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Playing with Words Through Rhyming

December 12, 2009

Rhyming prepares children for beginning reading by “playing” with the letter sounds. In order to rhyme, children need to be able to hear the different letter sounds in words and be able to change the beginning sound to make a new word. Poems, nursery rhymes, jump rope jingles… all help make rhyming fun when playing with words.


Rhyming Activities

Rhyming Word Picture Cards

rhyming cards PDF

1. Start with two pictures of objects that rhyme and one that doesn’t for your daughter to pick from.

three cards – figure out which two rhyme

2. Lay the pictures on the table.

3. Say the name of each object.

So for our example, say: zip    mop    lip

– Sometimes the picture of an object may seem obvious to you but may not be to your child. For example, the picture of the zipper, we want to use the word zip to rhyme with lip.

– Sometimes children need more help. If you notice your child looking for more information, you can model what to do by saying two of the words together.  So for our example, say:

zip mop then pause
zip lip pause
mop lip pause

This gives her more time to process the information.
As she gets more comfortable with the skill, you can add more cards. Check out this game too! Rhyming Pairs Learning Cards by Carson-Dellosa

Jump Rope Chants

Combining movement and chanting a rhyming verse is not only great fun, but is also a great brain exercise. There are numerous chants online, great books available or for the fun of it you can write one with your daughter! All you need is a willingness to be silly. It can be about any topic and it doesn’t even have to make sense, it just has to rhyme! Easy peasy!

Anna Banana: 101 Jump Rope Rhymes
Miss Mary Mack and Other Children’s Street Rhymes
Double Dutch

Puzzle Cards

rhyming puzzle cards PDF

  1. Make puzzles with pictures of objects that rhyme (pig/wig) on each side of a 3×5 card.

    rhyming puzzle cards

  2. Then make cuts between the pictures that are unique for each card or download our cards PDF.
  3. Start with only a few cards to start (3-5) so she won’t be overwhelmed.

    match the two halves of the puzzle

  4. Have her match the pictures that rhyme. If the pieces fit together, it’s a match!
  5. These are some fun rhyming games to give your daughter some additional practice.
    Rhyming Words Puzzles
    Simple Puzzle Pairs – Rhyming Words

Re-enforcement Activities

  • Concentration Game
    Using our cards PDF or your own, put the cards face down. She can turn over 2 cards, if they rhyme she can keep them. If they don’t rhyme, she must put them back in the same place. Game rules.
  • Bingo
    Make up Bingo cards PDF with rhyming pictures. A way to mix them up so your daughter doesn’t memorize the words on the Bingo card is to tape copies of the rhyming picture cards onto the bingo card, using different picture cards each time you play. Rhyming Bingo
  • Crossword puzzles
    If your daughter is reading, you can make a simple crossword puzzle using graph paper PDF. The clues can be: you wear it and it rhymes with cat.
  • Own Rhyming Books
    Make a book for things that rhyme with color words. Each color has a page where she can draw or cut out pictures from magazines of things that rhyme. Or your daughter can make her own book of her favorite rhymes.
  • Make your own games using books you have read together.
    Make any of the above games using words and pictures from a favorite book or character.
  • Rhyming Games:
    Kids’ Magnetic Rhyme Maker Word Kit

    Rhyming Sounds Game
    Educational Insights Chime with Rhyme
    Rhyming Pictures Listening Lotto Game by Carson-Dellosa®

    University Games Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Game


When children begin to rhyme they may say words that are not real words. That’s ok, it’s not about the words it’s about learning to rhyme (saying 2 or more words that have the same ending sound). There was a famous writer that created lots of words that rhymed and weren’t real words. Dr. Suess was his name.

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