Oi Puppies

The greatest skill you can teach your child is the ability to read. Imagine a world where you were alienated by words – everything from menus, timetables and of course books, would be horribly out of reach. The ‘Oi Frog’ series by Kes Gray is much loved for its humour and rhyme. In this quick and adaptable #picbookplay activity, we use rhyme to introduce simple spelling patterns and encourage careful listening to the sounds of words.

You Will Need:

  • Plain coloured cups, beakers or squares of material.
  • A selection of simple pre-written clues with rhyming words. (Please watch our video on IGTV for suggestions).
  • Envelopes – one for each clue.
  • A selection of small, easily hidden toys, food or household items – cars, trains, peas, beans, keys, spoons, etc.


  • Gather together your coloured cups or squares of material and note the colours.
  • Think of a word to rhyme with each colour e.g. red – bed, blue – glue, green – bean, yellow – cello, etc.
  • Write a simple clue using your rhyming words for each colour e.g.

A very tired ladybird is sleeping in her bed.

Can you hear her snoring? She’s underneath the… [red].

  • Place each clue inside a mystery envelope or bag. Children love choosing and get excited by the unknown.
  • Hide your small toy or item underneath the relevant coloured cup as a visual clue.


  • Invite your child to choose a clue from one of your mystery envelopes.
  • Read the clue to your child. Depending on their reading ability, you may ask them to read or sound out key words. If you are reading it aloud, I suggest using your finger to point towards each word, so they learn how we read fluently and from left to right.
  • Rhyming clues work best where you have paired the final word up with an earlier word that rhymes. Ensure you pause before reading the final word and encourage your child to guess it.
  • If they need help, reread the clue and emphasise your rhyming word. It’s ok to ask your child e.g. ‘Which colour rhymes with bed?’
  • Give your child plenty of praise as they are thinking it through. Once they guess right, you might want to show them how each word is written, b – e – d / r – e – d. Can your child spot the similarities?
  • Ask them, ‘How are these words spelt? Which sounds are the same? Which letters make the ‘ed’ sound?’
  • Repeat the activity with each of your other clues.

Rhyme inspired #picbookplay to help children learn to read

Ways to Extend the Learning

  • Ask your child to think of a third or fourth word that rhymes e.g. Fred, head, bread, etc.
  • Note that in the examples above, ‘head’ and ‘bread’ are not spelt with the expected ‘ed’ ending. Please don’t be put-off by using this exception words in the examples – there is a learning opportunity here too…
  • You could ask your child to think about how they might spell each word. It is likely that they might write ‘hed’ and ‘bred’. Praise this – they have used their phonetic knowledge perfectly and applied the spelling pattern they’ve earnt from red and bed…
  • Some children may be ready for you to point out that ‘ea’ can also be used to make the same sound – as in head and bread. Which other words rhyme with head/bread/bed/red? Can they sort them into two groups – those with ‘ea’ spellings and those with just ‘e’? Can they read both sets of words?
  • Ask your child to practice writing pair of rhyming words.
  • Ask your child to find pairs of rhyming words in the book, ‘Oi Puppies’ – you could do this visually, or by reading it aloud to them.

A Sneaky Peak

Don’t forget, you can watch this activity in action on IGTV. Please do subscribe or follow to stay updated with more play prompts based on your favourite children’s books.

If you’re active on social media, do please share a picture of you enjoying this activity with your child. Use the hashtag #picbookplay and tag @thefairytalemum if you’d like to be featured.

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