We often sing nursery rhymes to entertain babies and young children but have you ever stopped to consider the language learning potential of doing so? These simple songs are usually a child’s first interaction with rhyming words, and learning to discriminate between the sounds in words and the sounds of parts of words is important to the process of later learning to read and write.
6 Ways to Have Fun with Nursery Rhymes
- Sing regularly and often. This post contains a list of 50 common nursery rhymes and finger plays. Do you know them all? Immy and I sing in the car, in the bath, as we clean, even at bedtime.
- Try acting out a favourite nursery rhyme with simple props and yourselves as the characters, or with puppets or soft toys.
- With preschoolers and kindergarten aged children, make a game of mixing up the words of familiar rhymes as explained in this early Literacy Spot post.
- ‘Write’ a letter to your favourite nursery rhyme character with suggestions for helping them solve their nursery rhyme problem. For example, what should Miss Muffet do about that pesky spider? Or how could you help Humpty Dumpty find a way to stop rolling off that wall? Transcribe your child’s words as they share their ideas and suggest they add a picture for the nursery rhyme character.
- We recently borrowed The Great Nursery Rhyme Disaster by David Conway from our local library and it was an instant hit. In the story a bored Little Miss Muffet heads off to find a new nursery rhyme to star in with humorous results. Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg and Where’s Mum? by Libby Gleeson are other picture books featuring nursery rhyme (and fairy tale) characters in new adventures.
- Use playdough or air dry clay to make the characters of the nursery rhyme and any props they need and use these to re-enact their adventures as you sing.