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Bippity Boppety Boo—Now You Say It, Too!

Use this activity to build your child’s listening skills and awareness of spoken sounds and help them gain the ability to identify and manipulate these sounds. This is known as phonemic awareness. You won’t need any materials other than your imagination. Channel your preschooler’s energy into listening to, repeating, and making up funny-sounding nonsense words with you! 

Activity

Explain to your child that you’re going to play a game where you say a funny sounding word. It very well may not be a real word that means something, it’s just funny to say/hear. Their job is to listen very carefully and repeat it back to you. ­­­Next it’s their turn to make up a word and listen as you try to say it.

Choose simpler, short words at first, like “zoop”, and move into longer, more difficult ones, like “dippety doo” and  “yodel-lay-hee-hoo”, as your child catches on. Remember, this activity should feel fun! After all, what could be more silly than making a mistake and inventing a new nonsense word? If you have trouble thinking of nonsense words, we have a list of resources for inspiration below. Or think of a real word: rhinoceros. Change it a bit to make it into a nonsense word: shinoceros, rhinoriferos.

For an older child, challenge them to see how many nonsense words or syllables they can string together, like “yippe tie yay fiddle fi fo fum finny zoop” then see if you can repeat all of it. Have them listen to see if you make any mistakes.

Ask your child to choose their favorite nonsense words or phrases. Make a recording of them saying each one to share and play later. Add new words as they think of more.

Extensions

Read aloud children’s poems and books with nonsense words:

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Hey Diddle Diddle

Hickory Dickory Dock

On the Ning Nang Nong, by Spike Milligan

My Name Is, by Pauline Clarke

Dr. Suess books — list of Suess’s many made-up words

 

Sing along with these children’s songs that play with nonsense words:

Bippety Boppity Boo 

Risseldy, Rosseldy

Willaby Wallaby Woo 

Old MacDonald Had a Farm, E-I-E-I-O

This Old Man

The Chisolm Trail 

The Name Game 

Fiddle Dee Dee The Fly Has Married the Bumblebee 

Funiculi-Funicula (It’s not nonsense. It’s Italian, but the chorus is fun!)

 

 

For more resources please check out our #AtHomeWithAPH resource list for free and accessible activities, tips, webinars, and more from APH, our partners, and the field at large. Have a free and accessible resource you would like us to include? Email us at communications@aph.org to tell us about it!

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About the author

Suzette Wright, Emergent Literacy Project Leader

Suzette Wright is Emergent Literacy Project Leader at APH. She joined the Educational Products Research Department in 1978 after receiving K-8 teaching certification and a B.A. in psychology with a research orientation.  As project leader she has been responsible for the development of the APH Light Box, Mini-Lite Box and accompanying materials, On the Way to Literacy series of tactile books, Moving Ahead Tactile Graphic Storybooks, Tactile Book Builder kit and guidebook, and co-authored the parent/teacher handbook, On the Way to Literacy: Early Experiences for Visually Impaired Children.

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