Let me tell you a story about how tongue twisters for kids saved the day.
One day not so long ago I had the boys on the city bus and the ride was getting rather long for their squirmy selves. I usually use thinking games or screen-free waiting games in a situation like this but I was a bit exhausted and wanted an easy and instant way to keep them from driving me crazy.
Suddenly I broke out into a tongue twister and the boys were riveted.
The boys kept crying "more, more!" and the rest of the ride was filled with giggles instead of groans. So next time you want a screen-free, quick distraction that requires no props but the mouth on your face, try a few of these tongue twisters for kids.
What are tongue twisters?
Tongue twisters are a short series of words that are hard to pronounce accurately and quickly. Often, they include alliteration, shifting patterns of phonemes, or words that, when said quickly, can be confused with other words.
Why practice tongue twisters?
Tongue twisters have long been used by public speakers like actors, news broadcasters, politicians, and other orators as a way to practice pronunciation, speaking ability, and language fluency.
When kids play around with tongue twisters they are learning how sounds work, which helps with reading fluency, as well as exercising the muscles used for speech. In fact, studies show that the brain must work harder to get our mouths to say certain sounds together. So think of tongue twisters as brain boosters!
What are the best tongue twisters for kids?
Kids love tongue twisters because they are both funny and a challenge. Try starting out with short tongue twisters, moving on to longer phrases and even the hardest tongue twisters of them all. Different children will find different tongue twisters challenging, so experiment!
MORE: Put a smile in your child's day with these tongue twister lunchbox notes!
Short tongue twisters
Just because they are short, doesn't mean they are easy tongue twisters! Try saying these short tongue twisters five times fast!
Two toads, totally tired.
Pirates Private Property.
An ape hates grape cakes.
Toy boat. Toy boat. Toy boat.
Shredded Swiss cheese.
Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
Fresh, fried, fish, fish, fresh, fried, fried, fish, fresh.
Longer tongue twisters
I can think of six thin things and of six thick things too.
A synonym for cinnamon is a cinnamon synonym.
A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.
Whether the weather is warm, whether the weather is hot, we have to put up with the weather, whether we like it or not.
The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
Classic and famous tongue twisters
I bet you remember these famous tongue twisters from your own childhood!
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
Betty Botter bought some butter; “But,” said she, “This butter’s bitter. If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter will make my bitter batter better." So she bought some better butter, better than the bitter butter, put it in her bitter batter, and it made her bitter batter better.
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair, Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Hardest tongue twisters
This first one was developed at MIT as the hardest tongue twister of them all:
Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.
If that's too hard try these:
The sixth sick sheikh's sixth sheep's sick.
Silly Sally swiftly shooed seven silly sheep.
The seven silly sheep Silly Sally shooed
These sheep shouldn’t sleep in a shack;
Sheep should sleep in a shed.
And just for fun, watch Danny Kaye get tongue tied.