Before Kindergarten #13: Familiarity with Rhyming Words Letters Numbers

Time to Rhyme and Play Today?

Strange as it sounds, familiarity with rhyming words gives lot of information about children’s development. It is an important brain milestone.

before kindergarten familiarity with numbers letters rhyming words

One way to explain is to compare rhyming words to a car engine’s sound. A mechanic can tell if a car is running well by listening to the noise when the hood is up. If all parts of the engine are working as they should, the engine almost purrs. In the same way, we can listen to a child’s engine—the brain. Well, we’re not listening to the brain, but to the words a child uses. We can give kids two words like boat and train and ask them to choose which one sounds like coat. “Does boat sound like coat, or does train sound like coat?” The word-noise they choose tells us what’s happening at a brain level.

familiarity with rhyming words

The ability to choose words that rhyme indicates the brain has figured out how language and words work. Each word is made of tiny bits of sounds put together like puzzle pieces. The words hat, bat, cat, rat, sat, have parts that sound the same and a really small bit that’s different. We don’t teach this to kids. They figure it out by themselves. This skilled is called phonological awareness.

If a car engine isn’t ticking along as it should, the mechanic checks it over. One of the items to troubleshoot is if the engine is getting the proper amount and mixture of fuel. The brain is an engine and in the case of rhyming words it too needs fuel. That is, hearing and using lots and lots of words.

Some powerful research discovered that kids hear millions and millions of words a year. (Hart and Risley) Between 3 and more than 10 million. By the time kids are 3 years old, that’s about 10 million to 40 million words. Like the engine and fuel, which brain is going to make the connection? The brain that’s only been exposed to 10 million words, or the one that’s been filled up with 40 million words?

Generally, kids can identify rhymes about the age of 4 years old. In the meantime, the brain needs language fuel. Some simple ways to add brain fuel to make the familiarity with rhyming words brain pathways are:

  • Read books. The same book read over and over does count, but reading a variety of books gives a wider vocabulary. Every now and then, pause and let your child guess the next word.
  • Tell stories. Make up your own stories. Tell about when you were a child, what your brothers and sisters did, what you liked to do. Together, create an adventure for the bus when the driver is a zebra.
  • Have conversations. You may need to supply most of the words when talking to kids. They don’t know as many as we do. You can also have conversations with things. Be the voice of the fork as it talks to the spoon on the table.
  • Talk and eat. Eating meals together as a family is food for bodies and fuel for brains. Kids hear so many words around the table as adults talk to kids and to other adults and kids talk to kids. There’s also a context in these shared conversations that gives a richness to the words. No calories for this icing on the cake.
  • Sing. Songs are another way to use words. Very often, there are rhyming words in the lyrics. Don’t worry about your voice. Kids listen with their hearts.

familiarity with rhyming words

A mechanic doesn’t give an engine flash cards. We don’t instruct an engine how to run. We can’t tell a brain how to make connections and thinking pathways. We can provide the stimulation, the fuel so the brain develops familiarity with rhyming words. For kids, these are experiences and opportunities. The gas mixture needs to be language rich. How do you fill up your child’s brain tank?

B is for Bat, Boo, and Ball: Children and Rhyming

The second letter in the alphabet is B. The letter B starts  the words bat, boo, and ball which are perfect for young children and rhyming play.  About the age of 3, children begin to figure out words that rhyme. Ears and brains need to hear gazillions of words for this ability to develop.

rhyming books for kidsChildren’s books often have text that rhymes and there are wonderful ones for this time of year. In the story Peek-a-WHO by Nina Laden, there are only a few words but it builds on the peek-a-boo game that is is universal and loved by kids. The pages have special holes for looking thru to the next page with a hint for what comes next. This gets kids really involved as they guess the word that rhymes with who, like boo and moo.

rhyming word gamesWe can play word games with kids and just say a long string of words that rhyme, asking them to suggest a few. Here are some made with letters on the fridge to rhyme with bat: cat, sat, mat, vat, hat, and more. Make up a silly story to use the words like: Once upon a time, there was a bat on a hat. A rat put on the hat and sat on the mat. Now, along came a … cat. But what is that? The cat fell in a vat. Oh, drat! And that is that, or maybe not, said Pat.

source: Passionate About Play

This fun and wonderful rhyming box is from Passionate About Play, as shared on one of the pages she follows – Becky’s Treasure Baskets and created by Lynne Pepper. Each of the objects in the box rhymes with one other item and kids say the names of them to find the two that rhyme. This means lots of talking to hear the sounds for whale/snail, car/star, tree/key, truck/duck, and log/dog.

