Do you remember all the little songs and rhymes you used to sing and recite when you were a child? Their rhythmic cadence and word flow were soothing, fun and educational. Yes, that’s right, while you thought you were just talking about a some round, fat guy falling off a wall or singing about a shiny little star, you were learning…and learning a lot!
Nursery rhymes teach letter sounds through repetition. Example: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many peppers did Peter Piper pick?
Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater. Had a wife and couldn’t keep her. Kept her in a pumpkin shell and there he kept her very well.
Bah, bah black sheep, have you any wool? Yes, sir, yes sir, three bags full….
One misty, moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather, I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather….
There are numerous (no pun intended) nursery rhymes that teach children to count. Some of these include: Three Little Kittens, Five Little Monkeys, The Ants go Marching, One, Two, Buckle my Shoe and Ten Little Indians.
Days of the week
You can teach your child the days of the week with the rhyme, Tuesday’s Child. You can also sing the days of the week to the tune of Ten Little Indians.
Coordination and motor skills
Head and Shoulders, Father Abraham, Ring Around the Rosy and The Ants go Marching all require physical movement.
The very nature of nursery rhymes teaches the concept of rhyming. The other skills learned included opposites, synonyms and word endings such as ‘ing’ and ‘ck’.
Children can learn to share, treat each other kindly, to be honest, prudent and obedient through nursery rhymes. Rhymes such as Mary Had a Little Lamb and There was an Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe are examples of ‘positive behavior’ rhymes.
Singing and reciting nursery rhymes is a great tool in early education. But you can make it even more fun by including activities with the rhymes. Just look at a few of the things you can do…
- Scramble eggs together while learning Humpty Dumpty.
- Teach children about stars and the planets with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
- Plant and grow flowers with Mistress Mary
- Bake a pie with Georgie Porgie
- Make beeswax candles with Jack be Nimble
Another idea I’d like to pass on is to take one rhyme and make it especially special for your child-change the name in a rhyme to that of your child. I did this with my children and to this day (they’re grown and starting their own families), they still recall ‘their’ rhymes fondly. Here are a couple of examples…
Olivia, Olivia, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the queen.
Olivia, Olivia, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.
Emma had a little lamb-its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Emma went the lamb was sure to go.
Zachery saw a little ant passing through the grass.
But since God took the time to make him,
Zachery let the little ant pass.
There are countless books, games, videos, puzzles, CDs and activities geared around nursery rhymes. Don’t stop with just one book or game or puzzle. A collection of nursery rhyme books with different styles of illustrations will entertain and delight both you and your children. Matching games, puzzles and videos will put visualization to what they are learning through oral repetition. Consider the following sources for nursery rhyme books, toys and games. Then all that’s left to do is enjoy!
Here are some related articles for you: