Trying to find some y words for kids? Well, yippee! Hopefully, this post will yield a lot of y words for your youthful youngsters!
Y is the next to last letter in the alphabet and can be challenging for kids to grasp. Not only does writing this letter take time to learn, the letter itself comes with four different sounds!
However, don’t let that intimidate you. There are lots of y word options and some great y word vocabulary to get you started.
Also, stick around till the end to check out the free y word learning pack.
The Four Sounds of Y
The letter Y is a tricky letter to teach because it comes with multiple sound options. In fact, there are four sounds of y!
Not only that, but it can serve as a consonant OR a vowel! Check out the four sounds of y:
The four sounds of Y:
- /y/ as in yellow
- /ī/ as in my
- /ē/ as in baby
- /ǐ/ as in gym
Now to figure out which y sound to use. If the y is at the beginning of a word it will commonly use the /y/ sound. However, when it is at the end of a word, it will use one of the two long vowel sounds: /ī/ or /ē/.
To determine which long vowel sound to choose at the end of a word, follow this rule: for words with one syllable use the /ī/ sound (shy, try, cry, buy) and for words with two syllables use the /ē/ sound (happy, baby, puppy).
Note: As with most of the English language rules, there are some exceptions to y rules. In this case, “rely” and “reply” are examples of this.
The last sound of y, typically shows up in the middle of words and makes the short /ǐ/ sound as in gym, pyramid, syrup, system, and typical.
Y Words for Preschool
First, for teaching the letter y to preschoolers, focus on letter recognition. Do some letter recognition activities for uppercase and lowercase y and simply take the time to learn what why looks like.
This is also a great time to do some simple prewriting activities where kids work on holding a pencil and practice drawing diagonal lines that will eventually be used in forming the letter y.
As you introduce letter y for preschoolers and give them a sound associated with the word, I recommend that you give them the /y/ sound (yellow, yucky, yummy) first.
Let me give you some examples of easy preschool words that start with y along with a few sentences for reference:
Words that begin with y for preschool:
- Yellow – I held the yellow balloon by its string.
- You – You are such a nice person.
- Yes – Yes, I can come to your party on Saturday.
- Yum – Yum! This cake tastes great!
- Yell – I like to yell when I am outside on the playground.
Y Words for Kindergarten Kids
By kindergarten, kids typically recognize the letter y and probably familiar with its /y/ sound. During this time, they will start to come across sight words that don’t use the same /y/ sound; words like my, by, or cry and realize that the letter y comes with some other sounds.
For this age, you can simply let them know that letter y can make a few different sounds and leave it at that. (They will need to know their vowels and consonants and what syllables are before exploring the letter y rules for spelling and sounds.)
Words that begin with y for Kindergarten:
- Your – Your dog has brown, fluffy, fur.
- Yarn – My mom bought yarn for her craft project.
- Yellow – His shirt is yellow with green stripes.
- Yak – A yak is a very large mammal.
- Yucky – The garbage smelled yucky.
Sight Words that end with y for Kindergarten:
- My – My sister is two years younger than I.
- By – I will come by your house after school.
- Try – I will try to finish my homework before dinner.
- Cry – I thought I might cry when my friend moved away.
Three Letter ‘Y’ Words for Beginning Readers
For early readers, here are some CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) word choices as well as some three letter sight words using the letter y.
CVC words that begin with y
- Yes – When I asked my mom if I could visit you, she said yes.
- Yam – I like baked yam with butter and salt.
- Yak – The yak grazed in the open field.
- Yap – I heard the dog yap.
- Yum – Yum! I love this ice cream.
- Yaw – Yaw horse!
- Yay – Yay! We are having pizza for dinner
- Yip – My dog might yip when he sees you.
Three letter words that end with y
- Way – I know the way.
- Cry – Please don’t cry.
- Try – I will try to finish my project tonight.
- Say – Remember to say ‘hi’ to our guests.
- Fry – We will fry the fish in oil.
- Sky – The sky is big and blue.
- Hay – Horses eat hay.
- Icy – The icy wind made me shiver.
- May – May I go to the park?
- Ray – Her smile is like a ray of sunshine.
- Toy – I will share my toy.
- Boy – The boy next-door is very nice.
- Day – This is the day I go to the dentist.
Y Words for Elementary Kids
Now for elementary kids! This is a list of common elementary y words you can explore with your students.
Elementary words that begin with y
- Young – The young calf lingered by its mother.
- Yeast – The yeasts helps the bread to rise.
- Yard – There are three feet in a yard.
- Yogurt – My mom made yogurt from the leftover milk we got from our cow.
- Yield – We hope our garden will yield a lot of produce this year.
- Yoke – The wooden yoke bound the working oxen together.
- Yolk – For breakfast, I like my eggs to have runny yolk.
- Yesterday – Yesterday I went to the fair with my sister.
- Yellowjacket – The Yellowjacket stung me on my arm and left a red bump.
- Yawn – I start to yawn every time I get tired.
- Youth – The youth group enjoyed going on field trips together.
- Yardstick – We have a yardstick that we use to measure things around that house.
Elementary words that end with y
- Say – Will you listen to what I say?
- Any – Any type of flower will look nice in the vase.
- Boy – The boy went fishing with his dad.
- Way – Please move out of the way.
- Why – Why did the chicken cross the road?
- Day – What day of the week is it?
- Baby -The baby cried all night.
- Very – Jane was very disappointed that she could not attend the party.
- Play – I like to play with my friends.
- Only – I have only one pair of blue shoes.
- Away – My dad is going away on a trip.
- Stay – I want to stay home and read a book.
- Pray – I will pray that you get feeling better soon.
- Pony – We have a pony in our barn.
