You betcha they are! Did you know that experts have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, then they are usually among the best readers by the time they are eight?

Researchers believe that the average elementary school child in 1945 had a vocabulary of 10,000 words. They believe that today’s average child has a vocabulary of 2,500 words. It is generally felt that one of the main reasons for the gap is attributable to the fact that we don’t focus on kids memorising nursery rhymes so much these days.

Do you feel stuck for fun ways to do Nursery Rhymes with your child? If so, here’s eight fun Nursery Rhyme activities.

  1. The first step to enjoying nursery rhymes is to get a simple book with great pictures in to captivate your child. I love this one because it only has 16 rhymes in so it’s not overwhelming.
  2. Rhymes with actions are perfect for active little ones, try “Two Little Dickie birds”, “Round and round the garden” and “Mother and Father and Uncle John.”
  3. Find a time during the day when your child is not too wriggly and make that rhyme & song time. Mid afternoon often is a good time.
  4. Do rhymes as you’re driving. Try missing out words and let your child put them in “Twinkle twinkle little …….”
  5. Baa Baa Black sheep uses onomatopoeia (Baa sounds like a sheep sound.) Try mixing it up by using different animals “Cluck cluck red chicken have you any seeds?”
  6. You can download free printable picture stories for all the common rhymes. Google something like “Merrily we roll along printables” print off the story, let your child put it in order and tell the story to you.
  7. Create a rhyme sack, put 8 objects in to represent 8 rhymes (eg a spider for incy wincy spider.) Let your child play “lucky dip” to choose a rhyme to do.
  8. Incorporate rhymes in with food – Do Humpty Dumpty when you do eggs, pat-a-cake when you bake a cake, incy wincy spider for…oh, wait maybe not that one!


Rhymes are an incredibly efficient way of teaching the basics of our language – vocabulary, rhythm, rhyming, alliteration…the list goes on. There are lots of rhymes out there, but you don’t need to know them all. Just choose eight that you like and repeat often!

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