The Starfish SHORT VOWEL Sorting Game     FREE


One of the games we use to help children learn their short vowel sounds is this Short Vowel Sorting game.


There are 2 levels to this short vowel sorting game.

Level 1 – picture cards (words) beginning with a short vowel  eg ant

Level 2 – picture cards (words) with the short vowel sound as the medial sound (in the middle) eg cap

It’s pretty versatile.  Feel free to modify to suit your particular needs and kids.

We play the game with a dice that has 1 – 3 dots (which ensures a more even distribution of sorting amongst the group, and extends the length of the task).

Instructions for play:

Decide whether you are going to use the level 1  or 2 picture cards (or all of them put together).

Place the vowel cups in the centre of the table.

Deal out the picture cards evenly to all players.

The first player rolls the die, and takes the corresponding number of their picture cards from their pile and ‘sorts’ them into the correct vowel cups.  eg if they roll a 2, then they turn over 2 cards.  If they have a picture of “itchy” then this would be put into the “i” cup, and “anchor” would be out into the ‘a’ cup.

The next player has their turn.  And so on.

The first player to get rid of all their picture cards wins the game.


  • Children can play this on their own or in pairs, as a simple sorting activity.

  • Use the picture cards as supplementary cards for other games such as Vowel Owls       screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-11-56-09-am

You will need:

  • DOWNLOAD the FREE short vowel picture card sheets here

  • 5 paper cups

  • 10 minutes

  • 3 dotted dice (or a 3 segment spinner).


Print the short vowel picture card sheets.  There are 2 levels.  It’s probably worth printing each level on a different colour (so they are easy to distinguish, which saves time in the long run).

Laminate the picture cards for a longer life span

Cut each picture card out

Label each short vowel paper cup with a permanent marker  (a, e, i, o and u).

Modify or make a 3 dotted dice.  You can modify dice by placing a sticker on 3 of the sides and mark 1, 2 or 3 dots on them.  You can also purchase blank dice in our store or a large write on wipe off dice in our online store here (these are a handy resource to have anyway).


The Starfish Short Vowel Sorting Game is a handy game and/or resource to add to the kit bag for helping kids learn and master the short vowel sounds.  Use it at home or in reading groups.

And, it’s FREE. 

You can get to our complete guide to teaching those pesky short vowel sounds by clicking here.

We’ll be adding heaps more free stuff to help with short vowel skills, so stay tuned.