When it comes to introducing ending sound activities, kids may feel a little out of their element. For so long, they've been taught phonics with a focus on beginning sounds. "B is for ball!" Now we start telling them that there is an "l" in ball, and they get all discombobulated.
Here are the tips, tricks, and best ending sound activities that I use to teach my own kids and my kindergarten students. These hands-on activities really make the sounds click and stick in their brains. Plus, the best part is...they're super fun and easy to prep.
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This might seems like a no brainer to us, but kids are not aware that there is a beginning, middle, and ending to each word. This concept of a word being a visual thing, rather than just something you say, can really confuse children.
When I set out to teach ending sounds, I always begin by showing my kindergartners the word as three parts. This is often known as using Elkonin boxes, a visual reading strategy to help kids understand the word as made up of separate sounds.
Using the Elkonin visual, I help children segment words into the phonemes, aka sounds, they're made from, and point to each box. By attaching a visual, many light bulbs suddenly go off.
A second strategy for teaching ending sounds, is to speak like a whale, from "Finding Nemo." Elongate the word, and when you hit that last sound, make it super clear: GOOOAAATTTTTTTT. As I do this, I pretend I'm visually pulling a word, as if it were a piece of bubblegum, with the ending sound landing in the palm of my hand. Then I ask, "What sound was here, at the end?"
Stretching the word and asking the kindergartners for the sound (instead of the letter) allows them to work on hearing the ending sound without knowledge of letters yet. This strategy builds an umbrella of skills called phonemic awareness, the understanding that words are made up of sounds.
More than anything, I know kids learn best by having fun. So I try to bring the ending sound activities to life through games, imagination, and when possible, movement!
Remember those Elkonin boxes, I mentioned? They can be used to represent sounds or letters, and this muffin pan activity will help kids really visualize the ending sound of each word.
Turning your muffin pan sideways, you now have three perfect sections to help segment each word. This muffin pan game works best with CVC words (that means consonant, vowel, consonant) and you can even find the printable CVC picture cards right here.
These are the alphabet letters we love for teaching phonics. They're magnetic, and the vowels are red which especially helps for teaching middle sounds.
Set up your words, so that only the ending letters are missing. Saying the sounds of the beginning and middle sound, help your kindergartner listen for the missing final sound.
We have played this game for beginning and ending sounds, and it's got to be one of my all-time favorites. Kids always go gaga for this game.
The Toy Thief has stolen some items from around the house that need to be rescued. Now, to teach ending sounds with this game, you must be rather intentional with the objects you choose. For example, an elephant toy, has an obvious ending sound: t. But do you know the ending sound of horse? It's not "e." It's "s."
Write the phonetic ending sounds of each word on a piece of paper, and hide the toys. We used blue tape to hang them on our door, but you can also trap them under a laundry basket or hide them in different drawers. Be creative!
Have the kindergartener in your life rescue the toy and match them to their correct ending sound. Remember, it's about hearing the sound at the end of the word, not necessarily the letter. Tarantula would NOT be an "a," it would be the "uh" sound which goes with "u." Grown ups, I know you can do this! Haha!
This game requires barely 3 minutes of prep and also strengthens kids' hand muscles while they play. So let's build those fine motor skills and learn about ending sounds at the same time!
Choose a basket or a pan, and get out some blue tape. Make some overlapping lines over the top of the container so that there are multiple individual sections. In each small section, place a letter that is a common ending sound. I recommend using: g, n, m, p, d, s, r, l, k.
Give your kindergarteners salad tongs or these kid friendly pincers and have them rescue the letter that ends each word you call out: bag, soon, mom, hop, bed, gas, star, bell, sock, etc.
If you're playing this in small groups in a classroom, it would be great fun for the kids to create their own blue tape webs to reduce the prep for you.
This one is quick but effective. Place 3 Post-its notes on a table in front of each kiddo. Have the children clearly print the letters "D," "N," and "K" on them. I like to use 3 very different sounding letters to make it the easiest to discern.
Call out words that end with only those sounds and have the kids SMACK the matching ending sound in front of them.
Want to use those letters for the activity? Perfect. Just call out these words:
Can, Kick, Sad, Bed, Soon, Fine, Pack, Ten, Kid, Sick, Quack, Pen, Red, Fun, Lick, Kitten, Jade, Stick, Bird, Salad.
Invite your child to toss a bean bag at a group of objects. Where does it land? Say the word, and stretch out the word. What sound did you hear at the end?
If you have got a kid that has a lot of energy, this is a great game that incorporates a physical aspect. Kids get excited for their turn to throw the bean bag, and you can't lose. Everything has an ending sound! It's simple but effective.
In this ending sounds activity, everyone wins. This set of BINGO boards all have the same pictures but in different spots. This way, kids aren't copying off one another but still get the joy of always finding a match.
You'll need either magnetic letters or write the following letters out on index cards: D, D, G, M, N, N, P, T, T
Each time the kids match the letter to the picture, they can use stickers or BINGO chips to cover up the picture.
The most fun way to set up the game is to put each of the ending sounds in an envelope or even in plastic Easter eggs. Have your kiddos choose a letter and find a word that ends with that sound.
Kids will often try to match with beginning sounds, when first learning about ending sounds. When this happens, I use the stretch the word strategy and "hold" the ending sound in my hand. Which sound did you hear at the end?
Now this activity is more challenging than the rest, due to the fact that kids will need to be more independent in isolating ending sounds. So I would do this one after you've tried all the rest of the ending sound activities.
In a bag, place the letters that are common ending sounds: D, M, N, R, T, S. There are more, but those will do! Have a stuffed animal host this challenge. Let the Letter Bear pick a letter out of a bag, and have kids go on a hunt for something in the room that ENDs with that letter. It's a challenge, but wow, doesn't it feel great when they get it?
Of all these ending sound activities, which was your favorite?