonological awareness equips children 🧒 with analytical skills that help them notice repeating sounds and how to pronounce them, along with attempting to pronounce a new word by comparing them with known words.
Parents, family 👪 members, friends, and teachers play a crucial role in developing this awareness. Let us see how.
Speak In Front of a Mirror
Did you know that you can improve your child’s speaking skills by practicing speaking in front of a mirror? Yes, this is true.
Practicing speaking in front of a mirror helps your child see how their mouth, lips, and tongue move while they speak.
It also boosts their confidence and improves their body language while speaking. Instruct your child to recite a poem, tongue twister, or an alliterative sentence in front of the mirror.
Bean Bag Toss
If you have a really energetic kid who responds well to lessons with physical stimuli, then this activity is a great way to improve their phonological awareness.
To play the game, place a bin in the middle of the room and ask your child to step back a couple of feet away from it.
Hand them five small bean bags and instruct them to throw the bean bags in the bin to signify their answer. You can ask questions like- how many syllables does this word have? Count the number of vowels in this word. Count the number of consonants in this word.
Phoneme Segmentation Activity
Help your child identify internal sounds with this phoneme segmentation activity. Face your child and say a three-letter 🔡 word like ‘but.’
Then, instruct your child to touch their head while saying the first sound (bah), their waist while saying the second sound (uh), and their toes after saying the third sound (t).
Repeat a couple of times before touching your waist and asking ‘what sound?’ Continue the exercise with other words.
Count My Words
Say a sentence out loud and ask your child to count on their hands how many words were used to make the sentence. Make the sentences as humorous and engaging as possible.
Animal Rhyming Activity
A major part of phonological awareness is the ability to identify rhyming words. When kids are young, their brains are like a sponge that wants to soak in as much information as possible on their favorite topics.
Since my kids were obsessed with animals, I played this animal rhyming game, which involved saying a word and then asking your child to think of an animal (s) that rhymed with that word. For instance, that rhymes with cat 🐈 and bat.
Pro tip- You can change the rhyming game from animals to birds, insects, plants, your favorite T.V. show, or any other engaging topic.
Speak Like a Robot
Say a word out loud and then ask your child to repeat the word back, but like a robot 🤖. Older robots had a tendency to divide a word into smaller segments.
Speaking like a robot can help your child identify the initial, middle, and final sounds made in a word.
This is a wonderful game to help your child distinguish between consonants and vowels. Say a word and ask your child to identify the consonants and the vowels.
If they are aware of syllables, then you can also ask them to identify different syllables in the said word. Repeat the activity with multiple words.
What Word Starts With…
‘What word starts with…’ is an inventive game to play with preschoolers and elementary school children 🧒 who are learning about sounds and new words. To play the game, you ask the participating children the first word that starts with a random letter 🔡.
You can also customize the game by prompting- ‘What word ends with…’ or ‘What word has this middle sound…’
Alliteration is a literary device commonly used in poems that refers to the occurrence of repeating consonants in two or more neighboring words.
Say an alliterated sentence and ask your child or children 🧒 to identify the common initial sound that each word in the sentence starts with.
For instance, “Please put away your paints and practice the piano,” “Garry grumpily gathered the garbage,” “Bake a big cake with lots of butter and bring it to the birthday bash,” and “Little Larry likes licking the sticky lollipop.”
Mystery Bag of Letters
Fill a brown paper bag with plastic, wooden, or magnetic letters. Instruct your child to take four letters out of the bag.
First, ask them to say the letters 🔡 out loud. Then, ask them to make as many two-letter, three-letter, and four-letter words as possible.
You must also participate in the activity. Once your child is finished, tally the results. Place the letters back in the bag and repeat the exercise with a new set of letters 🔡. Increase the level of difficulty after each round.
Grocery shopping can be really stressful with kids as they like to wander off. However, to incentivize good behavior, I ask my children 🧒 to play this game, after which they can pick out one chocolate bar each.
To play the game, all you have to do is ask your child to identify the syllables of different items on the grocery shopping list. For instance, carrot has two syllables: car-rot.
The Ship Is Loaded With…
This game is a lot of fun to play with multiple children. P.S. It can also be very competitive. To play this game, instruct the children to sit in a circle. Start the game by saying, “The ship is loaded with…”
Then, toss a ball to one of the children 🧒in the circle and ask them to find a word that rhymes with the last word of the previous sentence.
