60 of the Best Tongue Twisters to Tangle Your Kids’ Tongues
Tongue twisters for kids: Because who wouldn't want a really wordy riddle to rhyme?
If you’ve ever been caught off guard by the hilariously cute things kids say by mistake, you know grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation mistakes can heighten the humor. But if the little ones in your life are still struggling with the ins and outs of speech, they might benefit from learning a few tongue twisters for kids.
Contrary to popular belief, tongue twisters are more than just phrases full of funny words or complete gibberish. They’re a learning tool. Think about it: Not only do small children have to figure out things like grammar and vocabulary, but they’ve also got to learn how to form sounds, put them together into syllables and then into words, and finally decipher the meaning in different contexts. One way to help children do all that is through the use of tongue twisters for kids.
From simple tongue twisters tailor-made for children to the toughest tongue twisters around, these phrases can help your little tater tots get their speaking skills up to par. Like funny limericks, tongue twisters will help kiddos perfect their speech and get their tongue untangled from some of the hardest-to-pronounce words in a snap!
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Benefits of tongue twisters for kids
Reciting tongue twisters with your kids offers them plenty of linguistic benefits, according to Diane Paul, PhD, director of clinical issues in speech-language pathology for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
The benefits of tongue twisters for kids include teaching little ones:
- Grammar and vocabulary
- How to form sounds
- How to put together syllables and words
- How to decipher the meaning of words in different contexts
How to use tongue twisters with your kids
To turn tongue twisters into a fun linguistic learning experience, follow Paul’s top tips:
- Play together so you can model proper pronunciation. Tongue twisters for kids are supposed to be fun, so make it a game—but a game you play with them, Paul says. “Do it with them so you can model the proper speech and correct any mistakes before they become bad habits,” she says.
- Start slow so you can explain the lingo. Start by taking it slow, working through each sound and explaining the meaning of each word, plus why the phrase is funny. Choose shorter, kid-friendly tongue twisters (like “Irish wristwatch”) for younger children and longer, more complicated tongue twisters (like “The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday”) for kids ages 10 and up.
- Make it fun so they feel empowered and show progress. Let your kids practice doing it on their own, then challenge them to beat you in time or repetitions. Or challenge them with harder ones: According to experts at the Center for Speech & Language Development in Evanston, Illinois, the hardest sounds for kids to make are L, R, S, Th and Z, so tongue twisters with those sounds are the most difficult.
- If children have an existing speech difficulty, don’t use tongue twisters. “You don’t want a kid who is having a lot of trouble saying a particular sound to repeatedly say the sound wrong,” Paul says. “This can be frustrating and reinforce erroneous patterns, setting them up for failure.” Instead, if your child is having trouble with their speech, talk to a professional about what exercises are best for them, she says.
The best tongue twisters for kids
1. Toy boat. Try boat. Toy boat. Try boat.
2. I saw Susie sitting in a shoeshine shop—where she shines, she sits, and where she sits, she shines.
3. Six thick thistle sticks.
4. Lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better.
5. Betty’s big bunny bobbled by the blueberry bush.
6. Six slippery snails slid slowly seaward.
7. A happy hippo hopped and hiccuped.
8. Whether the weather is warm, whether the weather is hot, we have to put up with the weather, whether we like it or not.
9. Fred fed Ted bread and Ted fed Fred bread.
10. I ran to find Iranian uranium.
11. The bottom of the butter bucket is the buttered bucket bottom.
12. Zebras zig and zebras zag.
If those silly tongue twisters have your kids laughing, just wait until they read these puns for kids.
Well-known tongue twisters for kids
13. Irish wristwatch.
14. She sells seashells by the seashore.
15. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
16. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
17. Red leather, yellow leather.
18. You know you need unique New York.
19. A sailor went to sea to see what he could see. And all he could see was sea, sea, sea.
20. Friendly fleas and fireflies.
21. Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
22. Which witch is which?
23. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
24. Betty bought a bit of butter. But the butter Betty bought was bitter. So Betty bought a better butter, and it was better than the butter Betty bought before.
For more brainy fun, give these tricky riddles for kids a try, or quiz yourself to see if you know any of the hardest words to spell.
Funny tongue twisters for kids
25. If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose?
26. Kitten in the kitchen.
27. Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?
28. Purple paper people.
29. The slimy snake slithered down the sandy Sahara.
30. Betty and Bob brought back blue balloons from the big bazaar.
31. I saw a kitten eating chicken in the kitchen.
32. I saw a saw that could outsaw any other saw I ever saw.
33. Six sticky skeletons.
34. Green glass globes glow greenly.
35. Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.
36. Light the night light tonight.
Looking for more clean jokes your kids will love? These funny jokes for kids will be right up their alley.
Easy tongue twisters for kids
37. I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.
38. We surely shall see the sun shine soon.
39. He threw three balls.
40. Two tiny tigers take two taxis to town.
41. Any noise annoys an oyster, but a noisy noise annoys an oyster more.
42. A synonym for cinnamon is a cinnamon synonym.
43. Four furious friends fought for the phone.
44. Little Lillian lets lazy lizards lie along the lily pads.
45. Chester Cheetah chews a chunk of cheap cheddar cheese.
46. Daddy draws doors.
47. A big black bug bit a big black dog on his big black nose.
48. Twelve twins twirled twelve twigs.
For more wacky word games your kids will adore, check out these engaging limericks for kids.
Hard tongue twisters for kids
49. Gobbling gargoyles gobbled gobbling goblins.
50. Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?
51. Many an anemone sees an enemy anemone.
52. A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.
53. She sees cheese.
54. The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.
55. Kindly kittens knitting mittens keep kazooing in the king’s kitchen.
56. Two tried and true tridents.
57. If practice makes perfect and perfect needs practice, I’m perfectly practiced and practically perfect.
58. If you must cross a coarse, cross cow across a crowded cow crossing, cross the cross, coarse cow across the crowded cow crossing carefully.
59. The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.
60. Each Easter, Eddie eats eighty Easter eggs.
Keep the fun going with this collection of poems for kids or this giant assortment of kids quotes.
Additional reporting by Charlotte Hilton Andersen.
- Diane Paul, PhD, CCC-SLP, director of clinical issues in speech-language pathology for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- The Center for Speech & Language Development: “Learning How to Pronounce Difficult Sounds: L, R, S, Th, Z”