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 through a song.

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

  • Generic song
  • Pictures

Link to resources

Training video

Phonics Song F-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Phonics from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


Up to six weeks

How it works

Choose a sound to focus on. Sing the song and introduce the children to the pictures of different objects which begin with that sound

What to do in the class

Explain to the adults in the group that the song will be used for the children to start to explore phonics and the making the sounds of letters. The pictures will also introduce the children to the shape of each letter which the children will learn to recognise with lots of repetition. There are two options at presentation, seated and active. For the active version pictures for the song should be placed on the walls around the room to allow them to be seen and pointed to during the song. Once the song has finished, consolidate the learning by asking the children to find certain things, for example, ‘where are the sausages?’ When the required item is found, practice saying the word again encouraging the children to join in and emphasising the phoneme. Point out the words all begin the letter in the song, for example with the ‘sssss’ sound.

There is one generic song to be use with all the letter sounds. The song has a sung chorus, but has space for you on the verses to use what ever words you have chosen and in any order.

Sing the song seated:

Sit in a large circle. Show the class the letter you are focusing on and say its name. Ask children if the know what sound it makes – tell them and encourage them to make the sound with you. Sing the song whilst still seated. Use your sound picture cards to show the children what they are singing about, e.g. when the song talks about the sss sound show the ‘S’ card, when it talks about sausages, show the picture of the sausages.

Sing the song actively:

Place each of the pictures from each verse on different walls. So place the large pictures of the first 4 objects on one wall, along with a picture of the letter, then the next 4 objects on the next wall etc. Show the class the letter you are focusing on and say its name. Ask children if the know what sound it makes – tell them and encourage them to make the sound with you. Explain you are going to sing a song about words begin with that sound. Sing the chorus of the song as a standing group, showing the letter. On each verse move to each wall and point out the objects, accentuating the starting sound and the letter. On the chorus do a little dance to the next wall.

What to do in a nursery setting

The seated version of the activity will work better in a nursery setting


To extend the learning, once children are familiar with the pictures and the fact that the words begin with the same sound, you can emphasis the sound further by adding an alliterative description, such as ‘sizzling sausages’ or ‘ bouncing balls’.