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Skills Children are Building When They Play Rhyming Games

Skills Children are Building When They Play Rhyming GamesPhoto from Unsplash


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Rhyming is an unavoidable part of raising kids. Whether it is listening to nursery rhymes when your kids are young or reading Dr. Seuss to your kids as a bedtime story. One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish is a staple of every kid’s childhood. However, did you know that rhyming actually is beneficial for your child’s development? There are several ways that playing rhyming games build language skills.

Teaches How Language Works

English is hard. We all have had at least one moment where we look at a word or sentence in English and ask ourselves how in the world this makes sense. Why don’t amber and chamber rhyme or aid and plaid? Navigating English’s… unique grammar rules can be tricky for adults, let alone kids who are learning English.

Rhyming allows children to start noticing patterns with words like how cat, bat, rat, and sat all have the same last two letters and they all have the same ending sound. The more they rhyme, the more patterns they will be able to see. This is a vital step in getting them to understand phonics or the relationship between sounds and letters, which will allow them to become better writers and readers.

Improve Listening Skills

To rhyme well, you need to listen well. Whether it be by listening to nursery rhymes or reading Dr. Seuss, a child’s first exposure to rhyming will always be by listening, and when they are playing rhyming games, they have to listen carefully to all of the words being spoken. This forms critical listening skills that will help them all throughout their life.

Builds Vocabulary

Rhyming exposes kids to new words that they might not hear otherwise and gives kids the opportunity to use those words that don’t come up in day-to-day conversations.

Games You Can Play

I Spy

This classic activity can easily be transformed into a rhyming game. Instead of saying “I spy something blue,” say, “I spy something that rhymes with bat. Yes, hat rhymes with bat.” You can also make up words like, “What rhymes with zair? Yes, hair rhymes with zair.” Your child can also ask you questions to make things more interesting.

This game is great because all it requires is a few brains, so you can play it anywhere, and every new situation allows you to find new ways to rhyme.

Circle Rhyme

For this game, have everyone be in a circle, and go around the circle and each person should say a word that rhymes with the word you started with. For example, “Cat, bat, sat, hat, …” Then when one person can’t think of any other words that rhyme with that initial word, they have to say a word that starts with the same sound as the previous word. “Cat, bat, hat, hood” Then they have to hold up a finger. The game continues until someone has three fingers. The goal of the game is to have the fewest fingers.

Circle Rhyme not only practices rhyming but also alliteration. Plus, it’s fun to see who the real master of rhyming is.

Willaby Wallaby Woo

Willaby Wallaby Woo is a hilarious game for younger kids who are just starting to rhyme. Have everyone sit in a circle and chant:

Willaby Wallaby Woo!
An elephant sat on you!
Willaby Wallaby Wee!
An elephant sat on me!
Willaby Wallaby (say a rhyming name of a child in the circle like Warah)!
An elephant sat on (Sarah)!

The rhyming name will always be the child’s name with a ‘W’ in the beginning. For example, Jason would become Wason. Once Jason’s name is said, he will go lie down in the center of the circle, pretending to be sat on by an elephant. The kids find this to be hilarious. The game would repeat with another child, and Jason will switch with the other kid.

Learn More About Rhyming Games

Rhyming is such a fun and easy way to engage with our kids and help them improve their literacy and phonetic skills. Whether it be through reading books, listening to songs, or playing rhyming games, kids will be benefited by engaging with rhymes. To learn new and exciting ways to rhyme, visit The Learning Experience’s YouTube channel, Bubbles and Friends.

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