“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great… FALL!”

“The itsy, bitsy spider crawled up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider… OUT!”

It’s nearly impossible to resist finishing a rhyme. Playing rhyming games with your child is just one way you can continue their learning and development at home. Simple wordplay games use the sounds of spoken language to prepare them for learning to read.

I Spy

Remember playing “I Spy” as a kid? This fun version helps children practice blending onset-rime. Onset is the first sound of a word and the rime is the rest of the word. For instance, /d/…/og/ – dog.

For this game, pick a one syllable word and give your child the first sound (onset), pause, and then the rime (rest of the word) and see if they can blend them together. For example:

  • I spy a /c/…/at/ – your child should say, “cat!”
  • I spy a /ch/…/air/ – child says, “chair!”
  • I spy a /r/… /ug/ – child says, “rug!”

You can also adapt this game to focus on the ending sounds of words:

  • I spy something that ends with /g/ and it barks
  • I spy something that ends with /n/ and shines in the sky
  • I spy something that ends with /f/ and grows on trees

Nursery Rhymes – Fill in the Blank

Say (or sing!) nursery rhymes with your child and have them fill in the blank. Here are a few quick examples of rhymes to try:

  • Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you… ARE!
  • Hickory, dickory, dock, the mouse ran up the … CLOCK!
  • Rain, rain, go away, come again another… DAY!

Packing for a Trip

None of us are doing much traveling right now, but it’s still a great way to pretend and practice beginning sounds.

Start by giving your child this prompt: “We’re packing for a trip and only taking things that start with the sound /s/. I’m going to pack some soap and some soup. What else could we bring on our trip?”

You and your child can take turns coming up with other sounds and items to bring on your pretend trip. Imaginative play AND learning all in one.


Interested in a more structured form of talking, reading and playing with your child? Enjoy daily lessons delivered by real educators.


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