BANG! is a fun and fast-paced letter identification game for preschoolers who are practicing letter names and sounds. All you need is a handful of craft sticks and five minutes and you and your preschoolers are on their way to learning letters.
As a preschool teacher I am always on the look-out for new ways to practice old skills, such as letter identification. From stacking letter tiles to matching phonics puzzles or playing “I spy” Letters, new is always fun.
But every once in a while you find a letter identification game that is received so well it gets played again and again and again! I leave this game, Bang!, out with our centers so that my preschoolers can play it at any time. This also provides the opportunity for a teacher-directed game for small groups to assess letter knowledge.
This game is way, way more fun than simply reading letters from flashcards or off a sheet of paper.
BANG! Letter Identification Game
I’m always glad to have tried and tested games for my preschoolers that help develop their letter knowledge. But the best, and I mean the very, very best part of this letter identification game is that there are three variations of difficulty. So one game set can be used with all the children in your class.
- 62 craft sticks
- tin or basket to keep crafts sticks in
- permanent marker
- Colorations liquid watercolors(optional)
More letter identification games like this one that you might like:
To Make the Letter Identification Game: BANG!
It literally takes five minutes to make this game. Well, maybe fifteen minutes if you want to get a little crafty. And by crafty I mean some super quick painting.
- (Optional) Using the liquid watercolor, paint each craft stick on both sides. I selected four colors. Using liquid watercolor will give you lighter colors than if you were to use the bright rainbow colored craft sticks that come precolored.
- Write a letter on one end of each craft stick in permanent marker. Use two craft sticks for each letter, one for each case (upper and lower). Or, if you aren’t confident in your handwriting, use these alphabet stickers.
- On the remaining 10 craft sticks, write the word BANG! in big, capital letters.
- Place the craft sticks in a bin of some sort and invite your preschooler to come and play!
Variation 1 – The Original
Players take turns drawing one stick from the container and name the letter. If the name is correct, the player keeps the letter stick and begins making their own pile. If the letter is incorrect, the player must return the stick to the container and the game moves to the next player. If a player draws a BANG! stick, that player loses all his letter sticks and must return them to the bin. (You can also play that all players lose their sticks).
Make it Easier
There are two ways to make this game even simpler. You should choose the variation that best matches your student’s knowledge and skill level.
- Play the game with only uppercase or only lowercase letters at one time.
- Play the game using only the letters (both upper and lower case) that have been introduced to the student. Gradually add more letters to the game as more letters are introduced.
Variation 2 – Letter Names and Sounds
BANG! Letter Identification game can also be played where both letter names and letter sounds are practiced. I like to add a chant when playing this way, something like:
Letter t! Letter t! Letter t says /t/, /t/, /t/!
The preschoolers find it extra fun to say the chant.
More ways to Practice Letter Names and Sounds
Variation 3 – Making Matches
For this variation, each player draws a latter stick, names it, and keeps it as usual. As the turns rotate, players try to make matches in their hand. If a BANG! stick is drawn, the player must return all his sticks to the bin.
Ending the Game
There are two ways to end the game.
- Play ends when there are only BANG! sticks left in the bin. This is risky and takes much more time, but my oldest son always preferred it that way.
- Set a timer for a specific amount of time, like five to ten minutes, and play until the time is up. Whoever has the most sticks in variations one and two, or whoever has the most matches in variation three, wins the game.
Other BANG! Variations
The basic play of this letter identification game can actually be applied to about any concept. Shapes, numbers, colors, animals, the list is endless.
How have you used the game BANG!?
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.