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.

This activity aims to help children begin to identify rhymes.

Equipment required

  • Laminated pictures

Link to resources

Training Videos

Sort It Out-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.


  • Two to three weeks

How it works

Children run to pictures on the wall of the hall as they are called out by the instructor. Each picture is of a different object but the names of the objects all rhyme.

What to do in the class

Put 6 – 8 pictures of things that rhyme on the wall. Start by saying the end sound of the group of words you are looking at that day, e.g. ‘at’ or ‘all’. Say it a few times and get the children to repeat the sound back to you. Point out the shape of their mouth as they say it. Explain they are going to find some words that all make that same sound. Go around each of the pictures in the hall and tell the children (don’t wait for them to tell in case they use a different word which doesn’t rhyme which could be confusing) what each of the pictures are of. Get the children to say the word a few times, then go back to the rhyming sound and point out that the word has the same rhyme. Move on to the next picture. Bring the children to the middle and point to all the pictures in turn and ask the children to say the words with you so they hear them as one long list. Now call out one of the rhyming words and the children have to find it and run to it. All say the word together to experience the rhyme. Repeat with another of the words.

As they get to understand the game, you can occasionally call out a word that doesn’t rhyme and whose picture is not up there. You could carry Ralph with you for this exercise and say that Ralph is going to give us a word and he could whisper the wrong word to you. This will help cue the children in to when a word that doesn’t rhyme might be said so they are listening out for it. Teach the children when this happens to shout back at you “That doesn’t rhyme Ralph!”

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 sing 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