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 helps children link the letter with the sound by sorting items that begin with 2 different sounds.

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

  • Song
  • Pictures

Link to resources

Training videos

Phonics from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


At least 2 to 3 weeks to ensure children understand what they have to do and begin to spot the beginning letter of the objects.

How it works

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

What to do in the class

When you have introduced 2 letter sounds to your class you can move them on to sorting them. Put the picture of one letter on one wall and the other letter on the opposite wall. Choose some of the pictures and place them on the corresponding walls. Point out each letter and see if the children can remember what sounds they make. Explain to the children that they will have to find their cards on one of the 2 walls. They have to see which sound their object begins with.

Give each child a small card. Ask the parents to point out the letter on the card and ask them what sound it makes and where that same letter is in the room. They then find the picture on their cards.

What to do in a nursery setting

Have two buckets or other containers with a letter stuck to each. Explain to the children that we are going to sort out the words into the two bins depending on the letter they begin with. Hold up the first card, as the children to say the word with you. Ask to put their hands up if they think it should go in one bin then the other. Place the card into the correct bin emphasising that it needs to go in that bin, because it begins with a ‘letter sound’.


You could used real objects instead of cards if you prefer.