This Jack and the Beanstalk syllable activity will help your students practice counting and clapping syllables in words. This is a phonological awareness skill that is fun and easy for Pre-K kids, and helps them build pre-reading skills. Find more Fairy Tale activities here.
To Prepare this Activity
All you need to do is print out the syllable mats and either laminate them or slip them into clear page protectors. I’m a big fan of page protectors because they are so much quicker than laminating and can be reused for other activities. I place the syllable mats back-to-back in a page protector, and kids can flip them over to do both sides.
Gather some manipulatives. Since this is Jack and the Beanstalk, it would be fun to use either lima beans or jelly beans. If you use lima beans, you could spray paint them with gold or silver paint to make them “magic” beans. You can always use Unifix cubes, flat marbles, plastic chips, or just about any manipulative as an alternative.
I like to do this activity in small group (so I print out 6 sets of the mats), and later place them in the literacy center for kids to do at free choice time.
How to do the Activity
Before doing this activity, we have practiced clapping the children’s names and other fun words related to our themes for months. There was a time when I didn’t teach syllables in Pre-K because I simply thought of it as a Kindergarten skill, but this really is fun and easy for the Pre-K crowd.
In our small group, I give each child a mat, and we say the word “beanstalk” and clap the word “bean-stalk”. I ask, “How many claps?” (Two.)
If anyone struggles with a word, I tell them to “pop their fingers up” for every syllable. For example, in a word like “giant”, they would “pop up” one finger for the first syllable “gi-” and “pop up” a second finger for the second syllable “-ant”. They can instantly see they have two fingers in the air, so it’s two syllables.
For the words “giant” or “castle”, kids would place two beans into two of the circles on their mat beside those pictures. For the one-syllable words, such as “harp” or “ax”, they would place one bean in one circle.
Here’s a common mistake kids make. When counting syllables, we count them in words, not phrases. For a picture such as the golden egg, you need to either tell children the word is golden or egg, but not “golden egg”. “Golden egg” is a phrase, not a word, so it would be incorrect to say that “golden egg” has 3 syllables.
This activity and many more activities are included in my Jack and the Beanstalk pack in my shop.
Download the Jack and the Beanstalk Game
Note: This printable is FREE. Just click to download!
- Teach Syllables with Children’s Photos (free)
- Printable Syllable Cards (free)
- More Fairy Tale Activities (free)
- Teach Syllables Pack from My Shop
- Jack and the Beanstalk Pack from My Shop