S Blends: Useful Word Lists, Activities & More for Speech Therapy

s blends word list

The /s/ sound blends are often among the trickiest for children to master. 

Although most can articulate this sound correctly by the age of seven or eight, others continue to find it challenging. They may replace the /s/ sound with a /th/ sound, saying ‘ ‘dinothaur’ instead of ‘dinosaur’ or ‘houth’ instead of ‘house’.

This can make it appear that your child has a lisp or that they are much younger than they are, affecting their confidence, their social skills and their ability to achieve their full academic potential. 

However, there’s no need for concern. By using these /s/ blends word lists in your home speech therapy sessions and providing them with plenty of practice, you can often correct this articulation problem and help them achieve clear, understandable speech. 

In this article, we’ll be sharing a comprehensive /s/ blend sounds word list alongside the phrases, sentences, games, and activities you can use to help your child overcome this challenge and improve their language skills. 

Used alongside our patented Forbrain headset, you could see the results in as little as a few weeks. 

Word Lists: /S/ blend sounds

Using word lists like the ones below is a fantastic way to help your child understand where the /s/ sound blends appear in real-life language. You’ll also have a quick and easy-to-use resource at your fingertips that you can use for professional or home speech therapy. 

Start to read through these lists with your child, focusing on each /s/ sound blend in turn before moving onto the next and then giving them plenty of opportunity to practice. 

We’ve included words that include the /s/ sound at the beginning (initial), middle (medial), and end (final) of the word for best results. 

/S/ sound blend words

Ready to gently challenge your child’s articulation skills? Here’s a comprehensive list of the most common /s/ sound blends to use in your professional or home speech therapy. 

/Sl/ blend words

Let’s move onto another /s/ blend sound- the /sm/ blend sound. 

/Sm/ blend words

Similar to the /sm/ sound blend, the /sn/ sound blends helps improve your child’s pronunciation of this tricky /s/ blend sound. Here’s our /sn/ word list. 

/Sn/ blend words 

The /sp/ sound blend is another common consonant blend that your child should practice to master their /s/ sound blends. Here’s our word list of the /sp/ sound words. 

/Sp/ blend words

Let’s move onto the /st/ sound, one of the most common /s/ blend sounds in English.

/St/ blend words

Finally, here is our list of the most child-friendly /sw/ blend words for use in your speech therapy sessions. 

/Sw/ blend words

Further /S/ blend sound practice using short phrases and sentences

Once your child can pronounce the /s/ sound blends, it’s time to try using them in short phrases and sentences. 

This won’t only help them improve their articulation of these sounds but will also improve overall communication skills, and fluency, and give them the confidence boost they need. 

They’ll also put those new skills into practice and, by doing so, improve their overall sound articulation skills. 

Here at Forbrain, we recommend you use the following home speech therapy program alongside your patented Forbrain headset for faster, long-lasting results. 

  • First work through the /s/ blend sound word list, checking that your child is articulating each correctly before moving onto the next. If they still struggle, use the pronunciation guide we share later in this article to troubleshoot any issues and give them plenty of practice using the phrases, sentences, games and activities we share later before coming back to the next sound. 
  • Use carrier phrases to help your child put these words into context immediately and use them in their everyday life. 
  • Move on using short phrases and sentences for the /s/ sound then practice with those games, activities, and /s/ sound books. 
  • If you skipped the /s/ sound blends earlier, repeat the whole process and keep practicing until your child is both comfortable and confident pronouncing these sounds. 

Carrier phrases 

Carrier phrases are used widely in professional speech therapy because they’re a simple and effective way to provide your child with an extra opportunity to practice those tricky sounds without feeling overwhelmed by complex sounds and sentences. 

All you need to do is select one of the carrier phrases and insert one of the words from the /s/ word or /s/ blend word lists above then use them whenever you can. 

