We’ve talked before about our love of Orchard Toys, here and here. They are good, sturdy games which look great , last well around enthusiastic children who like to test pieces out in their mouths (!) and are great fun too. A couple of weeks ago, Elizabeth posted about the Pig in Pants game. You can see that review here. At the same time that she was sent a copy of that game, I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of Slug in a Jug to review. I received the game free, but the views and comments are my own.
Rhyming is a key phonological awareness skill, which helps both speech sound development and spelling. Most children can hear rhymes and enjoy them in their preschool years, but some children need a bit more input. This game is great for preschool and primary aged children. I find that if children struggle with rhyme, then they are often very aware that they find it difficult, and therefore are reluctant to play rhyming games. Therefore having versatile games is really useful so that I can keep them motivated when they get fed up! Slug in a Jug ticks this box, as the instructions in the box describe 3 different games you can play with the cards, and you can adapt them to play others as well.
The box contains 48 picture cards – 12 sets of rhyming pictures with 4 cards in each. Most of them are simple single syllable words, but a few 2 syllable words are included. There are also quite a few included where the rhyme is not spelt the same (eg whale and nail). This is useful as it means the children have to hear the rhyme, not just see it from the spelling. It is also worth pointing out that the start of each word is written in black and the rhyming part in another colour. Each set has the same colour. This can be useful for teaching rhyme, but many children pick up on this very quickly. Therefore, when they get good at the games it’s good to pull a card and say the word without letting them see it, so that they can listen for the rhyme. Then they can check the colour to see if they’re right.
The basic game involves finding rhyming sets. You put all the cards face down on the table. Each player takes one card, and then takes turns to turn over a card from the table, read the words (or name the pictures) and see if they rhyme or not. If they do, the player keeps them, if not, they put the card back. The player with the most cards at the end is the winner (there is also a scoring system for older children included where you get more points depending how many cards in each set you’ve collected).
It’s great that an expressive language element is added into this game as well. When a player has two cards which rhyme, they have to put the two words into a sentence eg “the bear sat on a chair”. If they find a 3rd card for the set, they need to add to the sentence (eg “the bear sat on a chair eating a pear”). This gives you a great way to work on sentence construction and the meaning of the words as well as repeating the rhyme. You can also talk about whether the sentences are silly or sensible. With more able children, you could also extend this and see if they can generate more rhyming words and add them to the sentence/story.
Two other variants of games for rhyme judgement are also described in the instructions, and you can of course use the cards to play other common games such as memory pairs or lotto.
Ideas to work on other skills:-
The cards include a nice selection of animals, objects etc. You could use them for narrative – pull 2 or 3 out of a bag and try to put them into the story.
You could also use them to talk about similarities and differences (which could include rhyme). Put 12 or so out on the table face up. Take turns to take two pictures and make a connection between them (eg a bun and a pear are both food).