By Michelle Luke
Rhyming is a fun and effective way to support early literacy. It familiarizes children with the sounds that make up words, highlighting ending sounds in particular—and fostering phonological awareness, or the recognition of discrete sounds within a word. It creates a fun way for children to remember stories that they create through the pairing of common endings. And it also plants in youngsters an innate sense of syncopation, beat, and rhythm that they can later transfer to their own writing.
In this sweet Easter craft and activity, you’ll learn how to make an easy but adorable Rhyming Rabbit Easter Bunny puppet. Then you’ll help your child use their bunny to recite rhymes, from nursery rhymes and songs they know to beginner poems to come up with themselves. Using the bunny makes rhyming more fun, but it also has a deeper benefit: Reciting through a puppet can help children feel less self-conscious and free your budding poet or songster to get as lyrical or silly as they like.
See 4 Brilliant Ways Nursery Rhymes Prepare Kids to Read and Write to learn more about the power of rhyming.
- Paper lunch bag (or any paper bag)
- Plain paper
- Glue, glue stick, or tape
- Colored pencils, crayons, or markers
- Printer (optional)
Cost: Nothing, if you have these simple materials on hand.
Step 1: Draw a bunny head for your puppet (or print our free printable bunny puppet template, below), then cut it out and paste it over the base of your upside-down bag as shown in the picture below. Important: The bunny’s head should approximately cover the base of your bag. If you use the bunny template, you may need to scale the image to print at the right size for your bag. Then invite your child to color or decorate the bunny.
Step 2: Next, draw a mouth or cut out the mouth from your free bunny template. Attach the bunny’s mouth just below the bag’s top flap that the head is attached to, right at the crease that creates the base of the bag, as shown below.
Step 3: Finally, draw bunny feet and a cottontail, or cut them out from the template. Attach the feet at the base of the bag. Flip over and attach the tail to the back of the bag.
And your Rhyming Rabbit puppet is complete! Now your child can use it to read or sing poetry that they develop with you. Start them off by modeling how to use their puppet to recite a favorite nursery rhyme, Easter song, or spring-themed poem—or make up your own rhyme on the spot. Then help your little one develop a poem of their own.
Here’s how: Give some examples of rhyming words, and then have them join you in shouting out a word that rhymes with the last word you said. Jot them down—or help older kids write the words themselves—and then demonstrate how to recite them in rhythm to feel like a poem. This may be enough for the littlest children; for older kids, show them how to add a few words to make short lines that each end in one of the rhyming words. Have fun!
We’d love to see what you do! Share pictures of your puppet on Instagram and tag @mayasmarty, or upload a shot on Pinterest using the “tried this pin” feature after clicking the pin images below.
Michelle Luke is a San Francisco-based attorney, busy mom to two active boys, and contributor to publications including Weekend Sherpa. She loves to explore and practice parkour with her sons.