The kids are jumping up and down. The whole family is about to leave on vacation. Maybe you are flying to a famous amusement park. Perhaps you are driving several hours or days to visit with Grandma and Grandpa. You can make the trip more fun, AND educational as well, by building phonemic awareness.
What is phonemic awareness?
- The understanding that words are made up of sounds
- The ability to pick out and manipulate sounds in spoken words
Why is phonemic awareness important?
- A key to early reading success along with alphabet recognition
How do we build phonemic awareness?
- By listening to rhymes, rhyming words, poetry, songs and wordplay
Here are seven simple games you can play in the car or on the plane:
- Read poetry and enjoy lots of rhyming stories. When you reread the stories, pause when you come to the matching rhymes and see if your child can ‘fill in the blanks.’
- Play Hink Pink – A Hink Pink is a pair of rhyming words that answer a riddle. For example, a large hog is a Big Pig. For older kids you can play Hinky Pinky (using two syllable words as the answer) a fight over a baby’s toy is a Rattle Battle or Hinkity Pinkity (using three syllable words) such as something frozen in the shape of a riding toy is a bicycle icicle.
- Twist Your Tongue – Have fun with tongue twisters like Silly Sally Skates and Slides and Somersaults or Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers! Help your child to make up silly alliterative sentences.
- Make up an unusual list – ‘I’m going camping and I’m going to pack a bat, a cat, a rat.’ OR ‘I’m going camping and I’m going to pack a sock, a sleeping bag, a soccer ball, and a sandwich. Do you think I will want a sweater or a jacket?’ Ask your child to suggest some more things for your list. Can your child hear how your words work together?
- Play I spy with my little eye, something that begins with /s/ (use the letter sound rather than the letter name)
- Clap to the beat of songs and poems
- Make up word riddles – what starts with /b/ and rhymes with red?
Vivian Kirkfield, BA, MS is a passionate advocate of early childhood education. She believes that with a positive self-image and a love of books, every child can achieve a life of balance, happiness and meaning. To spread the message that reading picture books with children is one of the most important tasks of parenthood, Vivian wrote Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, an award-winning parent-teacher resource that provides 100 classic picture book summaries and a simple craft and recipe for each. She contributes to newspapers, magazines and blogs world-wide at Picture Books Help Kids Soar, writes picture book stories and actively serves the community by providing literacy and self-esteem-building programs for parents, teachers and kids. You can connect with Vivian on Twitter, Facebook, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much, Sarah, for giving me the opportunity to share these tips on building phonemic awareness! It’s a pleasure to work with you…I look forward to strengthening our connection in the future. 🙂 I’ll share this around the social media universe!
Great post, Vivian! I love all these games! It’s so funny because when we were kids we used to play Hink Pink in the car ALL the time, only we called it Hig Pig (which them went to Higgy Piggy and Higgity Piggity :)) but I’ve never met anyone else who knew that game. I should have known you would 🙂
It’s an oldie but a goodie, Susanna…and adults love it as much as the kids do.:)
Wondeful post. Loved the games.
Thanks for stopping over here, Nancy! You are always so encouraging.:)
BTW…we found our house…daughter’s offer was accepted today…inspection is 8/1…closing is 9/13…starting to pack.:)
Loved your game suggestions. Great ideas for parents. We love opera, and used to play a game of singing our coversations to her so she had a sense that opera was about every day life.
Thanks so much for sharing the opera game from your childhood, Pat! Parents often don’t realize what an important impact they are making on their children.:)
OKay, I don’t know where my last comment sneaked off to, so I’m re-typing. This was a great post! I love the games and unlike Susanna, I’ve never heard of Hig Pig. You can be assured I’ll be using this game in my classroom. I’m starting a new classroom for my Practicum. I’m so glad you shared this site with us on Susanna’s, Would You Read It? post. Your rec gives me an opportunity to reconnect with your work on your blog as well. Yaay, Meeee! Again, great post. I’ll be seeing you on your blog and I’ll certainly be connecting on here OFTEN! Thanks again.
Yay YOU! But I don’t know who YOU are.:)
I’m so glad you’ve rediscovered my blog…and I’m happy you found this post of value. Now I have to solve this mystery.:):)
Great piece Vivian! I’m constantly reading your posts and wishing my kids were young again, to share your ideas! I’ll save them for my grandkids, and enjoy them with the wee folks I still interact with, from time to time. Love the idea of playing with phonetics! I think I did that instinctively. 🙂
Hi Dawn…thank you for your kind words…many parents instinctively play games that are fun and educational at the same time. I’m glad you’ll save these ideas for grandchildren.:)
What a great post! Some fun games for a trip – or anytime! My people are always playing word games and number games. It’s dizzying! But a little Rhythm in any situation is a good thing!
A little Rhythm and a little rhyme makes for a fun-filled road trip!!! So glad you stopped by.:) One of our best family road trips was our trip from Connecticut to Colorado when we moved here 17 years ago. My husband and I drove one car and our son and daughter (21 and 17 years old) drove the other with our English Springer Spaniel, Boss. Boss thought he was in heaven because every night we all shared a room at a motel along the way.:)
I like Hinky Pinkys! 😀 Great post!