Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

From the start babies use sounds to communicate – starting with crying then moving to cooing. As they experiment and play with making other sounds, they are strengthening the muscles in their face and mouths ready to learning speech. Babies should be encouraged to make a variety of sounds and it helps them to repeat the same sounds over and over. Older children benefit from playing with sounds as they prepare to learn letter sounds and blends. This activity is designed to allow children to make different animal sounds encouraging the early formation of the sounds that often precede speech.

Equipment required

  • Relevant guess the sounds
  • Relevant pictures


Two to three weeks

How it works

Children are shown a picture of an animal and respond by making the sound of the animal.

Training Video

Animal Noises-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

What to do in the class

This activity is designed to encourage children to make different animal sounds and makes use of the pictures from the ‘Guess the Sound’ activity. Have the children in a circle and sing this little rhyme (sung to Farmers in the Dell) to get them ready:

What shall we be?
What shall we be?
What shall we be today?
We shall we be?

Can you see?
This is what we’ll be?
Show me the noise it makes
One, two, three.

Hold up a picture of an animal and make a corresponding animal sound. Encourage the children to make the sound back to you. Repeat the song with a different animal. The aim is to get children making a range of vocal noises – the noise doesn’t have to be accurate to the animal!

Adaptation for older children

This activity could be done actively. Put the pictures of the animals around the walls and as you all sing the rhyme, move from one picture to the other. You could also do actions of the animals as you are all doing the noises to make it more fun.

What to do in a nursery setting

No adaptation necessary


Animal pictures and sounds that you could use:

  • Bee – buzzzz
  • Cat – meow
  • Chick – cheep
  • Cockerel – cook a doodle do
  • Cow – moo
  • Crow – caw
  • Dog – woof
  • Frog – ribbit
  • Geese – honk
  • Chicken – cluck
  • Cuckoo – cuck – coo
  • Donkey – hee haw
  • Duck – quack
  • Horse – neigh
  • Monkey – oo oo ooo
  • Pig – oink
  • Sheep – baaa
  • Snake – sssss
  • Tiger – roar
  • Whale – eeeeeoooiii (think of Dory trying to speak ‘whale’ in finding nemo