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Muffin Tin Syllable Counting

By: Amanda Boyarshinov & Kim Vij, excerpted from 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids
Updated March 09, 2021
Muffin Tin Syllable Counting
Muffin Tin Syllable Counting
This image courtesy of

Say and count syllables in this self-checking muffin tin game. Sneak in a little fine motor practice and boost early literacy skills while picking up buttons. Let the kids help draw the game pieces and you tie in art and creativity too.

Focus Skill: counting syllables in spoken words

Materials List

  • 2" (5-cm) circle
  • Cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Crayons or markers
  • Scissors
  • 12 cup muffin tin
  • Buttons

Directions to Make

  1. Trace around the 2-inch (5-cm) circle 12 times on the cardstock.

  2. Draw a picture of a person, place or thing inside each circle. Cutting pictures from magazines works too! Some examples are dog, caterpillar, fish, bicycle, shoe, car, banana, apple, book, table, circus and library.

  3. Color and cut out each picture.

  4. Turn the circles over and make a dot for each syllable in the word. The back of the circle with the dog picture would have one dot; caterpillar would have four.

Directions to Play

  1. Place the pictures, image side up, in the muffin tin. The player names the picture out loud and counts the number of syllables in the word.

  2. The player drops the same number of buttons as syllables in the tin.

  3. Play continues until all compartments have been filled with buttons. When this happens, the player self-checks and corrects the number of syllables by turning the picture over and comparing the number of buttons in each compartment with the number of circles on the back of the image.

Game Variations

  • Focus the pictures on a specific learning theme such as natural life, ocean or transportation.
  • Select and read a story. Use vocabulary words and characters from the story to make the picture cards.
  • Focus on number sense by changing the pictures to numbers. Have the player count out the buttons to match the written number.

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