Things to remind children to do and to help with good listening

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Phase One Phonics Activities.

Things to remind children to do and to help with good listening.

Five rules of good listening.

1-Good looking- at the person.

2- Fingers still.

3- Lips closed.

4-Ears open.

5-Brain switched on.

Tuning in to listening.

1-Have a toy eg-bear who reminds children what to do with signs for listening etc.

2-Brain Gym-Activities to help switch brain on and stop fidgeting.

3-Sing routine starter rhymes to signal to children that their work session is about to start.

“Come on everybody,

Let’s say hello,

Say hello,

Say hello,

Come on everybody,

Let’s say hello,

Say hello,


“Come on everybody,

Let’s wave goodbye,

Wave goodbye,

Wave goodbye,

Come on everybody,

Let’s wave goodbye,

Wave goodbye,


  1. Listening walk Children walk around different areas to hear what they can hear.

  2. Feely Box Sing to tune of “Old Macdonald has a farm” Child chooses an object inside feely box and makes its sound. Other children guess what it is and sing as a verse of rhyme eg (bell) ‘with a tinkle, tinkle here and a..there, Ali Ali has a box e-i-e-i-o’.
  3. New words to old songs Children sing eg “Twinkle, twinkle little star”, with actions. Then Humm the song as pass around shakers. Use shakers to sing song again but change words to “Shake your shaker in the air, Shake your shaker everywhere, Shake it high and shake it low, Shake it everywhere you go, Shake your shaker in the air, Shake your shaker everywhere.” Children to shake their shakers as sing. Then change words and actions by swishing shaker- sing quietly.

  4. Which instrument? Children are introduced to instruments- names and sounds they can make. Ask eg “How do you use it?” Allow children to explore. Then teacher plays an instrument from behind a screen. The child who has the same instrument picks up their instrument and plays it with teacher. Allow children to hear instruments they don’t have to test listening. Allow child to swap roles with teacher.

  5. Counting Rhymes Children sing and use actions and objects for counting rhymes.

  6. Matching Sound Makers Children have a feely bag with instruments inside. If child hears instrument with same sound as theirs they can play their instrument with teacher. Allow children to change their instruments and choose a different one. Allow children opportunity to play instruments together.

  7. Adjust the volume Clap the syllables in names of instruments eg Tri-an-gle-. Children are introduced to puppets who direct them to play quietly or make a loud sound eg Lion (loud) or mouse (quiet). Children swap role with teacher to show puppet and choose who plays instrument loud/quietly.

  8. Hidden instruments Hide instruments around room/area. Children search for instrument and can play it when they find it eg in the sand!

  9. Action Songs Children sing song to accompany movement of body eg “ Stomp, stomp wellies, Stomp, stomp wellies, Stomp, stomp wellies together.” Change action word to change song. Allow children to choose/demonstrate action/words.

  10. Let’s Dance Sing songs that have dances so children can move their whole bodies. Use fabric/streamers etc to increase movement in the dance. Make up actions to move different body parts.
  11. Guess who? In a small group choose a child to say a selected word/phrase while disguising their voice. Discuss what clues the children used to identify the person.

  12. Not a sound Pass a tambourine around the circle without making a sound. If it can be heard continue passing it round to keep the game moving but praise listening skills and quiet movement.

  13. Let me hear your voice Children experiment with their voices. “Let me hear your singing voice say hello, hello.” Etc. Discuss how useful/important different voices are. Can tell person’s mood etc.

  14. Give me a sound Add sound effects to a story eg a creaky door in “A Dark, Dark Tale.”

  15. Bounce the animal on your knee Children select an animal from a selection. Sing a song about the animal together while child bounces animal s/he chose on his/her knee. “Bounce the penguin, Fun to do, Now it’s time for something new, My turn, Your turn, We can share, My turn, Your turn, Then it’s fair, Bounce the penguin, Fun to do, Now it’s time for something new.” Change animal-change song for each child chosen.

  16. Music Sack Children choose an object from a sack that links to a song eg web so sing “Incey Wincey Spider”. “ It’s a web so which song are we going to sing?

  17. Action songs Children follow teacher’s lead. Choose an action for children to copy eg “Everybody do this,… just like me.” (In/Outside)

  18. Our favourite rhymes Children have a sack of objects that are in a rhyme eg a dolly so sing “Miss Polly had a dolly…”

  19. Catch me out Use a puppet to deliberately say a rhyming word wrong from a familiar rhyme. Discuss how the children can help to find a rhyme word that fits eg. Make the same mouth shape or hear the same end sound.
  20. Rhyming pairs/strings Make up silly rhyming couplets, “I like rice…It’s very nice.” Etc “I like rice, dice, mice, ice.” Etc.

