Sway and Play

Sway and Play
Target text


Recognize words that rhyme with sway (e.g., “Do play and sway rhyme?”) and produce rhyme words (e.g., “Think of a word that rhymes with sway.”).

See Standards

Lesson Plan

Target Words:

  • lei
  • day
  • way
  • sway
  • play
  • stay


  • Plastic containers
  • Plastic Hawaiian leis 
  • Music
  • Chalk 
  • Paper flower graphics (optional)*

*Item included below.

State and Model the Objective
Tell the children that they will play music and sway as they practice saying words that rhyme with play, such as lei, day, and way.

Literacy Activities

Sway and play

  • Show the children a lei and explain that it is a string of flowers worn around the neck on special occasions in Hawaii.
    • If you do not have plastic leis, cut out flowers (see below) and thread them on a string to make a necklace.
  • Tell the children that today is a lei day and that they will get to sway and play music.
  • Point out that lei and sway rhyme, and ask the children to listen for words that rhyme with sway.
  • Have the children help you make several connecting pathways on the ground with chalk or masking tape.
  • Give the children containers to use as drums and let the children play their drums and sway (move their hips side to side) along the pathways.
  • Tell the children to move away from the pathway, then start the music and let the children sway.
  • Include words that rhyme with sway in your comments about the activity (e.g., "I like the way you play and sway!").
  • Help the children recall words they heard in the activity that rhyme with sway (lei, day, sway, way).

Play and stay

  • Explain to the children that they will listen to know when to play or stay still.
  • Choose one child to be "it," and have the other children stay still until the child who is "it" yells either "play" or “stay.”
    • If “it” yells “play,” all other children yell "play" back, then run around.
    • If "it" yells "stay," have the other children stop in place.
  • Repeat the game allowing the children to take turns calling out the rhyming words play or stay.

Produce words that rhyme with play

  • Remind the children of the words from the activity that rhyme with sway (day, play, way, lay). 
  • Ask each child to think of another word that rhymes with sway (support as needed).

Sway and say words that rhyme with sway 

  • Have the children sway and say the beginning and ending sounds of the word play as follows:
    • segment sounds: say /pl/ (sway right), say /ay/ (sway left)
    • blend sounds: jump with both feet and say play to blend the sounds into the whole word
  • Repeat with other words that rhyme with sway (e.g., hay, day, lay, say, way, may, ray).
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SEEL lessons align with Common Core Standards. Please see the standards page for the code(s) associated with this lesson.