rhyming activity, Montessori, phonemic awareness

1 Important Rhyming Activity To Prepare For Phonemic Awareness

Montessori Rhyming Activity

It is incredible how rhyming words can help us to remember things. Even grown-ups use silly phrases like “righty tighty, lefty loosey” to figure out how to remove a stubborn tightened screw.

Rhymes make it easier for us to remember things because the sound at the end of the line sounds the same. When we hear that rhyming musical-like cadence, it helps us to remember.

When introducing the Montessori rhyming activity, rhyming objects, young children practice matching objects that rhyme or sound the same at the end. 

Children hear that same sound at the end. That rhyme helps break down those words into smaller sounds, pinpointing that sound. 

It is a playful and fun lesson when young children match objects that rhyme. But it is also the first step for young children to notice that words have individual sounds or phonemes.

In this post, I will share the rhyming lesson from my Montessori training and how this is a key lesson before phonemic awareness and reading. 

I’ll also share how the lesson went with my almost four-year-old daughter, Annie, at home! (How is she nearly four already?)

In This Post

rhyming objects pin

Why are rhyming activities important for preschoolers?

Rhyming activities help young children hear the different sounds that make-up words. 

With rhyming practice and repetition with rhyming games, young children start to think about and play with the parts of words. It is the first essential step to pre-reading. 

Rhyming is a vital preschool skill that is a part of phonological awareness

According to the article by VeryWell FamilyThe Importance of Rhyming When Learning How to Read:

"The ability to recognize and produce rhyming words is an important phonological awareness skill. Research indicates there is a correlation between phonological awareness and reading ability."

rhyming activity, Montessori, rhyming objects
Montessori rhyming activity

What is the difference between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness?

Phonological awareness is the ability to notice the different sounds in words and sentences. It includes clapping syllables and pointing out words that rhyme. It is the beginning step of the reading process.

The next step, phonemic awareness, is manipulating and working in more detail with the individual sounds within a word. These individual sounds are known as phonemes. For example, the word “cat” has three phonemes: “c,” “a,” and “t.” 

The Montessori “I-Spy” games lesson goes into great depth with phonemic awareness; a signature key lesson children practice with before moving on to the sandpaper letters, which explores the association of letter symbols with the letter sounds.

Rhyming is an essential first step leading to phonemic awareness, which leads to reading!

rhyming activity, Montessori, phonemic awareness
Rhyming objects matched

How to do the Montessori Rhyming Objects Lesson

rhyming activity, Montessori, basket, rhyming objects
Basket of objects that rhyme

What you will need

To do the rhyming lesson, you’ll need a collection of paired objects with the names of which rhyme. 

I find that 8-10 pairs at a time work best. You could use less (4-6 object pairs) or more (10-14 object pairs) depending on your child.

You can use objects and toys you have around the house! For example, you could find:

  • glue, shoe
  • shell, bell
  • block, rock, sock
  • bear, chair
  • pan, can
  • truck, duck
  • rag, tag, bag
  • rice, dice
  • doll, ball
  • fork, cork
rhyming activity, rhyming objects, phonemic awareness
matching the objects that rhyme

We used objects from the Montessori Services language object set. It’s a beautiful set of objects you can use for multiple language lessons. For instance:

  • go-togethers
  • rhyming
  • I-spy 
  • matching objects to the sandpaper letters
  • writing words with the moveable alphabet
  • more challenging writing and reading activities

The objects from the set we used for our rhyming lesson are below. We tried all 14 pairs at first, but I found that doing just eight pairs at a time was better for Annie.

  • cat, hat
  • fox, box
  • star, car
  • fan, pan
  • flag, tag
  • fish, dish
  • frog, dog
  • bug, rug
  • bat, mat
  • mop, top
  • bee, tree
  • egg, peg
  • jet, net
  • tub, cub

If you don’t have objects, you can also use a set of rhyming cards. For very young children, though, it is best to use objects that they can hold so that it’s more hands-on and meaningful for them. 

rhyming activity, Montessori, phonemic awareness

Step-by-step: Rhyming Objects lesson

Invite your child to do the activity, name the activity “Rhyming Objects,” and bring the basket of objects or cards to an area rug on the floor.

Bring the basket to the rug and sit on your child’s dominant side.

Put the basket in the upper right corner of the rug. 

rhyming activity, rhyming objects, phonemic awareness
line up the objects in a vertical line

Remove the objects from the basket one at a time, name them, and place all of them vertically at the left edge of the rug. 

Tip: If they don’t fit in one line, you can make two vertical lines spaced apart (like in the picture above).

rhyming activity, Montessori, rhyming objects
go down the line one object at a time and match

Select the first object and move it to the next object below it. Say the name of the object in your hand, “fox.” Say the name of the object next to it, “cat.” “fox-cat.” Say, “No, they do not rhyme.”

rhyming activity, Montessori, phonemic awareness
Tag and flag rhyme. They sound the same!

Continue this way until you find the object with the rhyming name, “fox-box,” “fox-box.” Say, “Yes, these sound the same at the end; these rhyme.”

rhyming activity, Montessori, rhyming objects
Star and car rhyme. They sound the same!

