Alphabet Bags

Learning the sounds that letters make is an important step in learning to read. Play this game with children, using just grocery bags and things around the house!

Prep It

You have everything you need for this activity already lying around the house!

  • Grocery bags or any other kind of bag
  • Scrap paper (optional)
  • Marker
  • Household items that start with the same letter
  • Household items that start with different letters

Play It

On a bag, write one letter. (You could use a permanent marker or tape some scrap paper on the bag).

Find things around the house that begin with that letter, and let the fun begin!

Things around the house that start with the letter S:

spoon, sock, salt, soap, scissors, straw, and string.

Before you start, collect items that start with your chosen letter. (For example, the letter “S”.) Put them all in the bag, and tell the child: “Everything in this bag starts with the same sound and letter. They all start with the letter… (S). (S) makes a (ssss) sound. Let me hear you say (ssss)!”

Go through all the items and name each one together, exaggerating the first sound of the word — for example: “This is a sock! Ssss-sock!”

TIP: continue exaggerating the first letter sound for most or all of the activity.

Next, dump out all the items and ask the child to find ones to put back in the bag. After you’ve gone through all the items, name them together again, and ask the child, “What sound is at the beginning of all these words again? That’s right, (ssss)!”

Then introduce some new items, some that start with the same letter and some that do not. Tell the child: “We will be working together to decide if the new things should go into our (S) bag or not.” For each item, let the child name it, then say something like: “Should a hhhh-hot dog go into our ssss words bag?”
Have many items that start with two different letters available to sort into two different bags. As the child learns more sounds, you can add more items and bags!
Go on a scavenger hunt to fill the alphabet bags. Let children pick a sound they would like to hunt for, or tell them which one to hunt for.

If you have multiple children in your care, this would be a great opportunity for them to hunt for different letter sounds and share what they found with each other!
Instead of just sorting by a beginning letter sounds, children who have experience reading and writing can play this activity in many unique ways:

-End sounds (pen, spoon)
-Digraphs (words that have CH, SH, CK, or TH)
-Rhyming words (sock, rock)
-Vowel sounds (pot, sock)
-Spelling words (teachers often have spelling lists that follow a sound pattern- you can hunt for these patterns in the words of things around the home)