Nursery Rhymes

Talking to your child from their first day helps with their communication and speech development. You may just want to talk to your child about what you can see and what you are doing although you may want to introduce nursery rhymes to your child. Nursery rhymes are an excellent way to help your child to learn to speak and also to read as they get older. Most nursery rhymes involve repetition, rhythm and rhyme which are all vital in learning language. Not only are they vital to your child’s development but they are often a lot of fun and will bring a smile to your baby’s face as you recite or sing them to her.

Most nursery rhymes are quite short and easy to learn and remember if you don’t already know them. You can recite or sing a nursery rhyme to your child at any time of the day and anywhere, maybe as you change her nappy, waiting for her milk to warm up, in the car or as you queue at the supermarket.

As your child gets older, you can encourage her to clap along with you as you sing or you could leave out the last word of each line and encourage her to say it or sing along with you.  You could buy or make a few instruments that you can bang or shake along to the rhythm with.  You could also make up actions to the nursery rhymes and learn them together.

There are many, many different nursery rhymes and sometimes the words in them may vary or more than one verse is said, however, it does not matter which ones or which versions you know.

You can also change the words to suit you, for example ‘Jack and Jill’ could easily be changed to other names such as ‘William and James went up the hill to fetch a pail of water’ as this is likely to amuse your child further and create more giggles and smiles.  You can also make up your own nursery rhymes together about any topic that interests you or your child such as space, trains or shopping.  Making up rhymes is an excellent way to help your child to use and aid their imagination.

If you are stuck for ideas of traditional nursery rhymes, we have listed some of our favourite ones below.


Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty Sat on the Wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Possible Action – Sit on the floor with your knees bent, sit your baby on top of your knees and bump her up and down.  Drop your knees as Humpty falls off the wall.

Round and Round the Garden
Round and Round the garden
Like a teddy bear
One step, two step
Tickle you under there
Possible action – Run your finger in a circle movement on your baby’s palm or tummy, on the steps move your fingers to her armpit or chin and tickle.

Incey Wincey Spider
Incey Wincey Spider
Climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain
And Incey Wincey Spider climbed up the Spout again
Possible action – Move finger and thumbs to make a climbing action, wiggle fingers downwards for the rain, make a sun shape in the air, wiggle fingers for the rain going up and finish by making your fingers climb again.


Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake Baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
Pat it and prick it and mark it with a B
And put it in the oven for baby and me
Possible action- Clap your hands together or clap each other’s hands


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, Twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Possible action – Flick you fingers out to make stars, point up to the sky, make a diamond with finger and thumb and flick your fingers again.


Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory dickory dock
Possible action – swing from side to side like the pendulum on a clock


Baa Baa Black Sheep
Baa baa black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full
One for the master
One for the dame
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane
Thank you said the master
Thank you said the dame
And Thank you said the little boy who lived down the lane


Little Miss Muffet
Little Miss Muffet
She sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away


Doctor Foster
Doctor Foster went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain
He stepped in a puddle
Right up to his middle
And never went there again!


Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after


Jack be nimble
Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick


Ring-o-ring of roses
Ring-o-ring of roses
Pocket full of posies
Atishoo, atishoo
We all fall down


Old King Cole
Old King Cole was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he
He called for his pipe in the middle of the night
And he called for his fiddlers three.


It’s Raining
It’s raining
It’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and bumped his head
And didn’t get up till the morning


Little Bo-Peep
Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep
And doesn’t know where to find them
Leave them alone and they’ll come home
Wagging their tails behind them


Three men in a tub
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker
All in the tub all three


See-saw Margery Daw
See saw Margery daw
Johnny shall get a new master
He shall get a penny a day
Unless he can work any faster


Two little dicky birds
Two little dicky birds sitting on the wall
One named Peter
One named Paul
Fly away Peter
Fly away Paul
Come back Peter
Come back Paul


The Cherry Tree
Once I found a cherry stone,
I put it in the ground,
And when I came to look at it,
A tiny shoot I found.

The shoot grew up and up each day,
And soon became a tree,
I picked the rosy cherries then,
And ate them for my tea


Ride a cock horse
Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse,
With rings on her fingers
And bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes.


If you are still stuck for nursery rhyme ideas you could research online or purchase a book on nursery rhymes.  Some examples of nursery rhyme books include:


by Jenny, mum to William and James

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