Veronika loves animal sounds and has a good 20 or so animals in her repertoire now. This was a fun way to keep the learning novel. We were able to go over old favorites and learn a few new ones, too!
I placed a bunch of animal toys into a small brown paper bag. Plastic animals worked best for the game, though we had a few stuffed animals inside, too.
I presented her with the bag and it was up to her to reach in. As she pulled out an animal, I chanted (for example):
Pig, pig, hey hey hey.
Pig, pig, what do you say?
After which, we oinked!
The rockin’ rhythm and tapping of the beat on our laps definitely got her attention, a nice change of pace from singing Old Macdonald.
We went through the whole bag this way. Sometimes instead of reaching in, she would peer inside the bag and say (for example) “quack”, so I would pull out the duck for the chant:
Duck, duck, hey hey hey.
Duck, duck what do you say?
Then we played in reverse. Can you put frog back in the bag? Ribbit ribbit! Can you put lion back in the bag? Roar roar!
We added a few animals that she’s less familiar with, like turkey gobbling and donkey hee-hawing, for a little variety.
Feel free to reinforce the game by reading an animal sounds book, just after!
Although much too advanced for a 17-month-old, I jumped at the chance to introduce the idea of letter sounds with this same method. She liked the little chant so much that I filled the bag next with our set of magnetic letters and pulled one out at time.
Ess, ess, hey hey hey,
Ess, ess, what do you say?
Ess says ssss.
She even repeated some of these back to me! I wasn’t surprised though that she lost interest in this variation quickly.
This is a great learning game that you could tailor in all kinds of ways beyond animals and letters.