When can a child rhyme? [+ playing tips for every age]

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Rhyming suddenly becomes very important from the lowest grades of primary school. From that moment on, rhyme games are a new means of learning to recognize sounds.

PLUS, did you know that children who can rhyme well, and therefore recognize sounds well, can read MUCH BETTER later on?

Well worth it to invest in this development, and with this article I have ALL tips for you!

Boy explains something to teacher

But when does a child learn to rhyme?

In group two, children get started with learning to rhyme. An important condition for being able to read is good rhyme. When a child understands rhyming, he can focus on the meaning of a word as well as listening to its sounds.

Let's take a closer look at rhyme, why it is so important, what the stages of learning to rhyme are, and how YOU can help your child become a rhyme expert.

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Why is rhyme so important?

If you're like me, then you probably only engage in rhymes around December 5th, when it's time for an original (or cliché ..) Saint Nicholas poem.

But I also love British humor and the accompanying… ..word joke!

So I'm actually quite busy with rhymes in daily conversations, just don't think about it that way.

But rhymes and rhyme recognition are very important for the preschool development of children, and also important to pay conscious attention to.

When a child recognizes rhyme, it means that they not only focus on the meaning of the words, but can also listen to the sounds of a word.

Why is that important?

Because your child then

  1. can recognize the separate sounds within words,
  2. can link letters to it
  3. and thus can learn to read!

For example, children with dyslexia have difficulty with the sound structure of a word and often turn things around, and also have less sense of rhyme (** would they also respond less to my puns? **).

When a child can rhyme, it usually means that he is aware that words can be divided into pieces and that different words can contain pieces that sound alike.

And usually written almost the same.

However, rhyme with it does not mean that your child can write a particular word or know its meaning. There are preschoolers who are only too happy to rhyme with the most silly words and self-invented rhymes that they seem to find incredibly funny.

Cute to see :)

Rhyming & Counting

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What are the stages of learning to rhyme?

When we rhyme, we play with sound patterns in words. A distinction is made here between ending and opening rhyme.

  • Phase 1 End rhyme: In this phase, children learn that the last part of a word can rhyme with another word: cheese - hare. Usually they already start with this in group 1 to practice.
  • Phase 2 Initial rhyme: At the end of group 2, children should also be able to apply the opening rhyme. An example of opening rhyme is: comb - cat.

In kindergarten, children will learn to play with sounds, understand that there are words that are similar, learn to make predictions in a poem or song, and they all really enjoy it!

When can a child rhyme?

Language awareness and letter knowledge are important points of observation in group 2.

Language awareness is about whether a child is able to divide sound groups (a-pen-cage), whether it can recognize and apply the ending rhyme (hare-cheese) and opening rhyme (cat-comb), and whether can divide phonemes (fish).

Letter knowledge means whether a child can recognize and name a letter and make the link between sound and letter.

Phonemic awareness is usually practiced a lot in group 2, where the children can divide words into syllables, rhyme, hear the first and last sound of a word and they must also be able to 'cut and paste'.

By 'cut and paste' is meant that children must be able to paste the sounds from a word together, for example / b-oo-m / becomes / boom /.

But vice versa, they must also be able to extract the sounds from a word, so / boom / becomes / b-oo-m /. When a child cannot do this, group 3 becomes difficult.

How do you help your child understand rhymes?

You gain insight into rhymes by giving clear instructions according to the step-by-step plan below. However, it is important to introduce a new rhyme every 2 to 3 weeks, otherwise recognizing it becomes a trick.

  • Step 1: Write a poem on a sheet of paper, preferably one according to the AABB rhyme (so each subsequent sentence clears up the previous one, not with a different sentence in between like an ABAB rhyme, which in itself is fun to practice in a later phase).
  • Step 2: Read the poem to your child and emphasize the rhyming words extra. With your finger you point to the words that you read aloud.
  • Step 3: Ask your child to look closely at the last words in the sentence and read the poem again. Does your child notice something?
  • Step 4: Now circle the rhyme piece in the words that rhyme with each other with a marker. Choose a different color for each couple and say that these words rhyme.
  • Step 5: Now write only the rhyming words below each other, read the words and emphasize the last sound.

With the help of this step-by-step plan, a child will easily master learning to rhyme. Clear explanation is an absolute must!

Also read: What is educational toys for children | pay attention to these 5 things

Age-appropriate driving games

As a parent, you can also play various games with your child to stimulate rhyme in your child. Below I give you a number of options, arranged by difficulty (low to high).

Rhyme game for toddlers

Make a story in which you always use a certain beginning sentence, for example “li la loma”. Your child is supposed to finish the story:

  • “Li la loma, soon we will go to…. (Grandma)"
  • “Li La lauto, we're going with the… .. (car)”
  • “Li La Leten, then we go…. (food)"
  • And so on.

To make it more difficult, you say a word and your child can come up with a (possibly self-invented) rhyme for it.

For example, start with your name and as a rhyme your name with a 'p' in front (Cindy - Pindy). That will be fun!

Rhyme game for school children

Now a child must be able to rhyme with an existing word, with an existing word. For example, you say 'waffle' and your child could say 'table' or 'beak'.

A little easier is to present him with a number of words that he can choose to rhyme with, and then you can switch to making up a real word yourself.

The first game is a first step to get the hang of rhyming. If that works well, try the second game.

You only play the third game when the first two are no longer a challenge for your child! Some children go a little faster than others, but there are a lot of fun things to come up with to stimulate it.

Do you not have time for games with your child yourself? Then let them play fun games with Google Home!

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.