  21. Name play Make alliterative sentences with children’s names eg. Jodie’s jelly is juicy, Kulvinder can count.

  22. Name tap Tap the syllables in names. Clap the rhythm in names. Clap the rhythm of familiar rhymes to help recognise rhythm.

  23. Keep the beat Sing familiar rhymes and encourage children to keep the beat by moving to beat eg. Clapping, stamping etc.

  24. Clapping games Learn to sing and play some simple clapping games eg. “A sailor went to sea, sea, sea…”

  25. Rhyming Soup Use a large bowl and a big spoon. Children have chance to stir spoon in bowl. Explain are going to make a silly soup and all sing song together. “I’m making lots of silly soup, I’m making soup that’s silly, I’m going to cook it in the fridge, To make it nice and chilly.” Children have a tray with objects with simple CVC words that rhyme eg –bat-cat-rat-etc. Each child chooses an object and then says the list of rhyming objects in the bowl. Reinforce vocabulary ‘Rhyme’. Sing song between each choice.

  26. Rhyming Bingo Children have cards with pictures on. Caller has picture cards that are rhymes for children’s pictures eg caller says “boat”, child says if they have a rhyming picture eg “coat- boat”. Cards can have words on with highlighted initial/end rhyme.

  27. Odd one out teacher says what is on picture card eg “Cat-hat-rat, Close your eyes”. Teacher adds card that doesn’t rhyme and says what is on all the cards again. “Which one is the odd one out? Why” eg Children say “Moon doesn’t rhyme with cat-hat-bat.” Etc
  28. Sound Box “What have we got in our sound box today, Our sound box today, Our sound box today, What have we got in our sound box today, Shall we have a look and see.” Sing song together. Ask children to talk about objects from box and the sounds they make eg. Baby toys, clock, doll and slide, snake etc. Model sound and what it looks like. Children use finger to draw sound in air rising up for louder and down for quieter as make sound. Children choose favourite object and demonstrate sound for others to copy.

  29. Sound sack/box As learn each phoneme use object as a mnemonic (memory aid) eg when learning –S- use snake for children to hear and say initial sound and use action as hold object. Sing about it eg “Sound snake is coming to you, coming to you, coming to you, Sound snake is coming to you, Can you do the action?” Pass it round.

  30. Mirror play Look in the mirror to see how mouth moves when saying a sound/phoneme. Link to hearing initial sounds in words. Eg. “D-D-D-Dhaniyal, D-D-D-dog” etc.

  31. Our Sound Bag Sing song to the tune of “What shall we do with the drunken sailor”. “What shall we do with the sound –D-, What shall we do with the sound –D-, What shall we do with the sound –D-, On this (name of day and morn/afternoon), Let’s find words that start with –D-, Let’s find words that start with –D-, Let’s find words that start with –D-, On this (name of day and morn/afternoon).” Pull objects from a bag all beginning with same initial letter you are focusing on. Then sing- “We know dummy starts with D…”etc. As put objects back in bag say the word with emphasis on the initial letter eg “D-D-D-door.”

  32. Mouth movements Teacher models moving mouth in lots of different shapes and ways. Can do this with/out sound effects. Children copy mouth movements to relax and strengthen mouth muscles so can make sounds needed.

  33. Explore sounds Children explore instruments and objects to make as many different sounds in as many different ways.

  34. Shaving foam Children use shaving foam on a board to make marks eg. Lines/swirls.

  35. Writing Children use chalks on the playground, large paper and big felts to explore mark making.
  36. Toy Talk “Stand up and glue your feet to the floor”. Teacher holds large sack. Sing song to the tune of “Old McDonald”. Sing “Old (choose a familiar name with 2 syllables) McFred had a house, E-I-E-I-o…, In that house he had a…” Pull out an object and use a robotic voice to segment the word eg “ c-a-t-“. Children to blend the phonemes to make the word again. “What did he do with the cup?” Use children’s response to continue song eg “With a drink, drink here”etc.

  37. Getting dressed Puppet or toy has to get dressed. Place clothes items infront of children. Explain the toy wants to play a game with the children to help him get dressed so will be using a robot voice to ask for the clothes. Segments the phonemes eg “sh-or-ts”. Children copy robot voice and action then blend phonemes to say the item the puppet wants to put on eg ”shorts”.

  38. Big Sound Book Share a big book with lots of sound effects for the children to join in with. Eg “Rumble in the jungle”. Use a drum to tap a steady beat to each line. Pick out sound effects for children to talk about and copy. Find same initial letter words. Pick out simple words to model segmenting for children to blend. Use talking to your neighbour to allow children opportunity to say what word is before sharing. Pick out and predict rhyming words.

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