Sound Bags

 Aim of the game:

It’s not uncommon for preschool children to still say some unclear words or have difficulty with particular sounds. Before children can learn to say speech sounds correctly and use these in sentences, they need to learn to hear the sounds and how other people say words. Sound Bags is a fun and simple way to help your child to start to listen for speech sounds in words and if they’re ready, they may even have a go at saying them.


 What you will need:

  A bag, pillowcase or box. This is to put all of the toys or items in.

  A collection of toys or objects that begin with the sound or sounds you want to focus on. Below are some suggestions

‘s’ items
‘f’ items
‘k/c’ items


‘sh’ items
‘p’ items
‘t’ items



  Be careful with words that start with two consonants (e.g. ‘spider’ or ‘plate’), we call these consonant clusters and they are much harder for children to learn say. It’s best to leave these out for the time being.

Real objects are always better with young children but you can’t find the real objects at home, we’ve have pictures for all the speech sounds available to download form our Therapy Centre.


 How to play:

  • Introduce the game by telling your child you’re going to play a listening game called Sound Bags.
  • It’s best to choose just one sound to focus on first, so in this example we’ll use ‘s’.
  • Fill the bag with items that begin with the ‘s’ sound and a few which don’t. Tell your child that you’re going to listen to see if there is a ‘s’ sound at the beginning of the word.
  • Let your child take an item out the bag. You say what they’ve found and help them to listen for the sound at the beginning. For example. “Sock! You’ve found a sock. Can you hear a ssss sound at the beginning of sssock? Let’s listen. Ssock” Slightly stress the sound at the beginning at first to help them to hear it.
  • If they can’t hear the sound at first, that’s ok this is a new skill for them. Repeat it again, and if they still can’t hear it exaggerate it a little more for them. For example, “Let’s listen again, ssssock”.
  • There should be a few rogue items in your bag that don’t begin with ‘s’. For example, “Cup! You’ve found a cup. Does that have a ssss sound at the beginning, let’s listen. Cup”. Wait for your child’s response and if they guess wrong the that’s ok, repeat again but this time say “I can’t hear a ssss sound, that’s a different sound, a ‘k’ for cup”.
  • The game is over when you’ve take all of the items out of the bag.


 Remember! You are introducing you child to speech sounds and not letters of the alphabet. When working with speech sounds we say them as their pure sound rather than their letter name. For example, the letter name for ‘s’ is “ess” but as a speech sound we say “sss” like the snake sound. For advice and examples of how to say speech sounds click here.


 How to extend:

  • Add in different sounds and see if your child can sort them into piles according to their initial sound. From the single sound move on to two different sounds (e.g. ‘s’ versus ‘t’) and then you could even move on to three different sounds (e.g. ‘s’ versus ‘t’ versus ‘k’). Start of with sounds that are really different and distinct from each other and then as your child gets better and better at listening you could try putting similar sounds in the bag (e.g. ‘s’ versus ‘sh’ or ‘t’ versus ‘k’).
  • Instead of preparing the bag with items, go around your home together trying to find items that begin with your target sound.
  • Play this game with friends or other family members so your child learns to wait and take turns. Make a few ‘accidental’ errors and see if your child notices and can help you hear the correct sound.



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