Oi Cat! Rhyming games

Stop them whining and practise rhyming with this much-loved picture book

Written by James Murphy

Often, the bedtime story my child chooses (over and over and over again) makes me wish our copy would just – poof! – magically disappear. But with Oi Frog!, Oi Dog! and Oi Cat!, we both LOVE these books equally. Even better, we love them for exactly the same reasons: we chuckle at the clever rhyming and find a new favourite line with each read.

Besides the fact that it’s silly, clever and hilarious, it’s also the perfect way to engage children with the concept of rhyming, which can be quite tricky to grasp. So, we’ve come up with 5 great ideas to help develop those rhyming skills even further. Cue the giggles!

1) Rhyme sticks: Pull from the pot, rhyme a lot

What you’ll need: Lolly sticks, a pen, a pot

What to do:

1. Gather a lot of lolly sticks. At the end of each one, write a word. Start simple, with some CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words that have a lot of rhyming words. Think cat, dog, cap, set, tap.
2. Place all the lolly sticks in a pot, with the words facing downwards.
3. Take turns to pick a lolly stick out. Read the word, then think of a rhyming word. If you think of one, you get to keep the stick.
4. If someone can’t think of a rhyme, the other person can try. If they come up with one, they steal the stick.
5. The winner is the person who has the most sticks at the end.

2) Cat in a hat: A list with a twist

What you’ll need: paper, pen

What to do:

1. On a big sheet of paper, write the word cat. Then underneath write the rhyming sound all down the page (_at).
2. Ask your little one to come up with as many rhyming words as they can. Quite simply, they have to add a letter to the beginning of the word. Don’t worry if it’s a real word or not.
3. Take turns to come up with silly sentences based on the rhymes. Can you make each other laugh?

3) Rhyming pairs: Spin to win!

What you’ll need: flashcards, a pen

What to do:

1. Think up pairs of rhyming words together. Write each word down on a card and ask your little one to draw a picture.
2. Turn all the cards face down on a table.
3. Take it in turns to flip over two cards. Say the words aloud. If the words rhyme, keep the cards and have another go. If not, place them back and it becomes the next person’s turn.
4. The person with the most cards at the end wins!

4) Rhyming items: Find the rhyme

What you’ll need: lots of items from around the house, paper and crayons

What to do:

1. Place all the items on the table and ask your little one to take a seat.
2. Shout out a word that rhymes with an item on the table. Ask your little one to figure out which is the rhyming item.
3. Encourage them to come up with a funny sentence.
4. Can they draw a picture to show the funny sentence?
5. Instead of putting the items on the table, you could do a rhyme scavenger hunt around the house!

5) Oi animals! Pigs sit on…?

What you’ll need: Oi Cat, a little imagination

What to do:

1. At the end of Oi Cat!, a lot of animals have sat on a lot of rhyming words. But what other animals are there?
2. Take it in turns to shout out an animal. The other person has to think of something that animal can sit on. What might a fly sit on? Or a pig? Or a crow?
3. Encourage your little rhymer to draw their favourite, most funny rhymes.

Now take a break and eat some cake.

(Do you know what else sounds like rhyme…? WINE!)

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