Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

A child needs to develop phonological awareness in order to learn to read and write. Before they can learn about phonics (the individual units of sound and their symbolic representation) and learn to blend phonemes together to form words, there are some early phonetic skills they need to have. These include alliteration, rhyme and onset and rime.

Alliteration – this means that children can hearing the same sound at the start of words, e.g. they begin to recognise that ball, bat, bed and bath start with the same sound

Rhyme – this means that children can hear when the end sounds in two word are the same, e.g. king and ring.

Onset and rime – this means children are able to hear that a word can be split into its initial sound (onset) and the chunk of sound (comprising a vowel and one or more letter sounds) that come after it e.g. ‘b’ and ‘at’ for bat, or ‘ch’ and ‘air’ for chair.

For more details on teaching children rhyme, have a  look at the following websites:

This activity aims to help children begin to identify rhymes.

Equipment required

  • rhyming flash cards

Training Videos

Guess The Rhyme-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Phonics Rhyming – Guess The Rhyme-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


  •  2 to three weeks

How it works

The children help the class leader to identify rhymes using pictures.

What to do in the class

Sit the class in a circle around you. You could start the activity with a simple rhyme:

We’re going to play a game

With words that sound the same

We’re going to learn to rhyme

And have a fun time!

Show them a picture of something such as a tree. Ask the children to say the word and listen to way the word sounds. Lay the picture in front of you so you can still see it. Now show another pictures of something that rhymes with it (e.g. a bee). Get the children to identify the picture and explain that it sounds similar to the first one. Show both pictures and say both words and get the children to repeat. Repeat with another rhyming word. See if the children can think of something else that rhymes.

Stick to the same rhyming family for a few weeks.

If the children catch on quickly, you can add another picture which doesn’t rhyme and ask them about that one.

Or play ‘Is It A …’ Have the children in a circle around you. Have multiple sets of 2 or 3 rhyming cards, e.g. a picture of a ring, king and a swing. Show the children each of the pictures and ask what they are and get them to say the words. Explain that they sound very similar because they have the same ending – ‘ing’. Now start the game – show the picture of the ring and say to the children “Is it a king” and teach the children to reply “No it’s a ring”. Then show the picture of the swing and ask “Is it a ring?” and the children reply “No it’s a swing.” Point out both thing rhyme. Repeat with another set of cards e.g. “Is it a tree? No it’s a bee!”

In the picture resource file there are pictures for each of these objects in their rhyming family:

car star jar
frog dog log
pen hen ten men
ring swing king spring string wing
fox socks box rocks clocks blocks
tree three sea pea bee key tea
rat cat mat fat hat bat
blow crow sew toe slow go mow bow row grow throw snow
chair hair stair bear pear square
chain train plane rain crane cane drain stain


Adaptation for older/younger children

This activity is only suitable for verbal children

What to do in a nursery setting

No adaptation is necessary