With Take 10 to Play, brought to you with LEGO® DUPLO®, you can discover 10 brilliant 10-minute games to play with your child. Each game is specially designed to boost early learning, and to help you and your child create and connect together – for a smile-filled session of family fun.
This game is great for helping your child reinforce their working memory by matching sounds to (noisy) objects they know. It also boosts their vocabulary – by learning to say the names of the objects – and develops their categorizing skills – noisy things, things that make car noises, things that make animal noises and so on…
Here’s how to play Sound Bingo
What you’ll need:
- A4 paper
- wax crayon or felt tip
If you have LEGO® DUPLO® animals and/or vehicles, you can trace around them to help you draw the bingo card more easily.
How to play
- Take a piece of paper and use your ruler to divide it into 6 sections.
- In each of the 6 sections, draw a different ‘noisy’ object or animal that your child would recognise – for example, a lion, a car, a mouse.
- Give your child the paper and a wax crayon or felt tip.
- When you call out the noise of 1 of the objects in the grid, your child has to identify what it is and mark the correct object on their paper.
- When they’ve marked all the objects, they win!
Extra ways to play Sound Bingo – for extra learning!
- Have more noisy objects/animals to listen for
- Play with more than 1 child (or with your child and another adult) and give each person a different set of objects/animals to listen for. Who’s going to shout Bingo first?
- Ask your child to pretend to be or play or use the object/animal they’re hearing – so ‘walk like a cow’ or ‘drive a car’
5 more ideas for sound-based games and activities to teach toddlers to talk, from educational psychologist Naomi Burgess
1. Sing animal songs – with cards and masks
The classic animal song that children from toddlers to older ones really love is Old Macdonald. It has a memorable tune and animal sounds! And kids love it because it’s repetitive – and they can sing it loud.
To make it more fun, you could have cards with animals on, which you can take it in turns to select for each other (you can use bought or hand-drawn cards).
You can then sing and leave out the name of the animal – like this: “Old Macdonald had a farm, E-aye, E-aye, oh, And on that farm he had some… E-aye, E-aye, oh, With an oink oink here, and an oink oink there” – and then ask your child which animal you were singing about by getting them to point out the correct picture card.
To take it a step further, how about making some animal masks? Little ones could have help putting them on and bigger ones could do it themselves.
With all these variants, your child will be developing so many different skills in addition to simply singing along.
Other animal songs to sing together
- Incey Wincey Spider
- We Went to the Animal Fair
- Alice the Camel
Why playing sound games with your child matters
We communicate with our children from a young age – we know their smiles, grimaces and gestures – and at some point, their accompanying babble will turn into recognisable sounds and you believe you can hear word – quite an exciting time!
At first there will be some nouns, as they point to what they want or what they want to share. Then you will begin to hear 2 or 3 utterances joined together, and hey presto! their spoken language explodes – and with it they seem to have acquired all the syntax or grammar that underlies our language system.
We spontaneously play games that involve sound with our children. We sing, we dance, we read, we play animals with animal noises, we liisten to music, and many other games too.
While we do all of this naturally, it is also important to know that these games are vital – not only for learning to talk but for language in the broadest sense.
That’s because language underpins so much of our existence. It helps with:
- processing emotion
- sharing excitement
- asking questions
- answering questions
- describing observations
- reading and writing
And, the more we do of all this, the more our language skills and abilities grow. It’s organic, it’s dynamic and it is one of the best gifts we can give our children.
2. Play rhythm games with pots, pans and shakers
Language has rhythm and rhythm is important for music, for dancing, for cadence in speech, for hearing words accurately, and for reading and spelling.
You don’t need to buy anything to play rhythm games. Start simply by filling small containers with things such as lentils, beads, dried beans, and items which make soft noises or loud noises.
Initially your child or you can just shake them. You can have 2 the same if you like, so they can copy. As they understand more, you can shake the containers as you listen to tunes, or sing or hum your own songs and do the rhythms.
Think of something like Ring A Ring of Roses, or Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, and just hum the tune and shake your container.
It will come quite naturally. If you want to make it more complicated, you can begin shaking the container a bit louder on some beats. Just enjoy it!
When you want to graduate from simple containers, you might want to begin making a little kitchen band. A couple of pan lids, a wooden spoon on a pan, and before you know it you can be playing together or with different parts.
3. Make siren noises with fire engines and police cars
Children love the exciting sounds of fire engines and police cars and, as soon as you put a toy one of these in your child’s hands, it’s a sure-fire bet they’ll be making siren noises.
And there are some really nice toys out there that actually make these noises, too, including the LEGO DUPLO Fire Engine. It has a fabulous fire kit with people and accessories: all you have to do is press the little siren on the fire engine.
There’s a fab fire station in the LEGO DUPLO range, too. Add any other vehicles you want to these and your child can invent their own adventure – making all the choo-choo, whooshing and nee-nah noises they want to along the way.
4. Read a favourite story – and let your child join in
Children love poems and stories that have repetition. Two of the best-known ones are Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo.
Children also love rhyme – and for that you can’t beat any of the Dr Seuss books. That predictability and the ability for them to hear and manipulate rhyme is crucial to reading.
Choose a book from one we’ve suggested here or find your own. Read it out loud (with as much expression as possible!) and make up some actions as you go. Get your child to do the actions and join in on the bits that are repeated (“We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a BIG one”, for example).
They’ll become firm favourites that will stick in your child’s mind for a long time to come.
5. Move, point and clap with action songs
There are lots of fun action songs, where all you need is your body. The classic one of course is Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.
As well as getting your child to use the words, singing this song helps them with learning body parts, too, and is also great for coordination and repetition.
Don’t forget the silent rounds, where you don’t say each body part in turn – starting with head, then shoulders, then knees, then toes. And just watch as you all get caught out on those!
Other actions songs to do:
- The Wheels on the Bus
- If You’re Happy and You Know it (Clap your Hands)
These might sound like simple suggestions but the reason these songs have been popular for so long is because kids love joining in with them. The words are simple and the tunes are catchy which means your child will pick them up easily – and you can sing them all day….
About our expert
Naomi Burgess is an educational psychologist, a registered practitioner with the Health Professions Council and a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society