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17 Spectacular Nursery Rhymes

It is important that children have a strong understanding of spoken language prior to learning written language. If you are looking for playful and engaging activities to expose a child to the sounds of language, look no farther!

Nursery Rhymes

The ability to recognize rhyming patterns in language is an essential skill for emergent readers. Nursery rhymes help strengthen a child’s understanding of oral language. A child should be able to recognize the sounds and rhythms of speech. This skill will assist a child in recognizing many common word patterns.

Humpty Dumpty Nursery Rhyme

Read the nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty to your child. After reading it several times, let your child finish the sentence. For example, Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great ____. You could also ask your child what else rhymes with wall, e.g., ball, call, fall & hall. In case you do not know the rest of the nursery rhyme. It concludes with the following sentence: all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Acting out Humpty Dumpty is another fun and educational activity. Using a piece of white paper, draw an oval. Have your child color the oval to look like Humpty Dumpty. Cut it out and glue or tape it to a stick or pencil. As you read the nursery rhyme, have your child act it out using props (e.g. Pegasus, Barbie’s horse, can have a supporting role).

Another great concept to introduce while reading Humpty Dumpty is directional or positional words. Children need to be able to describe the location of objects. Humpty Dumpty provides a great opportunity for children to learn directional or positional words (e.g. above, below, after, before, over, under, on, off).

Nursery Rhymes Lyrics

Here are some more fabulous nursery rhymes.

  • Baa Black Sheep
    Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
    Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
    One for the master, one for the dame
    And one for the little boy, who lives down the lane.

  • Hey Diddle Diddle
    Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
    The cow jumped over the moon,
    The little dog laughed to see such sport,
    And the dish ran away with the spoon.

  • Hickory Dickory Dock (abridge version)
    Hickory, dickory, dock, the mouse ran up the clock.
    The clock struck one, the mouse ran down,
    Hickory, dickory, dock.

  • I’m a Little Teapot
    I’m a little teapot short and stout
    Here is my handle here is my spout
    When I get all steamed up, hear me shout
    Tip me over and pour me out!

  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
    The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout
    Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
    Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
    So the itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the spout again!

  • Jack and Jill (abridge version)
    Jack and Jill went up the hill,
    To fetch a pail of water.
    Jack fell down and broke his crown,
    And Jill came tumbling after.

  • Little Bo-Peep (abridge version)

    Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,
    And can’t tell where to find them;
    Leave them alone, And they’ll come home,
    Wagging their tails behind them.

  • Little Boy Blue

    Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn.
    The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn.
    Where is the boy who looks after the sheep?
    He’s under the haystack, fast asleep.

  • Little Miss Muffet

    Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet,
    Eating her curds and whey.
    Along came a spider,
    Who sat down beside her.
    And frightened Miss Muffet away!

  • Mary had a Little Lamb (my version)

    Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow.
    And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.

  • Pease Porridge Hot
    Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
    Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
    Some like it hot, some like it cold,
    Some like it in the pot, nine days old!

  • Rock a Bye Baby
    Rock-a-bye, baby, on the tree top,
    When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
    When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
    And down will come baby, cradle and all.

  • Three Blind Mice
    Three blind mice, three blind mice,
    See how they run! See how they run!
    They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
    Who cut off their tails, with a carving knife.
    Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
    As three blind mice.

  • This Little Piggy
    This little piggy went to market.
    This little piggy stayed home.
    This little piggy had roast beef.
    This little piggy had none.
    And this little piggy cried, “Wee! Wee! Wee!”
    All the way home.
  • This Little Piggy (our version)
    This little piggy went for a run.
    This little piggy stayed home and had fun.
    This little piggy ate a turkey burger on a bun.
    This little piggy had none.
    And this little piggy cried,
    “Now that we’re done let’s go have fun!”

  • Twinkle, twinkle, Little Star (abridge version)
    Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are!
    Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.
    Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are!

  • Wee Willie Winkie
    Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
    Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown.
    Tapping at the windows and crying through the lock,
    Are all the children in their beds? It’s past eight o’clock.

Reading nursery rhymes helps a child develop an understanding of spoken language which is critical when learning to read.


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