All you need is a plastic tub/bucket , bag of plastic balls and permanent markers.

J has recently started asking me what different words say, what signs say and “what letter is that?! ” I know he is ready to begin learning his sounds and for anybody who knows me or worked with me, they will know just how UTTERLY excited I am about this!! It was a running joke when pregnant with J that he would be born saying his phonetic alphabet! To say I am a lover of synthetic phonics is an understatement.  Teaching children to read and write is what I was put on the earth for, so to be able to give this gift to my son fills me with joy!! HOW SAD AM I!?!

J is very much into all things pirates thanks to ‘Jake and the Neverland pirates’ and stories such as ‘Pirates love underpants.’  As a result, I set up the treasure game for J.  I provided balls with letters on, tub, tongs, bowls and a pirate bag with the sounds he knows in! The rest was up to him to interpret and play with as he wished.


I used the permanent marker to write the lower-case sound on one side and the capital letter on the other side, so that eventually he can used them to form words, names and maybe even sentences one day!! (I type with a huge, excited grin!)


J was having a nap and when he woke up, this was in the sitting room! He was a little excited!


It wasn’t long before he was in the tub and the balls were ALL over the place! It was an utter coincidence that J held up the ball with the letter ‘r’ on and said ‘arrrgh’ like a pirate! It did make me laugh and as much as I’d like to say he is a genius child who knew it was a letter ‘r’ – that would not be true!

phonics 5

This photo is my favourite!


What did J learn?

  • Beginning to recognise letter shape (grapheme) and relate it to the sound it makes (phoneme).
  • Develop fine and gross motor skills using the tong to pick up balls and large movements throwing them around and digging them out of the tub as fast as he could.
  • Sorting and matching shapes of letters to the appropriate letter in each bowl.
  • Interpreting resources he is given and using them to create his own role play: playing pirates and treasure hunting

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