Sound It Out Parking Lot

Sound It Out Parking Lot. {Playdough to Plato}

Guest Post by Malia of Playdough to Plato


When my four year old learned the last few alphabet sounds, I knew that it was time to show him how to blend those sounds together and make words. Learning this new skill would take a lot of practice so I wanted to make the process more fun and motivating by incorporating one of his favorite things: Matchbox cars. Sound It Out Parking Lot is a playful, hands-on way to help kids begin reading.


To Prep, I pulled out a pile of Matchbox cars, a sheet of dot stickers and a black marker. I wrote a different letter on each dot and attached it to the roof of a car. I wanted my son to be able to build a variety of words so I used the letters {p, f, r, d, t, c, m, a, e, i, o and u}.

Sound It Out Parking Lot. {Playdough to Plato}

I grabbed a piece of blue construction paper to use as the parking lot and glued on two strips of yellow construction paper to make parking stalls. {Yellow tape would have made this step even easier but we were all out.}

I placed the {f, i, t} cars in front of the parking lot and invited my son, C, to join me. “Today is a big day!!” I said. “We are going to start sticking letters together to make words. Look at the tops of these three cars. What letters do you see?”

“F, I and T,” he said.

“And what sounds do those letters make?”

“/F/ … /i/ … /t/” he said carefully.

“Great! Now we are going to stick those sounds together like this.” I reached over to the cars and said each sound as I pushed the matching car into a parking stall. “/F/ {pushed the f}, /i/{slid the i}, /t/ {moved the t}.” I pulled the cars out and invited my son to try it too.

Sound It Out Parking Lot. {Playdough to Plato}

We slid the cars out of the stalls again and I showed him how to do it more quickly. My son eagerly repeated after me. After picking up the pace a third time, he figured out the word. “FIT!!” he exclaimed proudly.

“You’ve got it!” I said. “When you stick the letters {f, i and t} together you make the word {fit}. We sounded out the letters slowly at first and then went back to read them more and more quickly until we figured out our word. Now let’s practice again with a new word.” I drove the {i} away and replaced it with an {a}. Following the same process as before, my son was able to sound out his new word {fat}.

We continued swapping out one car at a time to create new words and with each new word he read, my son’s speed and confidence grew a little more. I had so many proud mama moments watching him.


Malia is a National Board Certified elementary teacher turned stay at home mama to three young kids {4, 2.5 and 5 months}. She shares fun learning activities over at Playdough to Plato. Check out her site and follow along with her newest activities by email.


  1. This is wonderful. I’m thinking that it may be a great activity to target other areas of speech, such as syllables and sounds. Thanks for sharing this!

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