You can make a rhyming game at home. Pick out some of your child’s toys for ones that rhyme. This is a skill that is developing at this age, so it will not always be accurate. You can say the ones that rhyme and play with your child. The brain needs massive amounts of stimulation to understand that words are made of bits of sounds put together like puzzle pieces. This is called phonological awareness and will impact learning to read.

Since it’s fall, take a ball outside and rhyme some more with fall, tall, small, and some other words. This game gets kids movin’ and groovin’.  What are some other fun ideas for children and rhyming?

P.S. Mrs. A invites you to come and play, any day on 123kindergarten, okay?

Super Bowl Half-Time Can Inspire Child’s Play: Drumming

The Super Bowl half-time show started with a drum solo, and the thousands and thousands of people in the stadium loved it, so did millions of fans watching at home. And why not? Drums use rhythm and our entire lives are spent connected to rhythms. Think of heart beats and breathing rates, day and night cycles, and the yearly rotation of seasons. Those are all rhythmic patterns.

importance of rhythmic activities for kidsDrums can inspire a play-of-the-day. They are great fun, natural for kids, and can help them with learning and kindergarten readiness. No matter the age of your child, there will be lots of ways for making sounds by drumming. Kids will use practically anything to be a drum. Babies like to tap on the table, the floor, and other objects that make a noise. Young toddlers love to hit on pots and pans with spoons and make much louder noises. Kids will discover how striking different surfaces can make very different sounds.

Little Sister found that the floor made a much sharper sound than hitting the top of the drum. Older kids can often use both hands and will alternate as they explore and create their own drums.

Drumming is also a very sensory experience for both hearing and touch. Drumming uses many basic musical concepts, such as loud/soft, and fast/slow. These activities also encourage listening and concentrating. For kids that are very interested put on some music with a strong beat and let your child drum along. Or, if you and your child each have a drum, you can play a very simple rhythm which your child can copy, like an echo. Trying to make sounds together is also a fun activity.

The rhythm of the Super Bowl game may not have been what was expected, but Bruno Mars had an awesome drumming rhythm. Where might your child one day be drumming?

Kindergarten Readiness: Rhymes with Snow

Supporting your child to learn skills and strategies for kindergarten readiness can be done with fun, simple activities, such as rhyming words. In the winter, there’s a chance of snow. What words rhyme with snow? Being able to rhyme words is a skill that develops about the age of 4, but in the meantime kids … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Rhymes with Snow

Playground Fun, Learning & Kindergarten Readiness #3

Rhythm is an important concept for many activities and children need lots of rhythmic experiences for math, language, memory, kindergarten readiness, and more. So much of our bodies have a built-in rhythm, such as breathing, heart beat, walking, day-night cycles and others, that adults do not realize that children need to develop an understanding of … Continue reading Playground Fun, Learning & Kindergarten Readiness #3

Kindergarten Readiness: Peel Bananas for Fun & Learning

Today’s kindergarten readiness play-of-the-day for fun and learning is going bananas. Have you heard the Peel Bananas rap? There’s a Youtube video of it below. The words are simple and the rhythm very catchy. Bananas, u-nite! Peel bananas. Peel, peel bananas. Peel bananas. Peel, peel bananas. Slice bananas. Slice, slice bananas. Slice bananas. Slice, slice … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Peel Bananas for Fun & Learning

Kindergarten Readiness ABC`s – R is for Rhyme Time

Once upon a time, we can help children develop kindergarten readiness with words that rhyme. And it will take time for children to be able to rhyme words. Words are tools for communicating to others and for thinking. But words are based on a system of sounds. For instance, the word cat has 3 sounds; … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness ABC`s – R is for Rhyme Time

Kindergarten Readiness – New Year’s Eve Fun and Learning

New Year’s Eve noisemakers are more than fun; they also help celebrate some early learning and kindergarten readiness. Shaking, tapping, drumming and other actions are ways that kids can explore and play with both noise and rhythm. Did you know that rhythm is important for brain development? The brain connections formed through rhythmic activities help … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – New Year’s Eve Fun and Learning

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Talk and Reading

Rock talk is lots of fun and can help kids with kindergarten readiness. In case you hadn’t guessed rock talk is words and rhyming. Being able to rhyme words is a skill that develops about the age of 4, but in the meantime kids need to hear many, many words and be exposed to rhymes. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Talk and Reading

Kindergarten Readiness – June Bugs For Fun and Learning #3

Did you know that asking children about words that rhyme is often included on kindergarten readiness evaluations? Not all kids will be able to rhyme words before they start kindergarten and this tells teachers which ones will need more activities with words and sounds. Why is rhyming words so important? Children need to be able … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – June Bugs For Fun and Learning #3