Instruct them to toss the ball to another child in the circle and continue the game until there are no more rhyming words. For instance, “The ship is full of books…hooks…cooks, and so on.
Did you know that tongue twisters are incredibly beneficial for children? Tongue twisters help children 🧒 learn to speak clearly, improve their reading ability, and can even help them overcome lisps and stammer.
It also improves their phonological awareness by making them more aware of the different sounds letters 🔡 can make.
Try to use tongue 👅 twisters where each word starts from the same letter, like “Laughing Lucie lost loads of loot,” “Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?” or “A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.”
I-Spy With Words
To encourage your child’s curiosity and improve their word recognition skills, play this version of the I-spy 🔎 game.
To play, say, “I spy with my little eye a shiny yellow object that starts with the letter 🔡 ‘s.’ Wait for your child to correctly identify the object, and then instruct them to give you a clue.
Syllable Stomp Game
Help your children 🧒 identify and count the syllables in a word with this easy game. Say a word out loud. Then, instruct the children to join in while you repeat the word multiple times and stomp with their hands whenever they hear a syllable.
At the end, count the number of syllables in the word. Once your children 🧒 get the hang of this exercise, introduce a new word and ask them to stomp when they identify a syllable.
Fill In The Rhyme
Read out a poem or a rhyming sentence multiple times. Instruct your children to say the poem out loud together.
Once they have memorized the rhyme, say the poem again, but stop at each rhyming word and ask your children 🧒 to fill in the rhyme.
Play Word-Related Board Games
Playing board games is a wonderful way to bond with your child. Board games such as Boggle and Scrabble encourage your kids to solve problems and put emphasis on sounding words, which is extremely beneficial.
The great thing about these games is that you involve your family 👪 in them and even download a mobile version to play with on road trips and vacations.
Sound Scavenger Hunt
Assigning my children 🧒 a scavenger hunt before bedtime has helped me get rid of their excess energy at night and engage them in a fun yet educational activity.
Scavenger hunts, like the sound scavenger hunts, engage your child’s observational skills, analytical skills, and problem-solving skills.
To play the game, pick a letter 🔡 or a sound like ‘T’ and ask your child to find items that start with that letter in under 20 minutes. The child with the most items wins a prize.
Odd One Out
Odd one out is an activity that can also be referred to as phoneme categorization, a part of phonological awareness. To play the game on three flashcards, write three different words.
On two of the cards, write two words that have the same beginning sound, and on the third, write a completely different word. Ask your children 🧒 to pick out the two flashcards with the same beginning.
Rhyme Matching Flashcard Exercise
Give your children 🧒 flashcards with different pictures. Ask them to sort through the flashcards and make rhyming pairs of two to three flashcards. For instance, flashcards with bats and cats are paired together.
Pro tip- Show your children 🧒 how to perform this exercise before starting.
Phoneme Isolation Game
Phoneme isolation involves distinguishing between the initial, middle, and final sounds in the word. Give your children 🧒 flashcards with pictures. First, ask them to sort through the flashcards and pick which flashcards have the same initial sound.
Follow it up with middle and final sounds. For instance, the words book 📕 and cook have the same middle and final sound. On the other hand, the words there and that have the same initial sound.
Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
Say a pair of words and ask the children 🧒 whether both the words rhyme, have the same initial, middle, or final sound, or have the same number of syllables.
Ask them these questions one by one and instruct them to indicate whether the above-mentioned statements are true or false with a thumbs up👍 or thumbs down 👎.
Read Books Out Loud
Reading books out loud is extremely beneficial for children 🧒 because that way, whenever they mispronounce a word, you can correct them and show them the right way to do the same.
Guess The Right Word
On a piece of paper, make a list of words that your child can recognize easily but with noticeable spelling errors. Instruct them to encircle the mistake and correct it subsequently.
In summation, phonological awareness activities are a helpful and vital tool for fostering literacy skills among children 🧒. As a parent and as an educator, these activities have been immensely rewarding as I get to witness the progress in my children’s reading and comprehension skills.
With the help of phonological awareness activities, you, as a parent 👪 and a teacher, are not only promoting oral language skills but also vocabulary development and reading abilities.
By engaging my children 🧒 in activities involving phoneme segmentation, blending, and isolation, I recognized that they showed proficiency when it came time to decode unfamiliar words and try to spell them accurately.
Hopefully, these phonological awareness activities can inspire you and take an active role in your child’s development. Let us know in the comments down below which activities were your favorite.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.