Baby may be too young for Scrabble to be anything other than a choking hazard, but that doesn’t mean he isn&;t ready to start to have fun with sounds. Rhyming is one of the earliest ways to play with sound that children learn, and it’s a great building block for future learning, too.
Rhyming teaches children to hear and identify the individual sounds in words, instead of thinking of the words themselves as units. This will be important when Baby is learning to read and write, since it’s the individual sounds (represented by letters) that make up the words he will be learning.
The rhyming version of “catch” can be played with or without a ball. It’s as simple as you saying a word when you pass (or “pass” if you’re using an imaginary ball) a ball to your toddler (like “cat”), and he says a rhyming word when he passes it back to you (like “hat”).
Work on your improv
Another fun rhyming game involves replacing the words in Baby’s favorite nursery rhymes or songs with words that rhyme with them. This only really works if it’s a nursery rhyme your little one knows all the words to, but if there is a rhyme or song that he has memorized, this silly game can be a great way to get the giggles rolling, whether it’s because you and Baby are going to row, row, row your GOAT, or because he just doesn’t want to bring his rubber YUCKY into the bath with him.
- Pam Schiller. “Songs and Rhymes as Springboard to Literacy.” Early Childhood News. Excelligence Learning Corporation. Retrieved May 25 2017. http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_home.aspx?ArticleID=478.
- Michael Sizer. “The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes.” PBS Parents. PBS. Retrieved May 25 2017. http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-tips/the-surprising-meaning-and-benefits-of-nursery-rhymes/.