Syllable Awareness: 10 Playful Syllable Activities for Your Kids


Are you curious how syllable and phonological awareness can help young kids develop reading skills? Let’s take a look at what syllable awareness is and why it’s important for young learners. We’ll give you some ideas for teaching syllable awareness, and even provide a list of activities to help your kiddos learn to break words apart in a fun way.

Syllable awareness activities for kids:  10 playful ways to break words into syllables.

So get ready to start exploring the world of syllables!

What is Syllable Awareness?

Phonological awareness involves recognizing and manipulating the spoken parts of sentences and words, and it is an important stepping stone to learning to read. Examples of phonological awareness include identifying words that rhyme, recognizing alliteration, segmenting a sentence into words, identifying the syllables in a word, and recognizing and blending phonemes.

A teacher asking a question about what is syllable awareness

Syllable awareness is a key part of developing phonological awareness as it involves understanding how oral language can be divided into smaller components or chunks.

Why is Syllable Awareness Important?

Syllable awareness is important because understanding that words are made up of sounds is essential for children as it helps them learn to read.

When Can I Start Teaching Syllable Awareness?

You can begin laying the foundations for phonological awareness and “playing” with words at an early age. During the preschool years, children’s phonological awareness begins to accelerate, and it’s totally appropriate to teach kids how to break words into syllables.

The best part is that dividing words into chunks is that it can be done in a very fun and playful way.

How Can I Teach Syllable Awareness?

Introduce syllable awareness to young kids in a fun and interactive way. One of the best ways is through clapping syllables or “beats” in words.

For more details, be sure to check out my article about clapping syllables.

With a little practice, your kids will be able to recognize that words can be broken down into syllables.

Syllable Activities for Kids

Now that you understand what syllable awareness is, why it’s an important skill, and how to teach it, let’s look at some fun syllable activities for kids.

These fun activities provide a great way to practice syllable awareness by breaking words apart, emphasizing syllables, and counting syllables

Clapping Syllable Activities

Syllable awareness activities for kids:  Clapping syllables.

As I mentioned above, one of the easiest ways to emphasize and count syllables is to clap them.  Once your kids get the hang of clapping syllables, you can find all kinds of opportunities for syllable clapping and counting activities. Here are some syllable clapping activity ideas.

Syllable Clapping Activities with Names

It’s no secret that name activities are incredibly motivating for kids. So, be sure to clap out and count the syllables in your kids’ names.

Say a child’s name slowly while emphasizing the different syllables.  Show children how to clap their hands for each syllable.  Soon, they will understand that Collin is a two-clap name and Joanna is a three-clap name.

Syllable Clapping Activities with Books

As you read books to kids, stop and clap the syllables of the characters in the story.  This multi-sensory activity is also a great way to emphasize unusual or new words in books.

Syllable Clapping Activities with Clip Cards

Kids can also clap the words that they find on word or picture cards or environmental print.

syllable counting clip cards to use for a syllable awareness activity for kids

The Syllable Counting Clip Cards above are from my TPT store. Kids can select the number of syllables (claps) in the word on each card.  You can use name cards, picture cards, or even a basket of objects.  Ask kids to clap the syllables for each object or picture and sort them by the number of claps.

Emphasizing Syllables with Dancing Ribbons

While clapping syllables is fun, there are many other ways to segment words. Get out a dancing ribbons so your children can wave or shake them as they say different words. If you don’t have dancing ribbons, a piece of crepe paper will work too.

child using dancing ribbons for a syllable awareness activity

Dividing Words Into Syllables by drumming

Small drums can be used to break words apart.  If you don’t have an actual drum….no problem.  Use an upside-down bucket with a stick, a wood block with a stick, or use two rhythm sticks.

Child using sand pail and sticks as a drum for a syllable awareness activity

Your students will have fun experimenting with different kinds of drums.  I love the idea of using a pumpkin as a drum while counting the syllables in fall and Halloween-themed words.  Now my wheels are turning as I start thinking about other items children can drum.

Syllable Activities for kids: Pumpkin drumming.

Use Shakers & Instruments to Teach Syllable Awareness

Tambourines, bells, and shaky eggs are a fun way to break words apart.  Show your kiddos how to shake their instruments with every syllable in a word.

Egg shakers and syllable picture cards in a basket to be used for syllable awareness activities

Make DIY Shakers for Syllable Practice

Fill plastic containers with different materials.  Kids can shake the containers to see how they each sound and weigh differently.  They can also use the containers to emphasize syllables.

Make homemade shakers to use for  syllable awareness activities

Make a DIY Instrument to use for syllable activities

Use the bells in your instrument basket or make your own jingle bell sticks to use for wordplay.

jingle bell sticks and syllable picture cards to use for syllable awareness activities

Pounding Syllables

This is a good reason to gather hammers from the toy toolbox or the Whack-a-mole game.  Children can pound their hammers for each syllable in a word.

girl using a toy hammer for syllable awareness activities for kids

Pool Noodles for Phonological Awareness Activities

Another great idea for counting syllables is to use two pool noodles.  Cut the pool noodles into smaller sections and let kids pound them together.

Use Puppets to Teach Syllable Segmentation

Use puppets to help read a book.  Pick out a few words from the book to see how many claps the words have. Tell your kids to focus on the puppet’s mouth as it says the word. They will see the mouth open and close with each segment of the word.

A blue puppet to use for syllable segmentation and syllable awareness activities

Syllable Action Activities

When you use movement to emphasize syllables, kids can learn AND get their wiggles out at the same time.  Ask kids to do the following as they emphasize or count syllables in words:

  • jump up and down
  • tap their toes, march
  • do jumping jacks
  • give a high five to their friend
  • touch their elbow to their knee
  • tap their head

You can make a game of it by letting kids select the action and/or the word.

A syllable game with an action spinner and syllable picture cards to use for syllable awareness activities

The action spinner above is a great way to select an action.  It can be found in my Seasonal Syllable Counting Activity Set in my TPT store.

I hope this gave you some great ideas for dividing words into syllables.  Now, you and your kids can go out and have fun playing with words.

Purchase The Printables Today

Are you ready to work on developing phonological awareness with your kids? You can purchase printable syllable activities the store. Click on the pictures below to purchase them today 

Purchase on TPT

Do you prefer to shop at Teachers Pay Teachers? You can also purchase the syllable activity printables in my TPT Store.

More Phonological Awareness ideas