- Tiny – Babies have tiny fingers.
- Tidy – My mom asked me to tidy the house before our guest arrived.
- Lazy – The lazy dog laid on the the porch all morning.
- Today – I am going to school today.
- Enjoy – I always enjoy ice cream the most.
- Early – She got up early to milk the cows.
- Every – Every day is a gift.
Advanced Y Words for Kids
Ready for some words that begin with y that might interest your advanced learners? Here are a few, not-so-familiar, y words you could share with your students.
- Yarmulke – I passed a man on the sidewalk who was wearing a yarmulke.
- Yeoman – James was a high ranking yeoman who served King Henry.
- Yawp – When the children heard the thunder, they would yawp with fear.
- Yucca – The Yucca plant is part of the Agave family.
- Yarrow – My Native Americans used the root of a yarrow plant to help numb pain.
- Yielded – Our orchard yielded an abundance of apples this year.
- Yesteryear – Grandma spoke fondly of yesteryear and shared her favorite memories.
The Ultimate Y Words for Kids (List and Definitions)
- Ye – The old-fashioned way of saying ‘you’.
- You – a pronoun for one or many persons
- Yes – to agree to
- Yak – an ox
- Yam – A type of potato
- Yap – A loud, sharp, consistent bark
- Yell – to shout really loud
- Yen – Currency used in Japan
- Yarn – string used for knitting and crochet
- Yeti – a mythical snow creature
- Yearn – to long for or want something badly.
- Young – a child or youth
- Yours – Something that belongs to you.
- Yucky – An expression for saying something is gross or it doesn’t taste good.
- Yeast – type of fungus
- Yummy – An expression for saying something tastes good.
- Yoke – A bar that joins to working animals together
- Yard – A unit of measurement (3 feet)
- Yield – to produce or bring forth a crop or product
- Yearly – Something that occurs every year
- Yolk – The yellow, middle portion of an egg.
- Younger – more young
- Yielded – to produce or bring forth a crop or product (past tense).
- Yardstick – A stick that is a yard long and is used for measuring.
- Yellow – A color like as sun, daffodils, or lemons.
- Yelled – To yell or scream (past tense).
- Yule log – A special log selected to be used at a Christmas Eve celebration.
- Yogurt – A smooth edible treat made from curdled milk and often flavored.
- Yucca – A plant that is part of the Agave family of plants.
- Yoga – A Hindu philosophy and form of exercise that incorporates mind, body, and will.
- Yacht – A type of boat
- Yuppie – A young, educated, well-payed person living in luxury.
- Yo-yo – A round toy that slides up and down on a string directed by its user.
- Yesterday – The day before today.
- Yarrow – An herb with fern-like leaves
- Yodel – A type of singing that switches between falsetto and chest voice.
- Yodeler – One who yodels
- Yesteryear – last year or in past years
- Yarmulke – A cap worn by Orthodox Jew males.
- Yech – a noise of disgust or distaste.
- Yokel – Someone from a very rural or country area.
- Younglings – Someone or something that is young.
- Yawp – A loud, intense yell or cry.
- Yippee – a cry of great delight.
- Yeoman – A royal officer.
- Yearbook – A book containing pictures, information, and memories from the past year.
- Yabby – An Australian Crayfish
- Yellowjacket – A type of wasp.
- Yurt – A tent-like structure that people live in.
- Yawn – a natural reaction to tiredness.
- Yowl – A deep, long cry similar to a howl.
- Youth – The time period in someones life between childhood and adulthood
- Youngster – A person who is young
- Yeah – A casual way of saying yes.
10 Letter Y Activities for Kids
(This list of ideas contains Amazon Affiliate Links.)
- Letter Y Practice Pack – Get the free Inspire the Mom printable Letter Y Practice Pack that is available in the free resource library. This learning pack includes letter y practice pages for preschoolers, vocabulary lists, letter tracing cards (print and cursive), as well as a complete y words list.
- Letter Y Crafts – For letter recognition practice, you could do some fun letter y crafts for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
- Letter Y Picture Booklist – What better way to learn more about y than read some picture books for letter y?
- Letter Y Coloring Pages – Do your kids enjoy coloring? Download some free letter y coloring sheets and let them get started.
- Montessori Letter Formation Sand Tray – For your kinesthetic learner, practice forming the letter y in a tray of sand. (An alternative to the Montessori sand tray is to put sugar or cornmeal in a shallow baking dish and have your kids write the letter using their finger.)
- Sensory Spelling Activities for Letter Y – From string to trampolines, check out this long list of sensory spelling games you can play with your kids to practice their y words.
- Make a Word Wall for Your Y Words – Words walls for sight words are common but you can make word walls for any group of words, including Y words. Once you get your y word wall in place, have fun trying a variety of word wall activities with your new words.
- Play Word-Related Board Games – For your upper elementary aged kids, pull out your favorite word-related board games like Scrabble, Scattergories, or Boggle. These types of games can be fun practice for learning new y-letter words.
- Write a Y Word Poem – Do your kids enjoy writing poetry? Why not write an acrostic poem using a y word? Or come up with a creative stanza from a list of vocabulary words that begin with y? (Check out these 7 types of poetry for kids to get you started.)
- Learn a Letter Y Song (video) – Have your little ones watch, listen, and learn a letter y song video. (Songs are awesome for preschoolers who are working on letter recognition and letter sounds.)
FREE Letter Y Learning Pack
Interested in a free Letter Y Learning Pack? This pack contains letter y learning pages for preschool through elementary, including a printable ultimate y word list. All you have to do is sign in with Grow for this exclusive content!
Get it NOW!
What are you favorite Y words for kids?
*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.