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Mystery Sound Boxes

Mystery sound boxes-01


  • shoeboxes
  • several items all beginning with the same sound (such as a toy car, stuffed cat,
  • empty can, miniature kite, and a carrot for the /k/ sound)


What to do

1. Fill several shoeboxes with a few items all beginning with the same sound. For example, place a bug, stuffed bear, small bag, banana, and a ball in a box for the /b/ sound; put a toy fish, the number four, a fan, and stuffed fox in a box for the /f/ sound.

2. Gather the children in a circle and place a box of items in the center.

3. Tell the children they are going to play a game to find out what sound all of the objects in the box have in common. Explain that they will work together as a detective team.

4. Ask a child to take an item out of the box and name it out loud.

5. Ask the children to think about the sound at the beginning of the word. You may wish to repeat the word, emphasizing the beginning sound.

6. After three children have presented clues, all can offer guesses. If more clues are needed, continue letting children remove objects and guessing after each choice.

7. The game continues until the sound is discovered or all items are displayed.

Note: A variation is to find final sounds or medial sounds within words. An extra challenge might be to insert one odd object having a different target sound and have the children investigate the difference.


-Kate Ross, Middlesex, VT

Book: The GIANT Encyclopedia Of Learning Center Activities For Children 3 to 6
Center: Library/Book/ ABC Center
Topic: Letters/Sounds/Words
Content: Expressive Language
Area: Cognitive
Age: 3 through 4 Years Old
Interaction: Individual Child

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