Segmenting Words: Clap Counting

This week we are exploring counting 0-5 as part of the collaborative effort of our Early Childhood Education Team. All year we are exploring early childhood themes and I will be focusing on phonological awareness and phonics activities.  Today, I’m sharing a playful phonological awareness activity to build segmentation of words into syllables.

Segmenting Words Activity

Build phonological skills with this segmentation of words activity.

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Why We Chose This Activity

Developing phonological awareness helps prepare kids to read.  Phonological awareness activities are oral.  We work on listening and speaking to play and experiment with language.   In our house we are all about prepping to read! We’ve been doing lots of rhyming activities, alliteration games and this week we worked on segmentation of words.

Setting Up

So all you need for this activity are your hands!  You could use rhythm sticks or a toy drumtoo to add a little variety.

Time to Play

Start with words that have two parts.  Examples include: basket, garden, muffin, kitten, and monkey. Model saying the word and clapping each part. Count the number of claps to determine how many parts there are to each word.

Say the next word and clap with your child and count the parts that you both hear.

clapping words to build an awareness of word segmentation

Proceed to the third word and see if your child can clap and count as they segment the word.

When ready, move on to three part words such as: dinosaur, butterfly, astronaut, basketball, and umbrella.

Do a few of these a few minutes each day.  Soon, your child will be a segmenting master

Enjoy segmenting words with your child and building phonological skills!  Your child is preparing to read.

Related Posts

Erase Me Rhyming Activity

Rhyming Ring Toss

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Rhyming Activity

Keep reading.  Visit the links below for more great counting 0-5 ideas from the #teachECE team!

P.S. For more great literacy ideas, we send out a weekly newsletter. You can see a sample here.  If you like what you see, sign up to receive it for FREE each week.


About Jodie Rodriguez

Jodie Rodriguez is a mom of two young boys and an early childhood/elementary educator with over 18 years of experience. Jodie's passion is helping parents, teachers, librarians and anyone else interested in nurturing our youngest readers.


  1. Clapping (2) Syllables (3) is a great way to combing counting and literacy. It’s one of our go-to car games!

  2. We do this with my eldest and must start with the younger as well and then we use it to put dots or lines under the letters in the word to show our phonemes and diagraphs. Such a fun way to combine literacy, maths and music

  3. I love this quick and easy way to add segmenting practice to our daily life!

  4. Love this suggestion as it teaches so many important skills! Using cross-disciplinary skills to promote learning through play = priceless!:) Thanks for a great post!

  5. I love that this activity can be taken anywhere! Waiting in line at the store, at a restaurant, or just at the dinner table. And a toy drum would be a fun addition!

  6. Never knew what it was called. We have been playing this game for a while now. We like to clap out each others names and new words that we’ve learned.


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