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

Overview and benefit

This unit focuses on just a few different initial sounds in this phonics element. The sounds have been chosen because they start lots of words which young children will recognise. For example ‘b’ was chosen as it starts words like ball, balloon, bat, bowl, bath, bubble – all objects children can relate to and which are easy to represent pictorially. On the other hand ‘i’ was not chosen (although it features in Jolly Phonics stage 1 group of words), as it does not begin many words that children will recognise (igloo, iguana, India, indigo etc) and unlike Synthetic Phonics, we are not teaching children to blend sounds. This activity introduces children to a single sound and letter through a fun game where they find items beginning with the letter.

NOTE – it is essential that you sound the phoneme (letter sound) purely and correctly. When we say a sound we often accidentally add an ‘er’ sound to the end which is not correct. Please check out the Oxford Owl website and watch the video and listen to how the sounds should be made before you begin.


Equipment required

  • Pictures

Link to resources

Training Videos

Phonics from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


Two to six weeks

How it works

Choose a sound to focus on from: b, c, h, f, m, p, r, s, t, w

What to do in the class

This activity works in the same way as Animal Snap, but all the items have the same starting sound. Place the large pictures (which have the letter on) around the room. When you introduce the activity, show the children the letter and recap its name and the sound it makes. Explain they will see that letter on all the pictures around the room as they all begin with the same sound.

Give each child one of the small pictures which also has the letter on. Ask the parents to help their child identify the item and the starting sound. Then they help the child find the corresponding picture on the wall. When they find it the parent should say the name of the object emphasising the first letter and point out again the letter.

After a week or two, you could introduce a few items that don’t start with the same sound. Explain to the children that if they get an item that doesn’t belong, they should throw it in the ‘bin’ (a container in the middle of the room). Some children may spot that their items don’t start with the right sound straight away, and they can bin them immediately. Others will need to try and find the matching wall picture and it will only be when they realise it’s not there that their parents can point out the different sound.

What to do in a nursery setting

This activity needs to be amended to make it similar to the Let’s go Shopping activity when used in a nursery. Give each child a card to hold, some cards will be the ones on your shopping list and some should have a different sound (about 3 or 4). With the children seated around you, show them your ‘shopping list’. Get the children to say each of the items on the list with you and point out the starting sound and it’s corresponding letter. Next call the first item on the shopping list and ask the children who are holding that item to come and put it in the bag. Continue with the remaining items. Ask which children have not put anything in the bag, look at their cards and say the words so that the children can hear these words have a different start sound to the chosen letter that week.