Counting Syllables in Words

Grade Levels: K - 2


Students will count the number of syllables in words with this hands-on activity.


Magnet board, basket filled with pictures that have magnets on the back. (Suggested items include x-ray (2), pie (1), wagon (2), sun (1), apple (2), umbrella (3), duck (1), violin (3), rabbit (2), igloo (2), queen (1), lamp (1), tiger (2), monkey (2), kite (1), bird (1), feet (1), zipper (2), egg (1), hat (1), yo-yo (2), nose (1), owl (1), corn (1), present (2), jelly (2), etc.)


  1. Seat the students around a magnet board. If items are not magnetic, seat students on the floor or around a table.

  2. Ask a volunteer to take one item out of the basket and place it on the magnet board.

  3. Ask, "What did you put on the magnet board?" Help students with identification if necessary (see list above). Students may identify some items with alternate words – "jam" for "jelly," "gift" for "present." Accept students' answers if they fit the item, and clap the syllables for that word.

  4. Say the word again and clap for each syllable. Ask, "How many syllables does it have?" As students respond, congratulate or assist as necessary.

  5. Say, "Now let's all say the word and clap the syllables for it."

  6. Continue the activity around the group until all items have been chosen.

  7. Repeat if time permits. Encourage students to choose different items.

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