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Nursery Rhyme Storytime

As a continuation of the poetry/rhyme theme for April, our preschool storytime kids learned about nursery rhymes today! A couple of our "scholars" knew some of the rhymes, especially the more popular ones like "Humpty Dumpty" and "If Your Happy and You Know It," but for many of them this seemed to be new material. 

I actually became passionate about teaching nursery rhymes after one of my teaching internships with sixth graders. For one of their assignments, I had them create a comic strip using only pictures and interjections to tell the story of a popular fairy-tale or nursery rhyme. I was shocked that so few of them knew these stories! Some didn't even know Cinderella!

Anyway, there is A LOT you can do with nursery rhymes. The lesson I put together has a lot of interactive activities, games, and sing-alongs. We had a blast! 

Suggested Nursery Rhymes: 

1. Hickory Dickory Dock 

2. Hey Diddle Diddle 

3. The Itsy Bitsy Spider 

4. Miss Mary Mack 

5. Little Bo-Peep 

6. Little Miss Muffet 

7. Jack and Jill 

8. Row, Row, Row Your Boat 

9. Mary Had a Little Lamb

10. Little Boy Blue 

11. Do You Know the Muffin Man? 

12. Ring Around the Rosie 

13. Baa, Baa Black Sheep 

14. Pat-a-Cake 

15. It's Raining, It's Pouring 

16. If You're Happy and You Know It 

17. The London Bridge is Falling Down 

18. I'm a Little Tea Pot 

Book Recommendations:

1. Miss Mary Mack by Mary Ann Hoberman: This book extends the "Miss Mary Mack" and does a good job keeping the rhythm. As I read, I had the kids pat their laps along with the rhythm.

2. Hickory, Dickory, Dock & Other Favorite Nursery Rhymes: I liked the illustrations and sturdy "puffy" design of this board book. It has a good range of nursery rhymes, though I skipped some of the less popular ones.

3. Up the Water Spout & Other Nursery Rhymes: This book is adorable because you can move the characters by pulling on a string. The kids were definitely amused.

Activities (Songs & Games):

Pat Along with Miss Mary Mack

This is really simple but effective. As you read Miss Mary Mack, pat your lap every time there is a repeated word like "buttons, buttons, buttons." Invite the kids to pat along with you. The kids quickly got a hang of the rhythm and it sounded great! 

Hickory Dickory Dock Sing-Along 

You will need a clock prop (I used the Tickety Toc: Let's Tell Time! book) and animal finger puppets or figures. Have the kids sing along to "Hickory Dickory Dock," but each time change the animal. As soon as I went behind my back to grab another animal, the kids would get really excited and try to call out what it was first. We used a mouse, frog, duck, cat, and dog. 

I'm a Little Teapot Dance/Sing-Along 

I played this video from Kids Action Songs to demonstrate the song and dance. Once it was over, we sang and did the dance together. 

If You're Happy and You Know It Sing-Along 

We sang and played along with this video from Mother Goose Club. Most of the kids already knew this one. I think this is a good choice to start or close-out storytime, since it is a well-known, cheerful song that ends with "Hooray!" 

Ring Around the Rosy Game

To demonstrate how to play, I showed the kids this video from Mother Goose Club. This was a really fun game to play, once they all figure out which direction to turn. It took them a couple of rounds to get it right but they were good by the end! They really enjoyed falling over and jumping up. 

The London Bridge is Falling Down Game

This was the highlight of our storytime! They loved this game and did not want to stop! I was surprised that they all wanted to help me be the bridge and most of them wanted to get caught. Here is the demo video from Mother Goose Club. 

Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt

The kids also had a blast with this one and asked if they could do it again. To get them excited, explain that this activity will be like Blue's Clues or hunting for Easter Eggs. 

First, you will need to choose five nursery rhymes, each of which have at least two significant objects or people. I chose "Jack and Jill," Row, Row, Row Your Boat," "Humpty Dumpty," "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," and "Hickory Dickory Dock."

You will need a large illustration or print-out to represent each nursery rhyme, then 10 little cards or objects to hide around the room. I made cards for my 10 objects: pail of water, crown, Humpty Dumpty, wall, boat, stream, spider, waterspout, clock, and mouse. 

Rhyme Matching Game (Back vs Down) 

As always, I had the kids identify rhymes by comparing words to two choices, this time "back" (from Miss Mary Mack) and "down" (from "Jack and Jill"). I created flashcards for each word and had the kids repeat the word then say "back" and "down" to figure out which one was the rhyme. 

Down rhymes: brown, frown, crown, town, clown

Back rhymes: black, shack, pack, snack, shack, smack, quack

Anyway, our little scholars had so much fun with this storytime! I hope yours will too! :)


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