The most effective carrier phrases are as follows: 

  • “I see a…”
  • “I found a…”
  • “I want a…”
  • “He found a…”
  • “She found a…”
  • “I have a…”
  • “He has a…”
  • “She has a…”
  • “I like to…”
  • “He likes to…”

Put into practice, it looks like this:

  • “I see the SWING”
  • “I found a DINOSAUR”
  • “I want a HORSE”
  • “He found a SKULL”
  • “She found a SPIDER”
  • “I have a STICKER”
  • “He has a SWEATER”
  • “She has a SNACK”
  • “I like to “SPIN”
  • “He likes “STEAK”
  • “She wants a “SWIMSUIT”

Short phrases for the /s/ blend sound

Once you’ve practiced those /s/ blend sound words, you can move onto practicing with short phrases. 

Keep reading to find the most child-friendly short phrases to use in your home speech therapy.

/Sk/ & /Sc/ blend phrases
Big scorpion
Scar face
Ice skate
Scabbed knee
Wavy scarf
Keep score
Fast scuba diver
Skinny jeans
Grade school
New skateboard
Scattered leaves
Skin tag
Grade school
Sketch artist
Old skeleton
Scared girl
Skip class
Long skirt
Skinny jeans
Smelly skunk
/Sl/ blend phrases
Slow lane
Slanting tree
Slam the door
Slushy snow
Sled downhill
Slice of pizza
Slid down
Slick ice
Sleigh ride
Wet slime
Sleep walking
Slim chance
Arm sling
Fuzzy slippers
Long slit
Slithered down
Dog slobber
Sloped downhill
Fit into the slot
Three-toed sloth
/Sm/ blend phrases
Smells bad
Winning smile
Mr. Smith
Smoke in the air
Small dog
Look smart
Smooth road
Banana smoothie
Smudged with dirt
Smokey bacon
Holding a smartphone
Smash a window
Make small talk
Eat s’mores
Side smirk
/Sn/ blend phrases
Snatch a cookie
Sneaker shoes
Snore at night
Snickerdoodle cookies
Sneak up on
Snooping around
Snooze in bed
Sniffing flowers
Snip the roses
Light snack
Snail mail
Finger snap
He sneezed
Pig snout
White snow
Snorkel and flippers
Snuggled up
/Sp/ blend phrases
Spin the wheel
Space shuttle
Black spade
Spare ribs
Spark plug
Spell check
Spice rack
Spend money
Speed of light
Spit on
Spoiled child
Spider man
Spill the beans
Spaghetti sauce
Speckled egg
Speak and Spell
Spear thrower
/St/ blend phrases
Rare steak
Steal food
Climb stairs
Steady hands
Stay tuned
Step back
Stale bread
Stainless steel
Stain remover
Stars in space
Stare down
Start up
Steady hands
Steep hill
Cloud of steam
Statue of Liberty
Stack of books
/Sw/ blend phrases
Wear a sweater
Swan dive
Swap places
Swarm of bees
Sway to the music
Wear a sweater
Sweet candy
Sweep the floor
Swedish flag
Break out in a sweat
Swim practice
Swollen thumb
Swivel chair 
Hit the switch
Ride the swing
Throat swab
Swaddle the baby

Short sentences for the /S/ blend sounds

Now that you’ve helped your child practice with short phrases, you can further challenge their articulation skills with short sentences. This can be difficult as their brain needs to remember how to say the sound, control their speech organs, and also process all that other information. 

Don’t give up if it seems tricky for your child. 

Be patient, congratulate them for their successes (however small), and continue to practice and you’ll soon see an improvement. 

If it really is too much for your child, feel free to return to those short phrases and get more practice before moving on. Remember- learning can take time. 

Here’s a collection of those short sentences to use for /s/ sound and /s/ blend sound practice. 

