This activity is a variation of the traditional ‘hide and seek’ game that is aimed at developing the production of speech sounds.

What will this activity help with?

Core area: Speech

Age: 18 months +

  • Hide and Seek is a traditional game that can be played by children of all ages. A very simple version of the game can be played with young children aged 18 months onwards. 
  • This game focuses on developing the production of speech sounds. If your child has difficulty with a particular sound or sounds, use objects beginning with that sound.
  • In this game, the child practises saying words containing a difficult sound.

How to play

You will need the following:

  • A selection of everyday objects/toys beginning with the chosen sound.
  • Alternatively, you could use pictures of objects.

How to play: 

  • Many people will be familiar with the game of hide and seek:
    • Take it in turns to hide objects so everybody gets a turn to hide and look for the objects.
    • Hide the objects around the room/house.​
    • Encourage the child to look for the hidden objects. If they are not sure what they need to look for, you could tell them the objects one at a time e.g. ‘now, look for the pencil’.
    • Once they find the object, encourage them to call out the name of it to practise the sound.

Take it further:

  • As well as looking for objects, encourage the child to take a turn at hiding objects for an adult/older sibling. Encourage the child to correct the adult if they find an object and say the word incorrectly.
  • If the child is finding it easy to say the sound at the beginning of a word, you could extend the activity in the following ways:
  • Once the child finds an object, encourage them to put the word into a sentence e.g. ‘I found the bear’, ‘here is a book’.
  • You could also hide objects that end with the target sound e.g. if practising a ‘p’ sound, you could hide a ‘cup’, ‘soap’ and a ‘sheep’.
  • It may also be helpful to practise listening for and identifying speech sounds before you practise producing them. (Link to other activities – Sound Hunt/Pass the Parcel – Phonological Awareness) 

Top tips

  • Complete it as a family if possible with adults/siblings joining in. This helps the child understand what they need to do and makes the game more fun!
  • Switch off any background noise such as the TV or radio to help the child concentrate fully on how they are saying the sounds.
  • If the child needs more of a challenge, play role reversal and they can lead the game. Make some errors on purpose when naming objects, and see if they can correct you!
  • Avoid using objects that begin with a sound cluster (two consonants together) if you are practising an individual sound. For example, if you are practising the ‘p’ sound, avoid using words that begin with ‘pl’ or ‘pr’ such as ‘plate’ or ‘princess’. Stick to objects that begin with the single sound e.g. ‘puppy’, ‘pig’, ‘pen’ etc.