Rhyming is a helpful first step toward phonemic awareness. When children play with rhymes, they listen to the sounds within words and identify word parts. For example, the /at/ sound in the word mat is the same /at/ sound in cat, rat, sat, and splat. Children typically learn to recognize rhyming words first and generate their own rhymes later. It is important to recognize that these skills are not always learned on a schedule. For some children, recognizing rhyme can be difficult. You can use different games to help develop children’s rhyming skills. Simon Says Rhyme:
“Simon says, took, look, book are words that rhyme.” If players recognize and say that the words rhyme, they can take one step forward toward a designated finish line. Simon can also say “Simon says, pig, pie, pole are words that rhyme.” If players recognize and say that the words do not rhyme, they can take one step forward. When Simon tricks players by not saying “Simon says,” players have to take a step backwards. Keep playing until everyone crosses the finish line.
Get kids to stretch their rhyming muscles! When you call out a word, your child has to think of the body part that rhymes with that word and then touch it. Model a few examples: I say “jelly” then you touch your (belly) and I say “hear” then you touch your (ear). Then do the workout with your child! Call out the rhyming word: I say “snow” then you touch your _____ and then say the rhyme together as you both move – “snow, toe!” Go through as many body parts as you can (feet, knees, head, arm, hand, cheek, hair, neck, back, etc.) Keep your child thinking and moving by changing up the rhyming words when you repeat body parts (grow, toe).
Rhyming I Spy:
Invite children to look around the room and find an object that rhymes with wall, or clock, or door, or light!
Rhyming Quick Draw:
Draw one quick illustration on the board or on paper for all students to see. For example, you could draw a frog. Then invite the children to guess what rhyme you will draw next. Log, dog, or fog? This game encourages children to continue brainstorming rhyming words!
Create or print off rhyming picture card. Place them turned upside down for this game. Start small with just 3 sets (6 cards) and go from there to help challenge their memory. The students can play in small groups or with the teacher/parent. Have the child flip over two cards. Then, invite the child to say both words aloud and then help them decide if those words rhyme. Play until all the cards have been matched!
Make your own or print off rhyming cards. Invite students to sort the picture card sets by words that rhyme/do not rhyme. Use a pocket chart or a tabletop to play game.
Arrange the children in a circle and give each child a rhyming picture card. Invite the preschoolers to find the partner who has a rhyming picture. Repeat and play again!
(Some games I play in my classroom. Some games I found through PBSKids articles for families)