I have a really awesome list of 9 fun games to teach long vowel sounds. At least that’s what my kids indicate when they beg me to play them. Learning to read is hard work! So if we can make it easier and enjoyable for our students/kids in a way that they will love to learn, then let’s do it! And that was exactly the reasoning behind me coming up with these games.
Learning to read is exhausting for young children. It is actually quite amazing how much their minds are able to take in. And research has proven that the younger a person is, the better they learn. According to Tech Times, learning a language is optimal up to the age of 10. And according to the California Department of Education, they did research that showed birth to age three are the most critical years for development because the child’s brain is working so hard learn and grow.
So, what are those 9 fun games to teach long vowel sounds? Here is the short list:
- Long Vowel Sounds Bee
- Go Fish
- Word Ladder Competition
- Roll a Sound
- Long Vowel Bridge
- Long Vowel Swat
- Phonics Dominos
- Make A Word Soft Touch Long Vowel Word Building Game
While the first 6 games are my own creations, the last 3 can be found easily on Amazon. I will include links–I may make a small commission from those links at no cost to you.
So with that, let’s go ahead and take a look at each of the 9 fun games to teach long vowel sounds in depth.
Table of Contents
Homemade Games to Teach Long Vowel Sounds
Long Vowel Sounds Bee
This is one of my students’ favorite games because they got to be a little bit competitive. This fact also made it a really popular homeschool game. Nothing like some good old fashioned sibling rivalry!
Anyway, you can split your class up into pairs or teams or you can have them compete individually.
This game is literally just a spinoff of a Spelling Bee. You will choose a list of words appropriate for your students’ level and then just go through the list.
You can choose how strict you want your bee to be. For example, you can have them repeat the word back to you before spelling it. And you can allow them to ask any questions before they spell, making sure that they completely understand the word.
You can choose to have a small prize at the end for the team/pair/student that wins. It can be a simple small prize, or it can just be something like line leader for the rest of the day.
Of course, this is the same as the traditional Go Fish Game. The difference is that instead of regular playing cards, you will make 4 each of 13 different long vowel sounds.
You can have students play in groups of 2-4. The only thing is they aren’t allowed to say the letters–they have to sound out the proper long vowel sounds. They will have a great time with this because it is something they are familiar with but it has a fun spin to it.
And you can offer small prizes for the winners of each group. Or you can have one winner by having a play off round with the winners of each group and reward the top winner with a slightly more valuable gift than the group winners.
Word Ladder Competition
For this game, you can have a few (up to 5) students approach the board at a time. Then give them a long vowel sound and 3 minutes to write as many words as they can think of during that time.
Once you have made it through all of the students in your groups, have a final round with the winners of all of the groups.
I started playing this game at first by giving everyone a piece of paper at their desk and having a classroom competition all at once. Then I would do several rounds with different long vowel sounds. Each student gets a lot more practice in this way. But I think that the students felt more like it was a test than a game.
As soon as I started doing the groups on the board method, they instantly fell in love with it and we never went back to the desk version.
Roll a Sound
For this long vowel game, I bought several large dice from my local dollar store. They came in sets of two, so even better!
Then I took them home and glued 6 different long vowel sounds on each die.
In order to play, students gather in a large circle (or multiple circles if you have a classroom assistant that can do a circle too). Then they take turns rolling a die and coming up with a work that is properly spelled with that particular long vowel sound.
To make this game more challenging, you can have them roll two or three dice and try to come up with a silly phrase that uses all of the long vowel sounds they rolled.
Long Vowel Bridge
This is a perfect game to play outside or in the gym. It can help change the scenery a bit for your students and make their day a bit more interesting and less routine.
To prepare for the game you will make 20-30 long vowel sound papers and then laminate them so that when students stand on them they will not be destroyed.
You can repeat several so that you don’t have to try to come up with more long vowel sounds than exist!
How it Plays Out
So the goal here is to have teams build a bridge based on the vowel cards they receive. Once they build a bridge, the rest of their team has to make it over the bridge as well.
It is good to do this with two teams. Then you can keep track of what both are doing at one time. Any more than that and you will become a frazzled teacher!
Have the first two students stand a few feet apart and 15 feet away from you. Then they will each draw from a pile of the vowel sound cards. As soon as they are able to come up with a correct word, they can put down the card and stand on it. Then they do the same thing with the next card, and so on, until they have made it through all of their cards.
You will have enough for up to 15 cards per team. You can do 8 or 10 if you are shorter on time. Whatever works for your class!
Once the first two students have made it through the cards and are at the “other side,” the rest of the students will then come over, jumping onto each card as they have come up with an appropriate word for the card.
The first team to make it all the way across the “bridge” wins.
Long Vowel Swat
This is a fun choice for your students to practice with long vowel sounds because they get to use fly swatters.
You will buy as many fly swatters as you plan to have students playing at one time. Much more than 2 or 3 will cause chaos, so plan accordingly.
Then you will make cards with many words with long vowel sounds. Unless you already have a bunch of cards with long vowel sounds already. Up to 100 is a great number, especially if you play the game a few times through the week.
Spread a bunch of cards (around 25 is good) on the table and give the fly swatters to a couple/few students. Then you will set them around the cards on the table.
Say a vowel sound and then the students will then try to be the first one to find a word using that sound and swat it. They get to keep the card if they are first. The student with the most at the end wins that round.
You can then have all of the winners face of in some play off rounds until you have a final winner. Putting brackets on the board will certainly add to the excitement!
Commercial Games to Teach Long Vowel Sounds
This is a great way to introduce or review long vowel sounds to your students because you can play in several different ways and with different numbers of students.
It is also a great activity for the students to play for indoor recess!
This is a great game for your students to play. It only comes with 7 mats but with 420 cards. So unless you have a tiny class (or you are a homeschool family) you will need to split your class up into groups of 7. But having your class watch while the 7 students play is a great way to be learning or reviewing at the same time they are waiting.
Students will take turns matching words they find to the correct place on the cards. Play continues until one gets 4 in a row, same as the popular game connect 4.
For more advanced students, you could also make small laminated cards that they could write on with a dry erase marker and have to make their own appropriate words with long vowel sounds to put on the mat.
Make A Word Soft Touch Long Vowel Word Building Game
This game doesn’t have instructions online but when I saw it I was instantly inspired. And the one review from an elementary school secretary confirmed my thoughts.
You could do a bunch of different games with this. My initial thought was to set up a few students with a pile of them and see how many words they could come up with in a few minutes.
Another possibility is like boggle–the whole class would take the same pile of cubes and see how many they can come up with in a few minutes. When you say stop, the one with the most words wins.
The dice are color coded. Blue are for consonants, green are for blends and digraphs, and red are for long vowel sounds. That makes it much easier for students to figure out how to put them all together to make good words.
So this is my list of 9 fun games to teach long vowel sounds. There is a large variety for every level of student and tons of possibilities to keep everyone excited about learning. Teachers can take these and run with them. And they can come up with tons more ideas than I have here!
I recently got to see this amazing Ted Talk about the effective use of game-based learning in education. You can check it out right here!
I would love to see what you have done to make learning long vowel sounds fun for your students. Feel free to comment below!