From read-aloud books to television jingles to crazy tongue twisters, rhyming words can instruct or entertain kids of all ages. Let your kids try this rhyming poetry game, and see how much they learn while they’re busy playing with words!
In this game, children become beggar poets who earn their living by creating clever word pairs and short rhyming poems. If one of your youngsters has a hard time finding words, don’t wait until he’s frustrated—let him think for a few minutes, then help him choose from a word list in a rhyming dictionary.
You need currency for this game, so pick something you have plenty of on hand. You could use:
- Pennies and nickels
- Monopoly money
- Bright buttons, beads, dried beans, or even paperclips!
Now, prepare a list of words your children must rhyme—at least four words for each child. Take age into consideration when writing your word list:
- One-syllable words for kindergarteners and first graders (see, cry, bug, light)
- Two-syllable words for second and third graders (raccoon, singing, couches, cuddle)
- Three-syllable words for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders (lemonade, telescope, underground, evergreen)
A Penny, Please: Rhyming Words
The game begins with a lively conversation. Feel free to catch up on washing dishes or folding laundry while you recite your part:
Children: Rhymes for sale! Rhymes for sale!
Mom: Little beggars, what do you want today?
Children: We’re selling rhymes! Haven’t you heard? Do you need a rhyme for your favorite word?
Mom: Let me see…. I do need a rhyme for “bug.”
Children: Rug! Snug! Plug! Pug!
Mom: Thank you, that’s just what I needed today. Here are pennies for everyone.
A Dollar Earned: Rhyming Poems
Now, ask each child to write a short rhyming poem with the word pairs they just created. Suggest one of these simple rhyme patterns:
I open my eyes and suddenly see (A)
A creature staring back at me. (A)
Six tiny legs make others cry (B)
But I am brave—my eyes are dry. (B)
Before I catch this tiny bug, (C)
It starts to run across the rug. (C)
Then I flip on the amber light (D)
And, oh! That gives my bug a fright! (D)
I dreamed I was a shy raccoon (A)
In moonlit branches singing. (B)
I laughed at lightning, hail, monsoon, (A)
And in the trees kept swinging. (B)
My raccoon house had comfy couches (C)
Where small raccoons could cuddle. (D)
Our blankets were in sturdy pouches, (C)
Until I dropped them in a puddle. (D)
AAB CCB DDB
I bought a pint of lemonade– (A)
Just before the big parade– (A)
And hid it underground. (B)
You looked into your telescope (C)
And watched for deals on cantaloupe (C)
But fruit was nowhere to be found. (B)
We climbed a sturdy evergreen (D)
And shared the juice from my canteen (D)
With lemon drops to go around. (B)
A Poet’s Reward
When a child completes his rhyming poem, pay a “dollar” in return. It doesn’t matter if the poems are silly or fanciful. The goal of this poetry game is to teach a love for words and a better grasp of syllables and meter.
Finally, your beggar poets have earned their day’s wages. Let them buy lunch, snacks, or desserts from your kitchen. And, while they’re busy munching away, encourage them to think of words for Mom to rhyme tomorrow!
Discover Other Poetry Lessons
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella also blogs at www.waterlilywriter.com.
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