Buggy Letter and Sound Recognition Game

It’s October, and we are working like crazy to teach Kindergarteners their letters. Let’s face it—letter sound recognition can be rough. I’ve been using games I created to make this objective more fun and less frustrating. I wrote about a letter fishing game I made here. Today, I’m going to describe my “Swat the Letter Bugs” letter and sound recognition game.  I included some affiliate links in this article. If you purchase items through my links, you don’t pay extra, but I may make a small commission. 

Swat the Letter Bugs Letter and Sound Recognition Game

We live in a riverfront community, and swatting bugs is a huge summertime activity. Actually, smacking mosquitoes and black flies begins in late March and runs right on through until the first frost in November. If there’s a warm day after the frost, those bugs come right back. It’s nothing to have a week of warm days in January and see bugs buzz around. Our kids are very familiar with the concept of smacking flies. Is it wise to hand a five-year-old a flyswatter? Probably not, unless you spread the kids apart and teach the parameters thoroughly. Let me tell you, it’s worth it. There’s nothing in school these kids like more than smacking something with a fly swatter. Unless it’s recess. Or lunch. Or gym.


If you don’t feel like making your own bugs, check out mine!

First, I created “letter bugs,” printed them out on different colored cardstock, laminated them, and cut them out. I bought these flyswatters for the kids to use.

How to Play

After creating sets of “bugs” for each child in my class, I stuck the specific letters I was teaching to the wall. When the kids came to intervention, I gave them each a fly swatter. I sent them to their designated “fly spot” around the room and called out different letters we had been working on. Then the students had to “swat” the bug with the letter I called on it. The kids LOVE this game. The engagement I built was so worth the time and money I spent on this one. Bonus: no kids swatted each other because I set them up in their own section of the room. The kids weren’t within wacking distance of each other during any part of this activity.

Buggy Game for Letter and Sound Recognition

Other Ways to Use the Bugs

  • Fun Flashcards: There are upper- and lower-case letters in this bunch of bugs. You could use them for review.
  • Name Bugs: Give students the bugs necessary to spell their names. This is a fun way to review the order of the letters in their names.
  • Scavenger Hunt: Hide the letter bugs around the room. Call out letters one at a time for students to find. You can differentiate between upper and lower case. As the children get better at identifying the letters, call them out by sound only. As students master remembering one letter at a time, add one or two more letters to make a short list of letters to find. This helps develop working memory.
  • CVC Words: Have students make CVC words with the bugs once they know their letters and sounds.

Note: If you don’t have time to stick the bugs to the wall, set a bunch on your small group table and have the kids swat them. This works just as well as sticking them to the wall.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a primary reading specialist or a classroom teacher, I hope this game adds engagement to your lessons. Check out this article on managing small groups in the lower grades here. Here is another article on ideas for teaching children the letters in their names as well.

Looking for fun activities for teaching the alphabet? Here are a few links to check out!

Alphabet Games Bundle: Here are some digital and PDF games for you to share with your students to help them learn their letters and sounds.

Alphabet Activities Bundle: These are instructional activities in digital and pdf form for your whole and small group instruction.

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