Nursery rhymes and lullabies have been around for hundreds of years and have traditionally been sung and enjoyed in every culture. Whoosh learning explores the importance of rhyme this week in our blog but we have also been exploring different ways to sing and play with rhymes in our messy play sessions.
Sing from birth onwards…
From a very early age babies can start to learn these well-loved little rhymes which create little short stories and images in your mind. I have always been an advocate for nursery rhymes. There are so many amazing reasons for singing and enjoying nursery rhymes and because they tend to have a strong rhythmic beat, for newly born babies this mimic’s the mothers heart beat and is reassuring to them – what could be better than being cradled, rocked whilst enjoying a nursery rhyme or two?
One of my favourite times of the day as a teacher was when we got out the song bag and enjoyed revealing an object to guess the rhyme. Then the song would be sung with great gusto and with huge smiles and giggles- the sense of community and involvement during this special time was just wonderful. Now I am privileged to enjoy this time with many children and families across Sussex at our Whoosh sessions – it never ceases to amaze me how we have all learnt slightly different words and versions. This is the power of the rhyme- they are versatile, passed down from generation to generation and they are ever changing. WOW! So be confident, enjoy singing ALL the time, play with language and move to the beat!
“The first poems I knew were nursery rhymes, and before I could read them for myself, I had come to love just the words of them, the words alone.”
My top reasons for why Nursery Rhymes are FAB!
- Nursery rhymes are fun and engaging. Primarily this gives children a positive experience and a sense of wellbeing.
- Nursery rhymes are first stories for children and the strong rhythmic qualities catches their attention.
- Listening to rhymes helps to build pictures of the story in their heads.
- They connect us to the past and to our own childhoods! Singing a nursery rhyme with your child takes you back to remembering when you sung them as a child yourself! There are also historical references and language within the rhymes e.g. Jack jumped over the candlestick – imagine a world without electricity!
- Singing and moving connects both sides of the brain and helps to engage co-ordination between both sides of your body. They can also increase muscle strength in your fingers/ arms and prepare the whole body to read and write.
- Nursery rhymes have the perfect combination of rhythm, rhyme and repetition.
- They support many aspects in developing communication and language
- Nursery rhymes have connections with other key skills s many other areas e.g. mathematical aspects like counting and positional language.
- They develop social skills through shared singing with friends and family but also acting out the songs together e.g. joining hands to sing row row row your boat.
- Aids the acquisition of new language and words whilst being playful. Often nursery rhymes use actions/ signs to aid memory and support the understanding of the language being used.
and there’s even more reasons…
- They develop non-verbal communication skills
- Nursery rhymes introduce children to different sounds, tones, beats and rhythms
- They develop sequencing skills – singing the same songs regularly allow children to predict what is coming next.
- They are comforting and aid routine and transitions. Many colleagues have always mentioned that I have a song for everything! Children can find transitional times difficult but when a familiar song is sung at the same time it can be comforting e.g. putting toys away, coming together to a circle, saying hello and goodbye in a song to bring everyone together and to signal something coming to an end.
- And lastly… they develop confidence, encourage a joy of singing together and allows children to appreciate language through song.
“Okay, this is a secret, but I think that nursery rhymes are the most relaxing and fun songs.”
Booktrust surveyed over 2,500 people to find out what their favourite nursery rhymes were.
These are the top 10 nursery rhymes!
- Hickory Dickory Dock
- Little Miss Muffet
- Incy Wincy Spider
- Round and Round the garden
- Baa baa black sheep
- Jack and Jill
- The Grand old Duke of York
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- Humpty Dumpty
- If you’re happy and you know it