What do Little Miss Muffet and Humpty Dumpty have in common? They taught generations of young children (like us) how to rhyme. We were learning phonemic awareness and we didn’t even know it!
Phonemic awareness is a fancy term that means that kids understand that words are made up of a series of sounds, put together. It's a critical piece in learning to read. Rhyming helps kids perfect it, plus, rhymes are something kindergarteners are drawn to naturally. For a fun game that uses rhymes, try this activity on for size!
What You Need:
- A bag or pillowcase
- 10 to 20 small objects
- A table
What You Do:
- First things first… Brainstorm a list of small objects that rhyme. Or use this list of common household objects:
It shouldn’t take more than a walk through your child’s room to find everything you need, but you might want to take a trip to your local dollar store if your bag is lacking luster.
- Once you've gotten your objects together, put half of them in your bag and the other half on the table. It's time to play! Invite your child to the game but before you play, take a look at what's on the table and make sure you and your child agree on the same name each of the objects. For example, decide that the hen is going to be called a hen and not a chicken, or that the rug is not going to be called a carpet.
- It's picking time! Have your child close his eyes and reach into the bag to pull out an object. After he pulls something out of the bag, encourage him to look for its rhyme on the table. Once he finds a match, he should say the name of each of the objects aloud.
- Now it’s your turn. You can add a little twist to the game by letting your child "help” you find your match. As you pretend to have difficulty finding a rhyme, say a few possibilities aloud, for example, “Hmm…I know house rhymes with zouse, but where is it?” The sillier you are, the more fun your kindergartener will have trying to help you figure out the correct match.
- After all the objects have been paired up, go back and take turns naming your rhyming pairs. You can even try making up your own song or chant: House/mouse, mouse/house, house and mouse rhyme.
Gina Dal Fuoco has been an elementary school teacher in California for over 12 years, and has also taught English as a foreign language in Italy. Gina is the mother of a toddler and a kindergartener.