Great Benefits to Nursery Rhymes

Don’t underestimate the age-old success of nursery rhymes!  I think sometimes we get caught up in the new and improved that we forget the great benefits to the tried and true.

Nursery rhymes are definitely tried and true. 

They are great for infants through to preschoolers (and probably beyound).  The beauty with nursery rhymes, is it doesn’t take much effort to entertain our little ones with these.  Very little prep work involved AND great benefits.  The sing-song effect is very calming. They offer a great variety of vocabulary (and our little ones are learning from what we say whether we realize it or not!). Hearing the rhyming words over and over teaches detailed awareness of the language. They learn to listen for the sounds that make up a word (phonemes) which helps them learn how to work with the language.  And they are doing all of this without worksheets or lessons.  They are learning and we don’t even realize it.

Ways to include nursery rhymes in your day:

  • Read compilation books with the best of the best nursery rhymes written.  
  • Recite them outloud while driving in the car, going on a walk or changing their diaper (they are great distractions for even the tiniest babies).
  • Use hand motions and act them out.   
  • Sing them.  
  • Use them to encourage your toddler during clean up. 
  • Find rhymes that coincide with topics of interest or unit studies (ex: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush would work well when teaching basic hygiene; The Itsy Bitsy Spider works with lessons on bugs)
  • Add a nursery rhyme to your letter, color, or number of the day lessons (Little Boy Blue for blue day; Jack and Jill for J-day) 
  • March to the beat of a nursery rhyme (a great way to practice rhythm!)Do all of the above and do it consistently.  Consistency is the goal. 

But isn’t it funny how sometimes the easiest things are the things we forget about?  At least that’s me.   I’m counting this post as a reminder for myself 🙂

So here are a few popular rhymes in our house to get us started:

  • Humpty Dumpty
  • Row Row Row Your Boat
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Jack and Jill went up the hill
  • This is the way we wash our hands
  • Old McDonald
  • Ring Around the Rosie
  • It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
  • Rain, Rain Go Away

Ok, this list is looking pretty typical, huh? I’m no nursery rhyme expert. I’m not even sure everything on the list counts as a nursery rhyme. I just use what I know.  Sometimes I even forget the words and make something up that rhymes!  My poor child will never know the real words for Lullaby and Goodnight but oh well.

Here’s some popular websites where you can print out both words and pictures for nusery rhymes, or even hear them with animation. 

There are tons of books that compile nursery rhymes. J got A Treasury for One Year Olds as a gift that we still use now.  The series offers a new book for each year, though we haven’t gotten any of the others. The older books apparently also include popular stories too. Of course there are cds you can buy that include nursery rhymes.  We don’t personally own any, but my mom plays some for the grandkids and they love them.  You could also record your own (see this post on recording stories on cd yourself).

This is something you can try right now!

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5 responses to “Great Benefits to Nursery Rhymes

  1. I find nursery rhymes to be alot of fun. We usually focus on one each week, and often by the end of the week, Kenton is saying some of the words along with me.
    I found this website with some cute printable color pages to go along with many nursery rhymes. You have to creat a login, but it has a lot of other good stuff too.

    http://www.ichild.co.uk/tags/browse/19/Nursery-Rhymes

  2. Becca. HOW DO YOU KNOW ALL THIS??? Specifically, “Hearing the rhyming words over and over teaches detailed awareness of the language. They learn to listen for the sounds that make up a word (phonemes) which helps them learn how to work with the language.” I feel like such a clueless mom!!!

    • Doesn’t everyone know about phonemes?? 🙂

      Honestly, I wanted to include nursery rhymes on the blog b/c they’re so essential. BUT I didn’t think “Nursery Rhymes are good. Kids love them,” sufficed for a post. A little research was in order (though research makes it seem much too serious; I’m sure I was watching NCIS or The Mentalist at the same time!). I have always noticed how successful nursery rhymes were with J and knew that was pretty universal. I remembered ESL classes use them a lot too. There had to be a reason. It’s all about the phonemes. Who knew?

      J is really into rhyming right now. Sometimes they’re real words, sometimes he makes up words to rhyme. I think it’s all about playing with the language. It started with hearing the rhymes and now he’s working on his own. It’s fun to watch him learn.

      “I feel like such a clueless mom!!!” Funny, those same thoughts run through my mind almost every day. I am absolutely certain you are NOT a clueless mom. That, my friend, is impossible. C is most certainly thriving! You know and live out the most essential thing in front of him everyday, God’s love. Can’t go wrong there. Ever.

  3. Great ideas! Another fun source of nursery rhymes, if you can find them used or at your older relatives’ houses, are some of the Childcraft books. These also have great poems and stories for older kids.

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