/Sk/ & /Sc/ blend sentences
He had a scab on his knee
She weighed the ingredients on the scale
Their scalps were itchy
He wore a blue scarf
They went on a scavenger hunt
He starts school tomorrow
They enjoyed ice skating
She got a new scooter for her birthday
He asked for two scoops of ice cream
The children were scared
My mom has a scar on her arm
/Sl/ blend sentences
He slipped on a rock
Her slippers are pink
We skied down the slope
The sloth moved slowly
The slug ate the flowers
She slouched in her chair 
The slingshot broke
The snake slithered across the floor
He cut a slit in the fabric
The sled is fast
I love playing with slime
/Sm/ blend sentences
The kitten is small
He smiled at her
She ordered a chocolate smoothie
The rock is smooth
The pumpkin got smashed
That dog smelled bad
My friend is smart
The smoke filled the room
She smirked at the joke
The painting got smeared 
Mr. Smith is the best teacher
/Sn/ blend sentences
They ate a snack
He snipped the roses
The snake is green
My dad snores
He lost his sneaker
I need to sneeze!
He wished it would snow
We went snorkeling on vacation
They snapped their fingers
The mom snuggled her new baby
The snail crawled across the grass
Her shirt got a snag
The dog wanted to sniff
She hit the snooze button
The pig snorted
The baby had snot on its face
He snooped through her purse
/Sp/ blend sentences
The spider is fast
She wanted to spin the wheel
The spiral staircase is beautiful
The baby spit up its milk
This house is spooky
He played three sports
She wants to be a spy
She added more spice to the cake
I spelled the word correctly
The boy was nervous about giving a speech
There is a spot on the carpet
The apple is spoiled
He put spices on his bike helmet
He drew a picture of his spirit animal
She used a spoon to eat her yoghurt
He wanted to find a spouse
The sponge is dirty
/St/ blend sentences
The horse is in its stable
He sang on stage
The bee might sting you
The stars are in the sky
He sat on the stool
She stumbled over a branch
The storm was crazy
They approached the stop sign
She needed to stitch her coat
The stingray swam in the ocean
She took a step towards the tiger
He drew a stencil of his dog
The mountain is steep
The water was steaming
The trash was starting to stink
She climbed on top of the stone
We put our things in storage
/Sw/ blend sentences
She wore a sweater
She swam in the ocean
Her ice cream is sweet
The kids swapped toys
He swore to tell the truth
The bees swarmed the house
Her toe is swollen
The swan fed her babies
They switched seats
He sat in the swivel chair
She swallowed the water
They live in Sweden
He is sweeping the floor
The ice cream is sweet
An alligator lives in the swamp
He swaddled the baby girl
The doctor swabbed my mouth

Games & activities with the /S/ blend sound

As every parent knows, the best way to teach a young child anything is to make it fun! This helps them engage their brains, enjoy the learning process, strengthen your parent-child bond, and grow in confidence. 

That’s why we’ve also gathered together a collection of the best games and activities you can enjoy with your child to further improve their learning of the /s/ sound and /s/ sound blends. 

Use these with your Forbrain headset and read our suggested books to significantly improve your child’s articulation of these tricky sounds. 

Go on an /S/ Sound Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunts are fun, active, and perfect for small children. They also prompt their brains to recognize the /s/ sound blends for better home speech therapy results. 

You only need a few resources and ten minutes or so to play too, making it a quick and easy way to improve their pronunciation of the /s/ sound. Here’s how to play: 

  • Collect as many items as you can that feature ther /s/ sound blend. This could be a shell, shoes, slippers, socks, a dinosaur, a swimsuit, or so on. 
  • Choose a small space such as one room in your home or your backyard and hide these items in easy-to-find places.
  • Tell your child that they need to find all the items they can that include the /s/ blend sound and that they will get a prize if they can find them and say the word. This could be a small reward like a hug, a piece of candy, an extra ten minutes of storytime, or so on. 
  • If they find all the items and pronounce them correctly, they are a winner. 

Make snakes! 

It’s time to pull out your craft supplies or toys and start making snakes. 

Show your child how to make an /s/ shape with Playdough and then encourage them to do so. You can add eyes, a mouth, and even scales onto its body if you are very creative and have the resources available. 

When they have finished making the snake, tell them that the snake’s name is Steve and he is a lovely animal who loves to make new friends. 

He wants to be introduced to the whole family, using the sentence “Hello! My name is Steve the Snake and I love to swim, snorkel, and swing in the garden”. 

