The Benefits of Nursery Rhymes

In Blog, Communication, Early Language by Julie

World Nursery Rhyme Week 2019 is here!
Nursery Rhymes are a brilliant foundation for so many later developing skills including speech, language and literacy.

Nursery Rhymes are repetitive and fun which makes them appealing to children and this repetition also helps to develop early memory skills. They are also useful for developing a range of skills including:

Speech– Nursery Rhymes are great for developing auditory skills including sound discrimination, volume, pitch, rhythm and rhyme. Young children may not yet be able to say all of the words correctly but hearing adults sing them with the correct sounds is useful to develop these skills further.

Language – Nursery Rhymes are useful for language acquisition. Children can encounter a range of new words which are often accompanied by actions. They can also help with inferencing skills as children may have to deduce new words e.g. fetch in Jack and Jill.

Children are sometimes able to follow the instructions within nursery rhymes too such as ‘we all fall down’ (Ring o’ Roses) or If you’re happy and you know it ‘clap your hands’.

Literacy – Nursery Rhymes are a nice introduction to early poetry and literary devices such as alliteration. They provide exposure to early phonemic skills which sets a good foundation for reading and spelling.

Social and physical development – Nursery Rhymes can be sung 1:1, in small groups or with the whole class which makes them great for social development. Many nursery rhymes also have actions which children can join in with and this is good for social and physical development e.g. holding hands and moving in a circle for ‘Ring o’ Roses’ or making eye contact during ‘row your boat’.

Creativity and play – Nursery rhymes can be used as a topic for creative activities such as painting, playdough and pretend play (e.g. Miss Polly had a Dolly).

Nursery Rhymes are great fun for children of a wide age range, especially in the pre-school years. It’s never too early to start singing nursery rhymes with your child and there’s lots of different ways to encourage your child to join in.

When singing to young babies, making eye contact and pausing at different parts of the rhyme can encourage them to develop anticipation. As children get older they can be encouraged to copy actions and join in with animal noises e.g. in Old McDonald had a Farm. Other ideas to encourage participation and development include:

  • Using actions with the songs and encourage the child to join in with the actions (which they are likely to be able to do much earlier than joining in with the words)
  • Have objects which are associated with each nursery rhyme and encourage your child to choose the object to select which rhyme they want to hear/sing e.g. a star for Twinkle Twinkle, a sheep for Old McDonald and a bus for the Wheels on the Bus etc.
  • Leaving words out of familiar nursery rhymes and seeing if they can fill in the blank e.g. Twinkle Twinkle little ______
  • Using books with nursery rhymes in and looking at the pictures together. This will help with language development as the pictures will support the words. For example ‘the cow jumped over the moon’.
  • There are also nice nursery rhyme videos online which you could watch with your child. Cbeebies have some good ones!

For more ideas and information visit the World Nursery Rhyme week website.

We would love to hear about your child’s favourite nursery rhymes and activities. Get in touch via our website, Facebook or Twitter!