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Five Language Arts 'Sponges' by La Donna Ourada


    This activity is called "Hink Pink" or "Hinky Pinky" or "Hinkety Pinkety" or "Hitinkety Pitinkety." The explanation of the different names is part of the game.

    Hink pinks are one-syllable words that rhyme. You write down the "definition" and the kids come up with the hink pinks. For example, if the clue is "a large feline," the hink pink is "fat cat."

    Hinky Pinkies are two-syllable words that rhyme. For example, "the salve given to Jason by Medea to protect him from the bulls" is a "lotion potion."

    Hinkety Pinketies have three syllables (e.g., "when military boats have a race" = "armada regatta"), and Hitinkety Pitinketys have four syllables.

    This activity is fun to use as a vocabulary builder, especially with many syllables, or as content review. Kids will also enjoy coming up with the clues and trying to fool you or others.

    Following are some sample Hink Pinks:

    How about some Hinky Pinkies?

    Ready for some Hinkety Pinketies?


    Write words with missing vowels on the board (see samples below). The goal is to add vowels in an attempt to create the longest word. Students may not rearrange or add consonants but may add vowels before, between, or after consonants. Students may add y only when it functions as a vowel.

    How about trying these?


    Give students a word ( consternation is good) and have them make as many smaller words as possible, using only the letters in the word. This is an oldie, but it can easily be adapted to content or time of year.


    Give students a setting, protagonist, goal, barrier, and resolution and have them create short stories. You might want to have them brainstorm a list of settings etc. and keep them on-hand for "filler" time. We did this in a college class. In my story, I had to write about a mall (s), Godzilla (p), find the missing key (g), an asteroid (b), make new friends (r). The activity was a hoot!


    People in ancient England played a word game by putting words together to make what they called "kennings." A whale might become a "proud sea-thrasher," a ship might become a "sea-steed," and a man's sword might be called his "dragon-destroyer."

    Can you figure out these modern-day kennings?

    In my class, we do this activity, then brainstorm some of our own. I use it in context of a story that we are writing -- it is great for sci-fi stories to add some unique words to descriptions of aliens.

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