Rhyming is such a fun part of early literacy for teachers and students., which is why I created this The Mitten rhyming activity. A little silliness goes a long way in an early childhood classroom. Rhyming encourages students to play with sounds they hear in words, kids get instantly engaged, and everyone seems to have fun when we are rhyming, even if they aren’t quite able to solo yet.
This year I have a multi-aged class, and as I teach lessons focused on specific skills, I try to make sure I am addressing the needs of the most skilled rhymers in my class and the children who are still learning to differentiate sounds in words. What I have discovered works best with my students is this – use recorded lessons for an activity, then reinforce it with at-home lessons ( as simple as sending this pdf home for a hands-on match game) and in a small group my older students. The pre-recorded lesson I share in a video below allows older students to engage while introducing younger ones to rhyming. This mitten rhyming match game allows children to hear both the words that DO rhyme and words that don’t. For the skilled rhymers, they are likely yelling out the rhyme as soon as they see the images. The younger ones follow along and develop a discerning ear to rhymes as we give them examples of what does and doesn’t rhyme. Rhyming isn’t just about discriminating final sounds. It’s also about developing the skill of breaking words down into sounds. Both are vital for literacy development, making rhyming an important building block for your students. Read below for multiple ways of using this The Mitten rhyming activity at home, in person at preschool, and virtually with remote preschool.
The Mitten by Jan Brett is such a sweet book about a mitten that somehow keeps stretching as more and more animals crawl inside. That is until the bear sneezes! The illustrations are busy in a beautiful way that will have your children finding new things every time you read this book. The amazing thing about this book is how it appeals to such a range of ages. My classroom of 2 and 3-year-olds read this book the same week my son told me he had. He was 8! It’s a lovely book and one of my very favorite winter books to read.
How To Use The Mitten Rhyming Match Game
After printing out, the mittens cut out and add magnets.
I use a cookie sheet when filming a lesson or in a small group, but if I were doing this activity for circle time, I’d use my magnet board you see behind me. Okay. Let’s get to all the ways to use this free printable!
Circle Time Lesson for The Mitten
This activity has children matching the rhymes as a group. You will need to use multiple copies of the printable. After reading the book, ask your students if they are ready to help you find the matching pairs of mittens.
Explain that you have the mittens for the left hand, but you need their help to find the right-hand mittens. Now, in real life, mittens are matches when they LOOK the same, but for this game, you will use your eyes and ears to find the matches. You are looking for rhyming pairs. Take time now to review what rhyming means if they need a refresher. Next, hand out right-hand mittens to the children. Yes, there will be some duplicates. That is fine. You keep the left-hand mittens.
Time to play. Hold up or place the left-hand mitten on the board and say what animal is pictured on it. ” Mole.” Now ask all the children to say out loud what picture they have on the mitten. Ask do any of those words rhyme? Yes, bowl! If you have a bowl on your mitten, please come up and pop it on the board. The children who do will get up and place their mitten on the board while repeating the rhyme, mole/bowl.
The Mitten Small Group Rhyming Activity
In a small group, I would use a cookie sheet and give each child a full set of mittens. Have one of yourself too. Place all the left-hand mittens on the sheet and give each child the right-hand mittens to spread out in front of them. Play together – let’s see, can you find the mitten that rhymes with bear? Match and repeat.
Recorded Lesson for The Mitten
For recorded lessons, I try to channel my inner Dora The Explorer – I speak to the camera like I am talking over facetime, pause, and react like I am having a conversation. The actual lesson isn’t that different than a small group or circle time. Still, I say more of the rhymes out loud since I cannot see or hear if my students are actually saying them, and I want to make sure they are listening to the difference between words that do and don’t rhyme. Here is a video of me doing the lesson after reading the book on a pre-recorded video my students will watch.
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Scaffolding this Rhyme Matching Activity
An easy way to make this activity easier for children who have not yet become skilled at rhyming is to use crayons or markers to color the mitten cuff. Using the same colors for the pairs. This is an easy way to help the child match the sounds. No matter what, make sure the children are saying the sounds out loud even if they cannot match them independently yet. They may be using the colors to match, but they will still be learning about rhyming if they say “bear, chair, mole, bowl,” etc…