This fab fun phonics game with Tsum Tsums idea is brought to you by Sara-Jayne from Keep Up with the Jones family. Sara-Jayne is a fellow mum to boys, she has three under six and is a Junior School Teacher. This post is part of our learning with manipulatives series.
Today we’re working with my boys’ favourite type of manipulatives – small toys. Our house is practically taken over by tiny little monsters, zombies, pets, glittery creatures – and now these little people, the Disney Tsum Tsums. I’ve no idea how my now four year old found out about them but suddenly they became the must-have toy of his little life and he drew little pictures of them on his wishlist for Christmas AND his birthday. They’re tactile, rubbery little creatures which thankfully have no horrible smell to them – and as they’re Disney I’m generally happy enough to indulge him with them as rewards for jobs well done.
This game can be differentiated for all ages and across quite a few curriculum subjects. Today we’re looking at using our little Tsum Tsums for literacy, and we’re playing a phonics-type game. This game can be adapted to suit all abilities, and the little Tsum Tsums can be substituted for any little toys that you have around the house.
Fun Phonics Game with Tsum Tsums
You will need:
A container for each player to collect their Tsums into
Letter tiles in a bag
Disney Tsum Tsum toys
We used little white picketed fence containers that we use for growing magic beans [jellybeans] in, because they were like little corrals for the Tsums and my boys enjoyed welcoming new members that they had won into their ‘fold’. They also looked quite sweet, peeping through the little fence posts.
Ways to play this phonics game
- Player one takes a letter tile from the bag and sounds it out.
- They then look at the little toys and select one that they want in their fold.
- If the player can describe the toy with a word beginning with the phonic tile’s sound, they put them in their fold.
Encourage your little ones to be more adventurous with their vocabulary! Not just “red” but “ruby red”
- Think about the behaviour, expression and characteristics of the little toy [if known] instead of focusing solely on the appearance.
- This continues until all of the toys have found a home in a player’s container.
The Final Round
If your children are competitive like mine, or you’re playing too and you want to offer them the chance to win your Tsum Tsums, then a final, timed round can be played – and a sand timer will be needed. This is best suited to children who are over the age of 6, who aren’t emotionally attached to the little toys and who understand that this is just a game and that no toys are being stolen from each other.
Each player has one minute to try and poach the other player’s Tsums by extracting tiles from the bag and describing one of their opponent’s characters. A new tile can only be taken from the bag after the toy before it has been placed in their fold. After one minute, the next player takes their turn and after all players have completed their minute, the Tsums are counted to determine who was the winner.
Alternative ways of winning for older children can be determined by listing the words they use and awarding points for length of word and complexity.
Have fun with your Tsum Tsums – and in case you’re wondering, they are pronounced Tsu-mmm Tsu-mmm, kind of like zoom zoom, but with the initial sound as it is in tsunami!
Other fab ideas for using small toys in learning:
Car Parking Lot Preschool Math Grid Game from Life Over C’s
Alphabet Car Wash from Learning 2 Walk
Sorting and Counting with Die-Cast Trains from Crafty Mama in ME
Directionality Activity with Small Cars from Teach Me Mommy
Forest Animals Letter Sounds Activity from Stir the Wonder
Learning Shapes with Toy Cars from Adventures of Adam
What Makes Ice Melt Fastest from Raising Little Superheroes
Fun DIY Phonics Game from Mum in the Madhouse
What Do Animals Eat? Classification Activity from Schooling a Monkey
Color Mixing with Toy Cars from The Kindergarten Connection
AM and PM Time Telling with Shopkins from Sugar Aunts
Sorting Animals Venn Diagram Activity from Mom Inspired Life
Hands-on Way to Learn Letter Sounds from School Time Snippets
Fairies & STEM Activities: Gardening with Kids from Edventures with Kids
Name & Letter Practice: A Painting With Toy Car Activity from Play Dough & Popsicles
Learning Letters & Reading With Cars! from Preschool Powol Packets
Shopkins Sorting from Still Playing School
My boys just loved playing this game – the last round meant I lost all but two of mine though!
Anything to get my 4 year old boy interested in phonics! I’ll be giving these a go x
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Am I the only person who has never heard of Tsum Tsums before. They look amazing! Now off to try and get some!!
The Tsum Tsums are a new one on me but I love Disney as a company and think they are brilliant at toys with a message for young kids.
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my kids have no Tsum Tsums although I think they look really cute. I love the game, I’m thinking we could substitute the Tsum Tsums with something else, like shopkins or squishes.
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I haven’t heard of these before but they’re really sweet. Mine are into all the little toys too – Shopkins at the moment are the favourite. I really like the idea of turning them into an educational game.
I have not heard of the tsum tsums before but they cute. Eliza is learning phonics at the moment and this looks perfect
This looks fun. We don’t have that many small toys, but I guess you would play it with other things instead.
I’ve never heard of Tsum Tsums either, but I’m certain my daughters would have loved them when they were small.
They are simply adorable, Jen, I might get them for Emma on that base alone, lol.xx
What a great way to get children interested in phonics, my youngest did struggle with his words initially and this would have really helped capture his attention! We have lots of little figures too, currently Star Monsters are all the rage, but who knows what is next lol! x
Oh my goodness my girls would just LOVE those cute Tsum Tsums!
What a great way to get kids interested in phonics. Plus I really like the idea of encouraging kids to be more creative with their vocabulary.