Then encourage your child to show Steve to everyone in your household, friends, family members, and whoever else they want to. This sounds silly but it’s fun for young kids and will help them get the /s/ blend sound practice they need! 

Play ‘Articulation Bingo’

  • First, print a copy of the /s/ blend word lists we shared above. 
  • Choose ten words in total, selecting words from each of the /s/ blends.
  • Cut out your chosen words and put them into piles. Shuffle well and place them in a pile in the middle of the table. 
  • Tell your child to pick a word from the pile and try to pronounce it correctly. 
  • If they get it right, give them a token.
  • If they manage to pronounce at least four words correctly, they are a winner! 

Read books

Numerous studies have shown that reading with your child from an early age is the best way to improve their overall language skills, boost their imagination and creativity, relax and strengthen your parent-child bond. 

That’s why we highly recommend that you read the following /s/ blend sound books with your child, encouraging them to repeat the /s/ blend sound words after you. By doing so, you won’t only improve their articulation skills but will also enhance their language development and fulfill their academic potential. 

Here’s our top pick. 

How to pronounce the /S/ blend sound

Helping your child pronounce the /s/ sound is much easier if you can first understand what happens in your mouth when you pronounce it. By doing so, it will be easier to identify any challenges your child may be having and pinpoint exactly how you can help them. 

Making any kind of speech sound is similar to playing a wind instrument. We start with air from our lungs, allow it to pass over our vocal cords and then shape it using our tongue, lips, teeth and nose, or a selection of these speech organs. 

The /s/ sound itself is what linguists and speech therapists call a voiceless alveolar sibilant. 

In other words, your vocal cords do not vibrate (voiceless), your tongue should lightly touch the roof of your mouth (alveolar) and curl up at the side, and the stream of air passes through your teeth (sibilant). 

Pronouncing the /S/ sound 

Now you understand how the /s/ sound should be articulated in theory, it’s time to take a look at exactly what is happening in your mouth. 

To do so, choose one of the /s/ sound words from the list we shared earlier and then practice saying it a few times to yourself. It’s a good idea to start with a simple /s/ word such as ‘sea’ or ‘seed’ and avoid those /s/ word blends for now. 

Repeat the sound several times and as you do so, pay attention to what your speech organs are doing. 

If you’re pronouncing the /s/ sound correctly, you should feel that your vocal cords don’t move, your tongue is lightly touching the ridge behind your teeth, and that the air passes over your teeth, making a hissing sound as it does so. 

How to produce the /S/ sound correctly

Ready to help your child articulate the /s/ sound effectively? Here is our step-by-step guide. 

1) Ask your child to touch the tip of their tongue against the ridge behind your teeth, without actually touching them. 

2) Then get them to push the air out of their lungs and between their teeth. They should feel some resistance when they make this sound. 

That’s it! If you need extra help, watch this video from Peachie Speechie.  

Using Forbrain to Upgrade Sound Practice

Want to harness the power of technology to help your child learn the /s/ sound and /s/ sound blends faster and more effectively? Use our scientifically-proven Forbrain headset for ten minutes per day as part of your home speech therapy. 

This patented device uses cutting-edge technology with an enhanced auditory feedback loop via bone conduction to provide your child with the effective, targeted practice they need to overcome any speech and language difficulties. 

When used for a short period of time every day, this comfortable headset will help your child hear the sound more clearly, provide them with instant feedback, and help them grow in confidence as they see their articulation skills rapidly improve. 

Within just a few weeks, you’ll see why speech therapists, language therapists, educators, and parents trust Forbrain. Find out more here

Final Words

If your child struggles to pronounce the /s/ sound or /s/ sound blends, use the word lists, short phrases, sentences, games, and activities we’ve shared here alongside our patented Forbrain headset

You’ll see an improvement in their articulation, confidence, and communication skills in just 10 minutes per day and help them fulfill their future potential. 

Charlotte Witts

Charlotte is a linguistics graduate, ESL teacher and parent who is passionate about sharing her expertise in speech therapy, language acquisition and second-language learning so everyone can reach their full potential.

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