When it comes to teaching any phonics skill, my aim is always high engagement. I know if I can snag student attention quickly and hang onto it through our lesson, my kiddos will catch onto our new concept so much more quickly. This is definitely true when it comes to teaching rhyming words. If you’re looking for ways to boost engagement and help students master rhyming words, games will save the day!
Using Games To Teach Rhyming Words
If you’ve been around here for a little while, you likely already know my love of using games in the classroom.
I am all about fostering a love of learning in my littles and games make that task super simple. We use games all day long in the classroom.
You can adapt games for small group settings, use them during whole group meetings and even assign them as center activities.
No matter how you choose to use games, you can count on engagement and excitement in your students when you begin using them regularly!
I have a lot of games in the rotation, but here are my top 5 favorites for working on rhyming words in kindergarten.
1. Rhyming BINGO
Every student LOVES to play BINGO, and so do I! BINGO is great for teaching rhyming words since it involves lots of repetition and the ability to quickly scan the card. In my classroom, we usually play this game during small groups, but it can absolutely be used during whole group time as well! It makes a fun way to review rhyming all year long.
To prep, I like to print and laminate the cards so we can use them over and over. I provide my kiddos with some type of BINGO marker like small erasers, counters, or cubes to cover the board. Alternatively, we also have black and white BINGO cards that can be used with BINGO dauber markers for a fun twist on this activity.
To play, the BINGO caller will pull a word card, read it aloud and children will look for a rhyming word on their card. This is a simple way to strengthen rhyming skills and help children identify rhyming words on their own when looking at pictures.
When we play in small groups, I like to have each child say the name of the word they found aloud to further reinforce rhyming words.
2. I’m Thinking of a Word…
This has to be one of my students’ favorite games of all time. Any type of guessing game always seems to grab their attention and this one is no different. This game can be played with your whole group during the morning meeting or easily used in small groups.
To get started, I print off sets of rhyming word cards (there is a set of cards for both CVC and CVCe words included in my Rhyming Activity Resource). Then, I laminate them and keep them together on a large binder ring. This method makes it easy to store the cards in my circle time cart and grab them anytime we have a few minutes to spare. To play, I will choose a card, read the hints to my students and they take turns guessing the word.
The hints say things like, “I’m thinking of a word that starts with /b/ and rhymes with pat”. My kids LOVE this game so it’s never difficult to get some enthusiasm going when I pull these cards out! I like to sneak this activity in whenever we have a couple of extra minutes to fill between transitions. Typically I’ll ask students to raise their hands with their guesses in the beginning, but once I know my students are more familiar with rhymes, I’ll call on specific kiddos to answer the question.
3. Fruit Salad Rhyming Words Game
This activity is perfect for small groups and will give your students another chance to work on identifying rhyming words on their own.
To play, I print and laminate a set of fruit cards, bowls, and calling cards. Each child gets a bowl mat and I lay the fruit cards out on the table.
I choose a calling card, read the word and then select a student to find a fruit with a rhyming word for the one that was called. They add the fruit to their bowl and begin making a “fruit salad”.
After all the “fruit” has been collected I like to have kiddos pull their cards out and repeat the words they have.
You can extend this activity by asking students to produce a matching word for each card once more.
4. Connect 4 Rhyming Words
I loved Connect 4 as a kid, I mean who didn’t right? This game has a similar concept and is perfect for small groups and centers.
Before we begin playing, I laminate the game boards and grab some counters. To play, I call out words on the calling cards and ask kiddos to find a word that rhymes with that word on their card. If they find a picture of a rhyming word, they cover it up on their card. Once a student has 4 in a row, they win!
This game is quick and easy to play, so we will often play it a few times during small groups. After a kiddo has won, I like to ask them to read the words back to me and name a rhyming word for each one. This offers a bit of an extension to the activity and the opportunity to check in on their ability to produce rhyming words independently.
5. Trash It!
My kiddos LOVE this game! I teach kindergarten, so there’s always a fair bit of giggles when we first introduce this game, which means I can count on engagement!
To play, kiddos say the word for each picture on their strip and then place the trash can on the one that doesn’t rhyme with the other words. This is such a fun and easy way for students to work on hearing those rhyming sounds.
I like to play this game in small groups and have children read out their word strips one at a time. This way, everyone gets a chance to hear a variety of rhyming word sets from their peers. This activity also makes a great center activity.
I like to extend this activity a little further by having kiddos sound out and write each word down in their phonics journal afterward. Depending on the skill level of your students, this might take some prompting to get them started but they typically pick this up pretty quickly! After they write all four words, I have them circle the one that doesn’t belong.
More Games For Rhyming Words
These games are just a few of the ones that I use in my classroom to teach rhyming words. Over the years, I have found that the more variety I use in our games and center activities, the more engagement I can count on. Some of the other games we use, that are part of my Rhyming Games resource, include:
- Feed Me
- Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
- Match It Up
- Match & Cover
- Fluency Board Games
- Rhyming Words Chant
- Rhyming Words Skill Cards
- Pocket Chart Game
Using these games helps my students master rhyming words in a fun way, which is always a win in my book! If you’re looking to add some more rhyming activities to your lesson plan, be sure to check out my Rhyming Activities Resource. This activity pack includes all of the games I mentioned here so you’ll have plenty of options to use during small groups, centers, and whole group time.
Get started with rhyming activities right away with this fun freebie, just for my readers! Simply enter your info below and you’ll be sent a sample game from my Rhyming Activities Resource! Your students will love learning to rhyme with these hands-on games!
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