Activity 3.2

mother and child

Nursery Rhymes

Nursery rhymes are traditional songs, whose origins can be traced to the early 1700s. Nursery rhymes help young children become ready to learn to read as they hear new words and new ways of making sentences.

Example: ‘fetch’ and ‘pail’ in Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, are words not usually found in everyday conversation.

Many nursery rhymes are also little stories that help children understand and remember a series of events.

When children hear nursery rhymes, they hear the sounds that each of the letters make, because the rhymes have a different note for each sound in a word.

They’re a great way for children to develop phonological awareness – the ability to hear and work with the sounds of language.

Phonological awareness is important for learning to read because it will help children sound out words.

Many nursery rhymes are packed with early developing sounds such as p, b, t, d, k, g, and m.

Example: ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ has all these sounds including 8 ‘t’ and 6 ‘k’ sounds.

As they are so popular, once your toddler knows some nursery rhymes, they can join in easily at other activities and feel more welcomed and comfortable.

Try singing some popular nursery rhymes together

Action Rhymes for Little Ones Download PDF (269Kb)

Once your toddler knows a few nursery rhymes well, you can play some games together. Try:

Choosing a nursery rhyme your toddler knows well, and select part of it as your clue.

Example: The rhyme I’m thinking of lives up above the world so high. (Twinkle, twinkle little star)

For more challenge, start a familiar nursery rhyme. Leave out the rhyming words and see if your child remembers them (Humpty, Dumpty sat on a ___?)