Teaching kids to rhyme is not only an essential literacy skill–it can be fun, too! This free printable matching game based on the popular song, “Down by the Bay” is a great way to introduce preschoolers to the concept of rhyme.
Did you know that April is National Poetry month?
I love poetry, and when I taught middle school, I loved teaching my students that poetry is about a lot more than weird words strung together by a whole bunch of depressed dead guys. One of my favorite ways to teach them that they liked poetry, even if they didn’t realize it, was through music. And since I don’t think Little Man is quite ready to appreciate most of Wordsworth and Dickinson just yet, I’ve taken the same approach with him.
One of the best predictors of how well a kindergartner will learn how to read is whether he or she knows nursery rhymes.
Why? Because they RHYME. And when kids understand rhyme, they understand the sounds and rhythm of language. This article from The Measured Mom explains more about why it’s so important to teach our kids to rhyme.
Taking all of this into account, I designed a few special activities for Little Man to learn about rhyming in a fun way. I started with the fun, classic song, “Down by the Bay.” I’ve always liked the silliness of the song, and the simple rhyming words in it are perfect for exploring rhyme with preschoolers.
Watch the video
First, we watched this fun music video of the song from The Learning Station.
Sing the song
Then, we sang the song ourselves, and I taught him some hand motions to go along with it. Nerdy brain research alert!…When you use multiple modalities (senses…like touch, sight, sound, etc.) in teaching, kids are much more likely to remember what you want them to learn. By attaching motions to the song, Little Man has a much easier time following along and learning the rhymes. Here are the basic lyrics along with my actions (in parenthesis below each line).
Down by the bay
(move one hand up and down like you’re making waves on the water)
where the watermelon grows
(put arms in front of you like you’re holding a big watermelon)
back to my home
(bring fingertips together to make the roof of a pretend house)
I dare not go
(shake pointer finer back and forth as if saying “no”)
for if I do
(shake finger at an imaginary person in front of you )
my mother will say….
(cup hands around mouth as if to say something)
(Fill in the rest of whatever verse of the song you’re singing.)
I even let Little Man add some verses. I’d have him pick an animal, and I’d come up with a silly rhyme to go with it.
Play the game
Finally, we played match with the rhyming words from the song.
Print your free
Down By the Bay Matching Game here.
We played it two ways, making it successively harder the more familiar he became with the rhyming words.
Option 1 (easier)
- Lay the cards out on a table (or floor) face up.
- Have your child pick one of the animal card.
- Then, you can both search for the matching rhyme card. (e.g.-boat & goat, duck & truck, etc.)
- Repeat until you’ve matched all the rhymes.
Option 2 (harder)
- Place the cards on the table face down this time, making a grid.
- Play like traditional memory games, taking turns turning over two cards at a time and trying to find the matches.
We had a great time with this activity, and I’m happy to report that Little Man is slowly beginning to grasp the concept of words that rhyme!
I regularly link up here.