sail the whale and snail

Sail the Whale and Snail

Sail the Whale and Snail
Target text


Recognize words that rhyme with sail (e.g. "Do sail and whale rhyme?") and produce rhyme words (e.g. "Think of a word rhymes with sail.").

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Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • sail
  • whale
  • snail
  • pail
  • mail
  • bale


  • Large pail (or tub)
  • Snail graphic (laminated)*
  • Whale graphic (laminated)*
  • Straws

*Items included below.

State and Model the Objective
Tell the children that they will get to sail a snail and a whale in a pail as they recognize and produce words that rhyme with sail, such as whale, gale, rail, and snail

Literacy Activities    
Sail the whale and snail

  • Tell the children that they will sail a snail and a whale, and point out that sail, snail and whale rhyme.
  • Explain that when something sails, it is pushed across the water by the wind.
  • Divide the children into two teams, have each team line up near the pail, and give one team the snail graphic and the other the whale graphic.
  • Have the first person in each line kneel next to the pail, put their picture near them in the water, and give them each a straw.
  • When you say "go," have the children kneeling blow through their straws to move the snail and the whale forward through the water. 
  • Encourage each team to cheer for their teammate by saying, "Sail the whale!" or "Sail the snail!"
  • Have the children continue blowing until either the whale or the snail reaches the other side of the pail.
  • Repeat the activity until all of the children have had a turn to sail the whale or the snail.

Produce words that rhyme with sail

  • Remind the children of the words they played with (sail, whale, snail, pail).
  • Ask each child to think of a word that rhymes with sail (support as needed).

Recognize rhyming words 

  • Have the children repeat a set of two words (e.g. sail, snail)
  • Ask the children to show you thumbs up if the words rhyme and thumbs down if the words do not rhyme, supporting as needed. 
  • Repeat with other sets of words: (e.g., tail, whale; hail, kale; sail, cat; stale, trail; pail, nail; mail, truck; rail, gale).
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SEEL At Home



Recognize and produce words that rhyme with sail.


  • Large pail or tub
  • Snail graphic (laminated or waterproofed)
  • Whale graphic (laminated or waterproofed)
  • Straws

Activity: Sail a Whale and Snail

  • Put some water in the large pail or tub, and laminate or waterproof the snail and whale graphics.
  • Race the snail and whale graphics across the pail by having your child blow through the straw behind one picture while you blow the other to see which animal sails faster.
  • After racing the snail and the whale, help your child recall the words that rhyme with whale in the activity (e.g., snail, whale, pail, tail). 


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SEEL lessons align with Common Core Standards. Please see the standards page for the code(s) associated with this lesson.