Rhyming Word Games: 7 Ways to Make Language Fun for Everyone

People love to rhyme, and they love to play games — so why not combine them? Rhyming word games are an excellent way to help kids better identify words and learn how to read or spell, but they also provide entertainment for all ages. Keep reading for several examples of fun rhyming activities for kids, as well as a few rhyming games for adults.

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Disappearing Rhyme Man

A good rhyming game for the classroom or a family function is Disappearing Rhyme Man, sometimes called the Invisible Rhyme Man. It's like Hangman in reverse.

  1. Draw two stick figures on a chalkboard, white board or large sheet of paper with between 12 and 16 body parts. This may include a head, body, legs, arms, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, and so on.
  2. Divide the group into two teams.
  3. Randomly choose a word or phrase to start the game. It should be something that can be rhymed with easily.
  4. The first player on the starting team tries to name a rhyming word. You can choose a time limit for this part of the game.
    1. If the player comes up with a correct rhyming word, they erase one part of the opposing team’s man.
    2. If a team cannot think of a rhyming word, either give the other team a chance or pick a new word to rhyme.
  5. Continue playing until one rhyme man has completely disappeared.

Rhyming Word Bingo

Take the classic game of Bingo and apply it to the world of rhyming word games! It's great for any level of elementary, middle or high school and any age.

  1. Create the Bingo game boards and call sheet beforehand, complete with one half of a rhyming set (for example, you could add "boat" to the card, and then call out "coat"). You can add either images of items or actual words to the boards.
  2. Give each player or team a game board.
  3. Call out a word from the call sheet.
  4. Players look for a word on their respective game boards that rhyme with the called word. If the call word is "boat," they can match with a word on their board like "coat" or "goat."
  5. The first player to complete a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line wins.
  6. Just as with regular Bingo, the game can continue with additional patterns for winning.

The grid does not need to correspond to the standard B.I.N.G.O. structure. Each space on the board can be independent and not directly related to all the words in the same column.

Word, Word, Rhyme

This rhyming variation on the "Duck, Duck, Goose" dynamic gets people up and on their feet. It's great fun for preschoolers and kindergartners, but adults can play with more sophisticated rhymes as well.

  1. Players sit in a circle on the floor, at a table or at their desks.
  2. One player is chosen as "The Poet" and walks around the circle as they think of a word. They can say nothing, or they can say "word, word, word" (like "duck, duck, duck") as they pass each other player.
  3. When they choose another person to play, The Poet says, "rhyme" instead of "word," and then they say a word the chosen player must rhyme with (for example, "pan").
  4. The chosen player must immediately think of a rhyming word.
    1. If the chosen player can't think of a rhyme word within 30 seconds, The Poet immediately sits down in their place and the chosen student is the new Poet.
    2. If the chosen player thinks of a rhyme word within the 30 seconds, The Poet must repeat the original process to choose a new opponent.

For younger students, you may want to have a list of one-syllable words they can choose from (such as words that rhyme with free). Older students may enjoy using difficult words to rhyme, such as words that rhyme with world or words that rhyme with orange.

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Rhyme Hunt

Rhyme Hunt is like a scavenger hunt. It's great for any age level, depending on the words you choose.

  1. Come up with a list of several groups of rhyming words, ensuring that each group has the same number of words. For instance, you might have one set of 10 words that all rhyme with "set," like "met" and "debt." And then you might have another set of 10 words that all rhyme with "mane," like "reign" and "windowpane."
  2. Write each of the individual words on index cards and place them all around the room.
  3. Divide the group into the same number of teams as you have sets of rhyming words. If you have three sets, then you should divide the players into three teams as well.
  4. Give each team their "starter" word, so they'll know which rhyming words they should try to find.
  5. The first team to find all their rhyming words wins.

In an alternative version of Rhyme Hunt, teams can be provided with a list of several non-rhyming words. They must then find these words in the classroom. When they find one, a team member must come up with a word that rhymes with it, striking it off their list. The team that strikes all the words off their list first wins.

Hot (Rhyming) Potato

This game is great for kids and adults alike. All you need is a beach ball or something else to be your hot potato!

  1. Have everyone sit in a circle.
  2. Hold up the beach ball and call out a word (for example, "port").
  3. Hand the ball to the first person on your right.
  4. As soon as someone else receives the ball, they say a rhyming word ("sort").
  5. They pass or toss the ball to the next person, who says a rhyme.
  6. When the ball arrives at a person who can't think of a rhyme, they're out.
  7. Keep going until there are only two people left. The last person is the winner!

For younger students or English learners, consider adding music to the game (like traditional hot potato) so they have more time to think of a rhyming word. You can make the starting word tricky for older kids or adults.

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Nursery Rhyme Mix-Up

Everyone knows the popular nursery rhymes. But what happens if some of the words are missing? Both preschoolers and rhyme-loving adults will have fun with this game.

  1. Split players into groups of four and choose one judge.
  2. Choose a nursery rhyme (for example, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star").
  3. Recite the nursery rhyme in full once, then repeat only the first line ("Twinkle twinkle, little star.")
  4. Have three of the players from each group write a new rhyming line on a piece of paper to replace the original second line (for example, "You look like a beautiful sparkly car.")
  5. The player who didn't write the line (the judge) reads the new lines. They choose the best one.
  6. Have teams share out the lines that were chosen as the best.
  7. Start again with another nursery rhyme and a new judge.

Challenge older students and adults to match the poetic meter in the nursery rhyme as well as the rhyme itself. For younger players or English learners, go over the nursery rhyme several times and model coming up with example replacement lines as a class.

Where's the Rhyme?

Learn a little bit about poetry as you play this active game! This game is a great way to reinforce different types of rhyme, such as internal rhyme or slant rhyme.

  1. Split the group into two teams and choose one host.
  2. Hand each team a different colored dry erase marker.
  3. Choose a famous poem to project onto the whiteboard or write on a large dry erase board.
  4. When the host says, "go," one player from each team runs up to the board and circles all the examples of rhymes that they see. (They may choose the same rhymes; that's why the markers are different colors.)
  5. Once they're done, go over the correct answers. Offer extra points to volunteers that name the type of rhyme, or who can name unmarked rhymes.
  6. Project another poem onto the board and do it again.

Ideally, you could project two versions of the poem at once onto a large whiteboard to give each team their own. You could also do this by handing out a printed copy of the poem to each player and then projecting their answers on a document viewer.

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Rhyming Games Are Fun!

Learning all about rhyming words can be a lot of fun for people of all ages and knowledge levels. This is especially true in the case of rhyming games, as the element of play is universal. For more in this area, check out games to play with children to build vocabulary too. You can also challenge students and adults with rhyming skills with an engaging activity on writing limericks.