Phonics Treasure Hunts


 At Miss Daisy’s Nursery all the children love phonics treasure hunts to help learn initial sounds such as c is for cat, camel, cow, car, caterpillar, cookie….


 These phonics treasure hunts can be done at home, in a sand tray, in the garden or in the bath - and are VERY simple to do... 

 1. Hide lots of things with a common initial sound e.g:

'j' - jet, jam, jigsaw, jelly, jug, jaguar, jingle bells, jigsaw, jacket...


'd' - doll, duck, dog, dolphin, dinosaur, domino...


‘b’ – ball, banana, bottle, bat, boat, ball, bell, blocks, bat, bug...


Alternatively, if you want to 'bulk out' the objects that you are hiding you can print images and hide pictures of objects beginning with the same sound...


2. Show your child the collection of objects or pictures before you hide them. 


3. Next, engage your child and get them excited  by dressing them up as a pirate, detective, explorer or superhero and give them an object to collect the treasure in – such as a bucket, basket, box, bag or pan…



4. Before your set your child off to find the 'treasure' – show your child the letter shape:


You can be creative how you do this:

a. write the letter down on a piece of paper or white board or maybe mould the letter in play dough


b. write the letter in the air




c. write the letter on our letter tracing app in either print or cursive formation   



d. colour the letter on our letter tracing app 


e. show your child the letter on our abc flashcard songs app  


f. assemble the letter on our abc jigsaw app  


g. write the letter in shaving foam, sand or a flower bed




 5. Now, set your child off on their treasure hunt.


6. When your child finds an object praise them and say:

“Well done you have found a j j-jet or a j j-jam j j-jar” 

Alternatively, ask your child: “Wow, what have you found?” 

7. When your child has found all the objects beginning with the same sound - ask your child to take them out of their bucket and name each object.


8a. Finally, take a photo of your child with all their ‘phonics treasure’ and stick it on the fridge…

8b. A fun idea is to create a tick list of treasure hunts that you have completed...soon, you might notice your child asking to play the game.

If you complete our abc game on abc flashcard songs app    you can print this image to use as a tick list...


Useful tips 

Find out from your child’s teacher what letter sound they are learning that week and play the game with objects with the same letter sound. 



Most schools will teach the early phonics sounds in this order:

Phase 2: s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss, j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, ch, sh, th, ng 

For most pre-school children – the treasure hunt is probably enough for one day but, if your child is keen to play another phonics memory game with the initial sound objects please see below...




1. Put all the ‘treasure’ (objects with the same sound) under a cloth. 

For a 3 – 4 year old: up to 7 objects

For a 4 – 5 year old: up to 10 objects


2. Show the child all the objects and then ask them to close their eyes or look away. 

3. Whilst they are looking away take an object away and put the cloth back over the objects. 

4. Ask your child to look under the cloth and see if they can see which which object is missing. 


When praising your child emphasis the initial sound:

“Yes you are right the b b-ball is missing.” 

“You have a brilliant memory, I took away the b b bat”

“Well done, you are very observant, the b b-boat is is behind my back.” 


To extend your child – let them be the teacher/adult.


If you child is still wanting more – let them play on our awarding winning abc flashcard songs app or draw the letter on our letter tracing app…alternatively you can assemble letter jigsaws on our abc jigsaw app







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