Take Time to Rhyme

Goat in a BoatChildren love to play, and when they play with words and the smaller sounds in words, they are developing an early literacy skill called phonological awareness. Recognizing when words rhyme and hearing the beginning sounds of words are parts of this skill set.

Taking words apart into syllables and putting them back together again also contributes to this skill – and that’s exactly what happens when we sing! Babies will babble and coo, while older children will be able to recognize and repeat rhymes and songs.

Check out our Staff Picks for Take Time to Rhyme.


  • Look at the picture on this page. Ask your child, what words rhyme with “goat”? What words rhyme with "cake"? Look for rhymes in books and your environment.
  • Sing with your child, even if you think you can’t carry a tune! "Willowby Walloby Woo, an elephant sat on you. Willowby Walloby Wake, an elephant sat on Jake."
  • Make silly words that sound alike: Michael Michael Motorcycle, Emily Bemily.
  • Select a sound of the day and have fun naming all of your children’s stuffed animals or dolls with names that begin with that day’s sound.
  • Clap out words into their parts or syllables. “Monkey” gets two claps.
  • Help your child make a collage of pictures cut from magazines that focus on one sound, like all words that begin with a “kuh” sound – car, cat, ketchup. (The focus is on the sound the letter makes, not the name of the letter.
  • Play word games that change the first sounds in words.“What word would ‘book’ be if we took off the ‘buh‘ sound and made it a ‘puh’ sound? Pook!”
  • Use these word endings to create rhymes: _ed (red, bed, fed) _at (bat, cat, mat) _ing (bring, sing, ring) _ight (sight, light, fight)


See all of our 6 by 6 Finger Plays & Wordless Picturebook videos

The videos below are particularly great for this 6 by 6 skill.

6 by 6 Finger Plays: Dilly Dilly
6 by 6 Finger Plays: Six Little Ducks
6 by 6 Finger Plays: Little Bunny Foo Foo
6 by 6 Finger Plays: Do Your Ears Hang Low