Nine Nifty Nursery Rhyme Activities

Nursery rhymes help children develop important pre-reading skills, such as phonemic awareness, and make language fun! Here are nine fun, interactive ideas to present nursery rhymes in storytimes:

1) Hey-diddle-diddle:

Read Over the Moon by Rachel Vail. (New York: Orchard, 1998.) This story is a clever twist on the classic nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”. A frustrated director can’t get his cow to understand how to go OVER the moon. The story emphasizes prepositions in a fun way. After reading the story, make a large paper moon and have volunteers help you act out the various ways the cow interacts with the moon.  Then, for a surprise, use the “Magic Door to Books” trick found in Carolyn Feller Bauer’s Leading Kids to Books Through Magic (American Library Association, 1996) to walk through your moon. Review the prepositions in the book at the end.

2) The Little Spider: A Nursery Rhyme from the Philippines:

Every culture around the world has nursery rhymes. Many of the themes of nursery rhymes are similar across different cultures. Share this rhyme from the Philippines with children and ask them if it reminds them of one that they know.

The little spider, the little spider (wiggle index finger)

Climbed up the branch (move index finger up opposite arm)

The rain came down (wiggle fingers down)

Pushed it away. (show spider falling)

The sun came up (hold arms in circle over head)

It dried the branch.

The little spider is always happy. (make index finger hop up arm again)

Learn how to share this rhyme using American Sign Language in this free video featuring Kathy MacMillan.

For more terrific nursery rhymes from around the world, see http://itsasmallworld.co.nz/index.php.

3) Hickory Dickory Dock:

Give each child two rhythm sticks and have them hold them like clock hands to show the time in each verse of the rhyme.

Hickory Dickory Dock,

the mouse ran up the clock,

the clock struck 1, the mouse ran down

Hickory Dickory Dock!

…the clock struck 2, the mouse said “Boo!”

…the clock struck 3, the mouse said, “Whee!”

…the clock struck 4, the mouse said, “More!”

…the clock struck 5, the mouse did the hand jive.

…the clock struck 6, the mouse did magic tricks,

…the clock struck 7, the mouse said, “This is heaven!”

…the clock struck 8, the mouse cried, “I’m late!”

…the clock struck 9, the mouse said, “Fine!”

…the clock struck 10, the mouse said, “Again!”

…the clock struck 11, the mouse said, “Still heaven!”

…the clock struck 12, the mouse said, “Swell!”

4) Little Miss Muffet:

Try a traditional nursery rhyme silly style! Alter the last words of the rhyme, making sure to act very seriously, as though you think these are the correct words. The kids will love correcting you!

Example:

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her…macaroni and cheese

Along came a…dinosaur

And sat down beside her

And ask her to go to the library!

5) Jack Be Nimble:

Set an unlit candle in the middle of the floor. (A large pillar candle works well for this activity.) Recite the rhyme together, then invite the children to take turns coming for-ward and jumping over the candlestick as everyone says the rhyme, replacing “Jack” with each child’s name. This activity is popular with babies through preschool. (Parents can lift babies over the candlestick.)

_____ be nimble, _______ be quick.

Jack jump over the candlestick!

Learn how to share this rhyme using American Sign Language in this free video featuring Kathy MacMillan.

6) This Little Piggy:

Make this traditional rhyme interactive by having the children suggest new destinations and foods for the piggies. Write their suggestions on a board or flipchart, then have everyone recite the new rhymes together. This is a great tie-in for nursery rhyme, community helper or “in my town” storytimes.

Example:

This little piggy went to the zoo,

This little piggy stayed home.

This little piggy had ice cream,

And this little piggy had none.

And this little piggy went “Wee! Wee! Wee!” all the way home.

7) The Grand Old Duke of York:

Give each child a pair of rhythm sticks and tap out the rhythm of the song as you sing, moving the sticks up and down as the soldiers do.

The grand old Duke of York,

He had ten thousand men

He marched them up to the top of the hill,

And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,

And when they were down, they were down,

And when they were only half-way up,

They were neither up nor down.

8) Wee Willie Winkie:

In your baby program, pass out large pom-poms to the parents. Invite them to use the pom-poms as puppets to act out this classic nursery rhyme, making the pom-pom race up and down baby’s arms and tap gently on their foreheads:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,

Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown,

Tapping at the window and crying through the lock,

Are all the children in their beds, it’s past eight o’clock?

9) Jack and Jill:

This interactive craft is a great way to act out this favorite nursery rhyme.

  1. Print out the craft templates here.
  2. Cut a slit in the “Up the Hill” sheet along the dotted line.
  3. Color Jack and Jill, then cut them out.
  4. Glue Jack and Jill to the craft sticks.
  5. Poke the sticks through the slit in the worksheet to act out the rhyme!
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: