teaching resource

SMASH IT! Vowels Game

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 11 pages | Grades: 1 - 2

Distinguish between long and short vowel sounds with this set of 5 game boards and vowel letter cards.

Are you ready to 💥 SMASH💥  today’s vowels lesson?

Our Smash It! game lets your students get hands-on when listening for and distinguishing between long and short vowel sounds 

The game boards include pictures for students to practice segmenting sounds in each word and identifying whether the vowel they hear is long or short. They’ll match vowel letter cards to those images to show they can hear the difference. 

Long vowel cards:

  • ā
  • ē
  • ī
  • ō
  • ū
Short vowel cards:

  • ă
  • ĕ 
  • ĭ 
  • ŏ 
  • ŭ 


Listen to Letter Sounds with Our Long & Short Vowels Game

Use this resource in your reading center, as a guided reading activity or whole class exercise (see below) to distinguish between long and short vowel sounds.

To play, students will need molding clay and a word mat. Shuffle the letter cards and place them in the center of the player area. Students take turns flipping cards to and identifying the sound of its vowel. Then, players look for a picture on their mat with that vowel sound and use their molding clay to SMASH IT! Continue playing until one student has SMASHED all of the objects on their card. 

Scaffolding + Extension Tips 

This game can be played independently or with multiple players. Add more players by using different colored molding clay and taking turns to SMASH IT! 

Challenge students who already understand the concept to write the word on a mini whiteboard or piece of paper and underline the vowel. 

Support students who need help understanding the concepts by using an anchor chart or vowels poster as a visual reference. 

Get our 10 Best Scaffolding Strategies here! 

Get More Activities from ONE Vowels Game!

Use this resource as independent practice for fast finishers and full-class learning opportunities like scoot activities, lesson reviews, formative assessments, and more.

2️⃣ Group Play (Beginner)

Divide your class into pairs and give each a word mat. Using your smartboard or another projection device, present the letter cards. Students will work together to identify the words with that vowel sound on their board. The first pair to cover every picture on their board wins! 

🌞 Warm-Up/Exit Activity (Intermediate)

Use this activity as a formative assessment. Pick a word mat and project it on the board for the whole class to see. Read each of the words as a class, and have students write whether it has a long or short vowel sound on a separate sheet of paper.

✏️ Write the Room Scoot Activity (Advanced)

Hang sheets of chart paper around the room and post a vowel sound card above each one. Individually, or with a partner, have students rotate around the room, adding one word that includes that vowel sound. Project the game boards for reference. Words may be used only once.

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print on cardstock for added durability, and slip the boards into dry erase sleeves for easy clean-up. Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Before You Download

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. 

This resource was created by Lindsey Phillips, a teacher in Michigan and Teach Starter Collaborator. 


No need to look anywhere else for vowel activities and resources—we’ve got your lessons covered: 

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