Practicing rhythm and rhyme is one of the first steps toward phonemic awareness proficiency. Listening to and reacting to rhymes hones students' auditory skills, which are imperative to reading and spelling. The goal of the activities below is to understand and attend to rhymes while also practicing rhythm. These activities will help students develop solid auditory and discrimination awareness.
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs, raps
Share nursery rhymes with the students. When they become familiar, encourage children to insert the rhyming word at your pause. You can find printable nursery rhymes on this website.
Clap a simple rhythm and ask your students to clap it back to you.
Read familiar nursery rhymes to the student but change several words to make nonsense rhymes.
- Hickory Dickory Dock, the mouse ran up the sock.
- Humpty Dumpty sat on a ball.
- Baa, baa, purple sheep.
- Hey, Diddle, Diddle, the bat, and the fiddle.
Clap the Rhythm
Use familiar nursery rhymes and clap the rhythms.
Body Name Game
Point to parts of your body (visual cue), say a rhyming word, and your students should say the body part. ("I'm pointing to my leg. When I say beg, you say leg.")
On Our Street
This is a rhyming chant set to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus. Tell children to listen carefully for the clues in the chant to determine what the mystery rhyming word is.
On our street, we have a store
Have a store, have a store
On our street, we have a store
What rhymes with store?
Have children respond with a rhyming word (you can use picture cards for support.) Many words can be used with this tune, e.g.: tree, house, dog, lamp, fence.
Production: Erase a Rhyme
Draw a picture on a whiteboard. Say a word that rhymes with one of the objects you drew. Students take turns erasing the object that rhymes.
Point to the object and say its name before the student erases it.
You will need rhyming picture cards for the next three activities, which you could print from Google images or this website.
Use the picture cards to make puzzle pieces. Cut one side of each picture in a zig-zagged edge to make puzzle pieces that fit together. Show two picture cards. Say their names. Ask students if they rhyme. When they guess, put the pieces together to see if they match.
Rhyming Picture Cards
Layout three picture cards, two of which rhyme. Have the student name the pictures and identify which rhyme. Make the game easier by placing the rhyming cards next to each other, or harder by separating the rhyming cards with another card.
Variations:Hand each student one picture card and sit in a circle holding them. Go around the circle with one picture card which matches one of the students and ask each child if their picture is a "match" (do they rhyme?). Say each picture and when the child responds, check their answer (if correct, the student keeps both pictures; if not, move on to the next student). Once finished, ask each child to say their picture names.
Recognition: Rhyming Match Game
Cut out the picture cards and put them in a bowl or basket with the corresponding mat. Children will take a card from the bowl and find the matching rhyming word on the mat.
Written by Ingrid Hartig
Ingrid is a Master Instructor with Brainspring’s Educator Academy
Brainspring has proudly supported the educational community for more than 25 years.