Tongue Tales

The first day at my Public Speaking Workshop- ‘Seek to Speak’ tested my patience to the core but, also offered me an ‘Aha’ moment.

I welcomed the children with open arms and tried to make them as comfortable as I could. One girl called Kavya simply refused to leave her mother’s hand. Despite our endless efforts to distract her, she chose to maintain a grumpy face. Her mother left and a plethora of tears came my way. I comforted her but the effect didn’t last long.

I decided to start my session and engage her in an activity. I began with ‘Tongue Twisters’.

“Let’s say RED LORRY YELLOW LORRY at least 3 times one by one.” “Red Lorry Yellow Lolly.”

“Red Lorry Lellow lolly.” “Red Rolly Yellow Lorry”

I got all sorts of bizarre combinations and my dear children laughed like there was no tomorrow. Kavya amongst them just couldn’t stop. She smiled from ear to ear and excitedly tried the tongue twister herself.

Could a tongue twister make such an impact on the child’s interest level?

Aren’t they fun?

All these questions popped in my head. I finished the session with ease and reflected post the workshop.

Why are tongue twisters important for children?

It’s a great warm-up exercise for public speaking, as it not only supports effective articulation but also emphasizes on the clarity of speech. Subtle changes in spellings make the words look dissimilar, mean different and certainly change the pronunciation too.

It gives a sense of understanding of different sounds. For instance, join your lips for ‘p’, bite your lower lip for ‘v’, pout for ‘w’ and push air through lips for ‘ph’. It is vital for the kids to comprehend these phonetic differences. It is hence, the perfect drill for the tongue and the brain.

It can be used as a medium to teach homophones. Create your own tongue twister using different sets of homophones like I & eye, dear & deer, fair & fare etc. For instance,

One-one was a race horse, Two-two was one too.

One-one won one race, Two-two won one too.

Play games with tongue twisters to make it exciting.

  1. Roll a die and repeat the tongue twisters as the number on the die.
  2. Ask the child to say the tongue twister with a different  emotion. (Happy, sad, angry, confused, scared etc.)

Twist your tongue:

  1. Three free throws
  2. Toy boat. Toy boat.
  3. I thought a thought. But the thought I thought wasn’t the though I thought I thought. If the thought I thought I thought had been the thought I thought, I wouldn’t have thought so much.

Enjoy! Twist! Twist! Twist!

These thousand tricky tongue twisters trip thrillingly off the tongue.


Priya Somani
Priya Somani, an ECCE trained teacher, certified Storyteller & Psychotherapist is the founder of 'Little Newton's Lab', a workshop based platform for children to stimulate intellectual abilities, build curiosity & foster emotional intelligence. She also co-founded 'Mitti Da Moh' which aims to connect children with nature. Her blog 'Child in Me' offers engaging content for parents and children. She is also a mentor at 'The Lighthouse Project' & 'Angel Xpress Foundation.'

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