Continue this same way as you pair all of the objects. Go back and name the object pairs. Again, name the objects as you put them back in the basket.

rhyming activity, Montessori, rhyming objects
matching objects that rhyme independently

Randomize the objects and invite your child to do the activity independently.

Place objects back in the basket and return it to the shelf.

Note about the object rhyming lesson

It’s essential to go back and name the objects that rhyme again after you’ve completed matching them. Your child hearing the rhyming words again and again, helps with repetition.

Also, ask your child to repeat after you, so that they say the rhyming words, too.

I remember from my Montessori teacher training; we had to do a practicum, randomly choosing the name of a lesson out of a basket and presenting the lesson in front of our instructor and peers. 

For my Language practicum, I chose rhyming objects out of the basket. I presented the lesson but forgot to go back and rename the objects again at the end of the lesson. 

I remember my instructor pointing out that it is so important to rename all those objects that rhyme at the end with the child, and ask them to name them, too. Young children need to hear and say those rhymes as many times as possible. 

I’ll never forget this and what my Instructor said every time I do this lesson with a child!

rhyming objects pin

More ideas for rhyming

You can change up the lesson. For instance:

Use pictures or cards

Match rhyming objects to rhyming pictures

label the objects by writing down the names on little slips of paper together

Once you match the objects that rhyme, think of other things that rhyme with them. For example, “cat and hat rhyme. What else rhymes with cat and hat? Mat, bat, sat, rat.”

Reading books that rhyme and poetry are also a wonderful way to practice rhyming! 

Concluding Thoughts about Montessori Rhyming Objects

I did this rhyming activity with Annie several months ago, and she loved it. She loves the little objects and the rhyming words. 

We came back to the lesson, and I found that she was more interested in the rhymes this time and could match the objects independently. 

But Annie and I had already begun working on sandpaper letters, so at first, when we worked on matching the objects that rhyme, she thought we were trying to match objects with the same beginning letter sound! 

She understood right away when we started to talk about rhyming and which words sounded the same at the end.

It seemed to me that she could match the objects on her own because she memorized which objects go together. But I know that the rhyming sound at the end of the word has also clicked with her.

It could be that because the objects rhyme made it easier for her to remember which ones go together. 

Have you tried rhyming with your child? What are your favorite rhyming activities, songs, or poems? Leave a comment below!

More Montessori Resources

You can also download the lesson plans for:

1. Beginning Oral Language Activities

2. Picture Story (Dictation) Plus 24 photos and the lined paper we used!

3. Naming – plus 140 labels for around the house

4. Classified Objects – plus 8 insect photo cards

5. Object Discrimination (Object Matching)

6. Object Picture Matching – plus 8 flower photo cards to go with objects

* The Three Period Lesson Cheat Sheet – plus 7 bird photo cards (you can use this method to remember vocabulary words from any lesson).

7. Picture Matching – plus 11 dog breed photo cards to match or play memory (print out two copies of the picture-only cards to make matching cards).

8. Go-Togethers – plus 9 pairs of sports go together matching cards.

9. Vocabulary Enrichment (3-Part Cards) – Plus 9 Types of Road Vehicle Cards and 8 Types of Owls Cards.

10. Rhyming Objects

rhyming objects pin

Montessori Rhyming Activity

Download the rhyming lesson plan below by signing up for the resource library!

rhyming objects mock up

19 thoughts on “1 Important Rhyming Activity To Prepare For Phonemic Awareness”

  1. Pingback: Essential Guide To 4 Fun Letter And Sound Activities

  2. This reminds me of a rhyming game I played with my young niece a few weeks ago that she made up! I love all the Educational activities you share, thank you!

  3. Excellent post, thank you! Rhymes are a powerful tool for all ages. My kids are nearly adults now and still remember the rhyming songs from their elementary days. Such a fun learning tool.

  4. I’m interested in everything related to languages and learning methods. Using rhymes is fun and helps to remember the words.
    I wonder if this works the same as an adult when trying to learn a new language.

  5. Great post… I’ve been using the Montessori and Waldorf methods with my 3-year-old, but this is the first time I have read about rhyming activities. I will definitely try it out, thank you!

    1. Hi Monika,
      It’s great to hear that you will try the rhyming activities with your 3-year-old!

  6. I’ve always loved “fun” or “strange” methods to learn and honestly, I still often use rhyming as a way to remember things as an adult! This is a wonderful read & I enjoyed exploring the psychology behind this method & reading about all the activities to introduce rhyming to kids! Thank you so much for this awesome post.

  7. My mind is blown from this activity! Such a wonderful idea and easy to set up! Will def use for tomorrow for homeschooling my preschooler! And thanks for the suggested list of items.

    1. Deb,
      That’s wonderful! I’m so glad that this rhyming objects lesson is helpful to you!

  8. This seems like a great way to help with this instruction. Bookmarking for when my son is a bit older!

  9. Monica Simpson

    What a cute idea! And it seems so simple because you can just find this stuff around the house. I love it.

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