Play the Rounds of Sounds Game

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Have You Heard?

For early readers, the printed page is so tantalizing. Kids can see words they know, interspersed with ones that have them stumped. It can be a challenge for parents: while you don't want to discourage your child with books that are too hard, you also want to help him stretch his “decoding” skills so that when he does run into new words, he's ready to take them on. Here's a kindergarten activity that teaches this skill, wrapped into a cute take-anywhere game.  

What You Need:

  • Nothing — just a kid who's learning phonics

What You Do:

  1. Remember that old chant, “Concentration!” (snap, snap) “Are you ready?” (snap, snap), “If so…” (snap, snap), Let’s go!” (snap, snap)… This game has a major educational component—it works on beginning sounds, but kids love to play it. Why? Giving games rhythm makes them more fun, not to mention, challenging.
  2. In the game Rounds of Sounds, you’ll clap your hands, snap your fingers, or slap your knees to a slow beat. Then, after you’ve set your rhythm, say these words: I’m thinking of the ______sound/Now let’s try a round/Ready/Set/Go!
  3. You can substitute any blend into the rhyme, whether it be sh, oa, ing, ee, or fr. It’s your pick! Let’s say you chose the sh sound. First, you’d explain to your child that you’re going to go back and forth coming up with sh words. The sh can be any part of the word, beginning, middle, or end. So words like brush, mushy, and shut are all possibilities.
  4. Set your rhythm, and try it. Here’s how a sh round might sound:
  5. I’m thinking of the SH sound/Now let’s try a round./Ready, Set, Go!


    (Wait about 4 beats and then point to your child)

    CHILD: Shout!

    (Wait 4 beats)

    PARENT: Shin!

    (Wait 4 beats)

    CHILD: Shampoo!

    (Wait 4 beats)

    PARENT: Bush!

    (Wait 4 beats)

    CHILD: Bash!

    (Wait 4 beats)

    PARENT: Pushy!

    (Wait 4 beats)

    CHILD: Mushy!

    (Wait 4 beats)

  6. Keep going with other sounds. You can pick anything you’d like to play this game. Just make sure you set a slow, steady beat when you start, especially when introducing a new sound. Take this game outside, to a party, or on the road. No supplies needed—just your own two hands, and a child that’s game!
Vanessa Genova DeSantis has been teaching for fourteen years in public and private elementary and middle schools. She's also an educational freelance writer as well as a private tutor for elementary, middle and high school students.

Updated on Apr 21, 2011
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See more activities in: Kindergarten, Phonics
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