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Play Higgety-Pig to Build Vocabulary

July 8, 2008 · Filed Under Vocabulary 

Here’s a fun game to play in the car or when you need to wait somewhere with your children.  You don’t need any materials at all; just your imagination!  You’ll probably need to start out in the lead on this one, but as your kids get the hang of it, they will jump right in with their own riddles.

Higgety-Pig is a rhyming game.  Think up a pair of words that are complete rhymes (that is, all of their syllables rhyme).  For younger or less experienced players, use singles (hig-pigs) or doubles (higged-piggeds).  More experienced players will enjoy bigger rhymes (higgedy-piggedies or higgedy-hig-piggedy-pigs!).  The rhymes are named for the number of syllables in each word.  Therefore, a ‘dog log’ would be called a hig-pig since each word has a single syllable, and a ’scary berry’ would be a higged-pigged since each word has two syllables.

Once you have your rhyming pair, think up a phrase or sentence that gives a clue about each word.  I’ve put a list at the end of this post to get you started, but a quick example for the ’scary berry’ would be “I have a higged-pigged, and it is a frightening summer fruit that grows on a bush.”  Players know they are looking for rhymes with two-syllable words because of the ‘higged-pigged” part of the clue, and the rest of it defines the words with synonyms or definitions.

As you play, you as an adult will naturally include words that are new to your children because you KNOW more words in the first place.  They will get a first-hand look at new words and hear their meanings.  Without even noticing it, they will be broadening their own vocabularies.  Sweet, huh?  Give it a try!


bright light (a brilliant beam)

dog log (a woodsy perch for a canine)

trash crash (a wreck with two garbage trucks)


paper caper (a heist stealing dollar bills)

thinner dinner ( a more svelte (or slim) meal)

critter sitter (a person who provides pet care when you’re away)


sinister minister (an evil preacher)

resident president (US leader in the White House)

merrier terrier (happier Boston dog)

crueler Jeweler (meaner necklace maker)


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