My son is all about games and challenges and this rhyming tree was just the right amount of learning ( and fun) after a long day at preschool. Whether you homeschool or just add little bits of learning into a day full of errands and play remember that lessons don’t have to be long, they just need to be targeted. This morning as I nursed my daughter my son and I played with rhymes so when he got home I had this tree prepped for him to revisit the rhymes and some new ones too.
- Gather your materials. You will need some sticky back foam( I used up lots of scrap pieces finally), construction paper ( I also used part of a paper bag… I love reusing things), markers , scissor and a glue stick.
- Start by drawing a tree without leaves.
- Write one word on each branch.
- Cut out and glue on the construction paper.
- Write rhyming words on the foam and cut out in the shape of leaves.
- Glue the tree on the paper.
- Add one rhyming fool . Peel and stick the words onto the rhyming branches. This isn’t a quiet time activity because I added some words to spark discussion like pair and pear as well as said which he recognizes in books but I suspected ( correctly) that out of context he doesn’t recognize. So even a little lesson( or game as my son calls it) like this can let me talk about homonyms and check on his sight words stress free.
- He loved it and laughed hysterically at me when I asked if I could add one becuase I was SURE that chair and bee rhymed. Another reason to stay and play… giggles! When we were done he counted up all the words on each branch to see which branch won. Yay a little math too !
The best part about learning to read are these games and play that becomes possible so don’t forget to make words a game…even if there is a lesson or two hidden inside.
Rhyming is an important component to learning to read, specifically phonological awareness ( or the knowledge of sounds letters in words make) and it’s also really fun! This game is designed to work with word families , working on reading ( decoding unfamiliar words) and rhyming. For children not yet at this level of learning to read this game can be adapted using pictures. That way they can still group and sort by rhyme without the frustration of trying to decode words they are not able to yet.
- Gather your materials. You will need some baby food jars or other containers, popsicle sticks, masking tape and markers.
- I started by writing the words to match to on the tape. I find it easiest to put the tape on the table , write then rip it off. You may want to use painters tape like I did if you do it this way. If all you have is regular old masking tape , write it on the roll, then rip off. Add it to your jar.
- Now write the words on the sticks. I started by doing it right onto the stick, and it ran weird. Learning to read is hard enough let’s not make it harder with weird writing… so instead…
- I wrote it on more tape and wrapped it on the end of a stick. I wrote some words starting with uppercase and some with lowercase. I did this deliberately because my son was asking if they make different sounds. I put them both in to show him that the word still sounds the same.
- Time to play. Games and activities like this should be marketed to your kids as that , play. If these tasks aren’t fun try to find some way to make it fun or find other tasks they like and adapt. When learning is attached to play , the lessons stick and learning is fun not a daunting task.
- Encourage them to say the words out loud to match up the sounds. Here he is saying the words out loud to see if they rhyme… these did not.
- Keep sounding them out and matching them up.
- Soon he could hear and see the patterns , which was super cool.
Even if your child iosn’t ready for this activity, take time to be silly and talk in rhyme with them and read books with rhyming texts. It’s such a fun part of language !
Books That Rhyme
How Big Is a Pig? by Claire Beaton has fast become a favorite in our house around bedtime. I love the felt illustrations, the detail amazes me and helps distract me from noticing that I have read it 20 times in as many minutes. The story itself is great too, it focuses on opposites in the farm yard with a zippy rhyming text.
Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! by Sandra Boynton is a cute little book about opposites with dinosaurs as it’s characters. This is a good book for little people who love dinosaurs but aren’t really ready to dive into facts about dinosaurs yet. The melodic rhyming text and adorable pictures appeals to younger toddlers, and on the page where the dinosaurs are called bad for painting on their friends made both me and my son laugh.
My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis is a fun book full of great rhymes and funny illustrations from Daniel Kirk. The story is simple a truck is stuck and even though other vehicles come to help, nothing budges until a tow truck arrives. The best part is the cargo of bones in the truck are slowly stolen by hungry gophers while the others work to free the truck. It’s got a great message about helping people and the illustrations make me giggle, especially the guy in the moving van who is blowing bubbles. I have never understood that but it makes me laugh.
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduced musical instruments in it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the back with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it .
A Poem of Love
(To My Stinky Poo Mud-Pie)
By: Mr. Muffins with assistance from Mr. Duckworth
From afar I’ve admired and watched you for long.
In my heart I now hear the most ghastly of song.
Your face is so ugly, like the Man they call Booger.
But Booger Man is boogery, you are pure sugar.
Your eyes are the greenest, as green as can be.
The green shade one turns when sick out at sea.
Your voice, oh how perfect! A racket to hear.
Like a laughing hyena who belches root beer.
I love how you smell; dirty socks in a pair.
There never has been a foul odor so fair.
But unlike dirty socks that split up in two.
Not a thing in this world could split me from you.
If you promise me love, I promise my all.
Together we’ll be happier than Sasquatch is tall.
In me you can trust, so please do not worry.
Together we’ll be happier than Sasquatch is furry.
If you knew I existed I’m sure you’d agree
Of the ugliest uglies, your choice would be me.
For in this land there’s no monster so true.
Believe when I say “you’re my nightmare come true.”
For more awesome poetry, puppetry, and illustrations pop over to
Thank you Jeff!