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Speech Sound Activities

Learning the speech sounds of English is a gradual process, and there can be variation between children in the order specific sounds are acquired. Below are some activities that you can do with your child to help develop their speech sounds;

Use the sound pictures that your child’s therapist has provided, or phonics pictures that your child uses at school (e.g. Read, Write Inc, Jolly Phonics). You could ask your child’s class teacher for a photocopy of the phonic system they use.

*Click here* to download a sheet with example words on to use in the activates below.

  • Feely bag - put a selection of sound/phonics pictures into a feely bag. Encourage your child to take the pictures out of the bag one at a time for you to say.

    Hidden pictures - once your child is familiar with the sound/phonics pictures, you could display 2 or 3 of the sound/phonics pictures around the room. As you say the speech sound, encourage your child to find the correct picture. Your child may enjoy earning swords for pop up pirate, bricks to build a tower, or putting the sounds in a post box or bag.

    Alternatively, you could encourage your child to throw a ball or beanbag on to the sound they hear. If your child shows some difficulty identifying the correct sound you could make this a little easier to start with by making the speech sound louder as they get nearer/quieter
    as they move away.

    Jigsaws - hide a piece of jigsaw under each sound/phonics picture. You say a sound and when your child points to the correct sound/phonics picture, he/she can put the piece in the jigsaw. Another piece can then be hidden in its place.

    Spot that sound - put one sound picture in front of your child. Say a range of sounds (e.g. ‘m’, ‘d’, ‘p’, ‘l’, ‘s’) and each time he or she hears the sound in front of them, they put a brick on a tower, or colour in a bit of the picture etc.

  • Once children are able to identify sounds on their own, they are ready to progress to listening to sounds at the beginning of words.

    Try to avoid words with two consonants at the beginning, such as star, plane, frog etc. Instead use words where the consonant is followed by a vowel sound, such as
    hat, fish, or cut. At this level, you are saying a word and your child has to find the sound/phonics picture for the sound they heard at the beginning of the word (e.g. pen = ‘p’; sock = ‘s’).

    Try the activities below to help support awareness of the first sounds in words; 

    • Running - stick 2 or 3 different sound/phonics pictures on the wall. You say a word and your
      child has to run to the sound they hear at the beginning of the word.
    • Sorting – gather some objects or pictures and sort them by their beginning sound (e.g. p – pen,
      pig; f – fox, finger, four).
    • Odd one out - look at 3-4 pictures or objects with your child and talk about the names of the items (e.g. ‘pig’, ‘peg’, ‘pen’, ‘cat’). Encourage your child to identify the sounds at the beginning of the words. Which picture is the odd one out?
    • Crafts - children often find it fun to engage in craft activities. Using just a few sounds at the beginning of words, you could create a poster or scrap book together (e.g. words starting with ‘d’, words starting with ‘s’).
    • Matching - place a variety of objects or pictures on the table (begin by making sure these only start with 2 or 3 different sounds, for example ‘d,’ ‘f’ and ‘k’). Take it in turns to find two pictures that start with the same sound.
    • Sound hunt - give your child 2 pictures that start with the same sound. Encourage your child to identify the sound at the beginning of the words. Next, ask them to find another word that begins with the same sound. For example, if you showed them a picture of a bike and a bat, they may come up with a word such as ‘ball.’

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Norfolk & Waveney Speech & Language Therapy Service by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 


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