From dressing up your own little Jack and Jill to singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat in the bath tub – nursery rhymes are a lovely way to play and learn with your little ones. For World Nursery Rhyme Week, we’ve rounded up some great ideas for celebrating nursery rhymes with your children and capturing all the magical moments to look back on in years to come.
What is World Nursery Rhyme Week?
World Nursery Rhyme Week is a worldwide celebration of the fun and importance of sharing nursery rhymes with young children. It takes place every year in November and it’s been going since 2013. If you’ve got a toddler or pre-schooler in childcare, you’ve probably already heard all about it – and got the results of the Incy Wincy Spider craft activities stuck up on your fridge!
Why is singing and sharing nursery rhymes great for kids?
Singing and saying nursery rhymes with babies and young children has loads of benefits.
• Simple songs and rhymes help develop language and communication skills from a young age. Even tiny babies love hearing the sounds and starting to try and copy them.
• The rhythm, rhymes and repetition make language development fun, so children don’t realise they’re learning, they just soak it all up naturally.
• Hearing and saying all the different sounds builds strong foundations for the reading and writing skills that come later.
• The themes and characters in nursery rhymes open up all sorts of other areas young kids love learning about – animals, food, space, sports and so on.
• Recognising nursery rhymes and joining in with the singing and actions alongside other children helps kids gain confidence in social settings.
• Becoming familiar with simple stories early on can help encourage a love of reading as they grow.
How to share the nursery rhyme fun with your kids
Just start singing (or saying) nursery rhymes
First of all, don’t worry if you think you can’t sing! Babies and young children are the least judgmental beings on the planet, they will absolutely love being with you and sharing the time together no matter what you sound like, so try not to be self-conscious. If you really don’t want to sing, you could just read out the words or use a CD or YouTube to help you with the melody.
Before I had my baby, I thought I’d forgotten all the nursery rhymes I knew as a kid. But 2.5 years of going along to playgroups, library sessions and sing-a-longs with my little girl has lodged them firmly in my brain again! In other words, don’t worry about not knowing enough nursery rhymes yourself because you’ll hear them everywhere you go with your baby.
Dress up your kids as their favourite nursery rhyme characters
If your little one is into dress-up, or you’re going along to a theme party, there are some really simple costumes you can pull together to join in with the nursery rhyme theme.
• Jack and/or Jill – Put on cute play clothes, give them a little bucket and wrap a bandage round their head for the ‘broken crown’
• Incy Wincy Spider or the spider who frightened Miss Muffet – Wear all black clothes, cut up and stuff a pair of black tights to make the spider’s extra legs, sew them on to the side of the top. You could also stick some googly eyes onto a black beany hat.
• Old Macdonald – Checked shirt, muddy trousers and boots and a straw hat for the classic farmer look! Carry some farmyard toys or take them along in a mini trailer or wheelbarrow.
• Dingle Dangle Scarecrow – the same as Old Macdonald but stick some hay in arm and leg holes and pockets. Attach toy birds to hat or shoulder. You could add a scarecrow type wig if you have one.
• Baa Baa Black Sheep / Mary’s Little Lamb or Little Bo Peep’s sheep – dress in all white or black, attach some card, fabric or fluffy lamb’s ears to a headband or hat and make a little tail from a stuffed sock. You could also facepaint a nose and mouth if you like.
• This Little Piggy – variation on the above sheep costume just pink, with appropriate shaped ears and tail.
• Queen or King from Sing a Song of Sixpence/Queen of Hearts/Old King Cole – create a robe in a regal colour (red, dark blue or purple are good) from a blanket or sheet by adding some gold ribbons, buttons and other embellishments. Use some gold or silver card to cut out a crown shape. Add details from the nursery rhyme – e.g. coins or bread and honey for Sing a Song of Sixpence, pipe and bowl for Old King Cole.
Try some nursery rhyme activities
Using a theme for craft activities and games with your little one at home is a great way to make playtime more fun and memorable. Sing or listen to the nursery rhymes while you play.
• Playdough Incy Wincy Spiders
• I’m a Little Teapot tipping teapot
• Humpty Dumpty egg splat painting
• Little Bo Peep paper sheep
Remember the nursery rhyme moments as they grow
Seeing how your child’s love of nursery rhymes develops as they grow up is a wonderful way of marking their milestones. From clapping their hands along as you sing, to joining in with just a few words to dancing around singing the song on their own, it’s a special journey to recognise and record.
It’s just this kind of journey of discovery that Lifecake’s baby photo app was made for. Remembering all the cute little things your little one does, sharing them with your closest loved ones, seeing everyone’s comments and scrolling back through the age-stamped timeline to relive every single milestone.
Find out all about how our baby milestone app can help you make the most of your family’s most treasured memories. Or take a look at our blog, How to plan like a pro for taking baby to the beach, to get more practical tips on making magical memories with your baby.