Nursery Rhymes



You don’t have to have a baby around to enjoy nursery rhymes.  Young children like the nonsense words and silly ideas presented in nursery rhymes and older children may like to re-explore them in different ways. This theme day is fun for all ages.


Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.




Try to find Ella Fitzgerald’s recording of “A-Tisket-A-Tasket” on your favourite music provider.

Many nursery rhymes have been put to music like “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” “Three Blind Mice,” “Sing A Song of Six Pence,” “Old King Cole,” Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry bush,” etc..  if you have any recordings of children’s music look for those titles or just sing them out loud together.



This whole theme day is about rhymes, but if you happen to know any finger play or clapping actions for any of them, like “Pat-a-cake” be sure to do them.




You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Nursery Rhyme Coloring Pages” or print out my Mother Goose Colouring Page.   



Write out one or more of the following questions in the family notebook or on a piece of paper to glue in your family scrapbook:  What is your favourite nursery rhyme? How many nursery rhymes can you name? Can you make up your own nursery rhyme?

 Choose the level of your child:

¨     Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer

¨     Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.

¨     Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.

¨     Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response.  (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)

¨     Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).

¨     As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story about characters in a nursery rhyme (like Humpty Dumpty, Mary and her Lamb, Mother Goose, the three Blind Mice...) or write their own rhyming nursery rhyme based on the structure of his/her favourite.



Print out my Nursery Rhymes Word Search:

Easy Nursery Rhyme Word Search or Difficult Nursery Rhyme Word Search.

Check here for the answer keys:

Easy Nursery Rhyme Word Search Key or Difficult Nursery Rhyme Word Search Key.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any nursery rhyme books


Go to the library with your child to find some nursery rhyme collections.


Go to the library on your own to find nursery rhyme books to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (type in Nursery Rhyme under Children’s books).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Here are some collections with many nursery rhymes in them:


· Mother Goose: A Collection of Nursery Rhymes, illustrated by Brian Wildsmith, Oxford University Press, 1964 – This older collection has wonderful watercolour illustrations and offers a huge collection of nursery rhymes, many of which I had never read before.


· Over the Hills and Far Away: A Book of Nursery Rhymes, selected and illustrated by Alan Marks, A Michael Neugebauer Book, 1993 – This is a collection of sixty different nursery rhymes offering some unique ones as well as old favourites.


· Sing a Song of Mother Goose, by Barbara Reid, North Winds Press, 2007 – The illustrations made out of Plasticine are fascinating to examine which makes this collection of 14 nursery rhymes unique.


· A Stitch in Rhyme: A Nursery Rhyme Sampler with Embroidered Illustrations, by Belinda Downes, Alfred A Knopf, 1996 – Classic nursery rhymes are given new life with beautiful embroidery in this unique collection.


Here are some picture books featuring only one nursery rhyme:

· Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, by Sophie Fatus & Fred Penner, Barefoot Books, 2007 – This book comes with a CD recording of Fred Penner singing the nursery rhyme.  The book itself features bright illustrations of four children from different cultures (meant to be from Europe, Mali, India and China) doing all the activities in the morning.


· Mary Had A Little Lamb (Sing-Along Stories), adapted by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated Nadine Bernard Westcott, Little, Brown and Company, 2003 – This starts off with the original poem but then adds more humorous stanzas showing what the lamb and children did all day at school.


· One Two Buckle My Shoe, by Anna Grossnickle Hines, Harcourt Inc., 2008 –The illustrations in this book were made out of fabric, thread and buttons creating a unique approach to the counting nursery rhyme.



This one is a great book for parents:


· Humpty who? A Crash Course in 80 Nursery Rhymes for Clueless Moms and Dads, by Jennifer Griffin, Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 2007 – This little book includes a CD with 35 recorded nursery rhyme songs and in the book features those plus more in alphabetical order with little bits of information on the rhymes or different ideas on when to use the rhymes.


These offer different spins to the classic nursery rhymes:


· And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon, by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel and illustrated by Janet Stevens, Harcourt, Inc., 2001 – The Cat (and the fiddle),  the cow (who jumped over the moon) and the little dog (who laughed) go on a search for the dish and the spoon who ran away and didn’t return.


· Mary Had A Little Jam and other Silly Rhymes, created by Bruce Lansky and illustrated by Stephen Carpenter, Meadowbrook Press, 2004 – Formerly titled “The New Adventures of Mother Goose” this one offers a look at what some of the classic characters are up to now.


· You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Mother Goose Tales to Read Together, by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Michael Emberley, Little, Brown and Company, 2005 – My son and I like to read this series together as it has different parts highlighted in different colours for two readers.  This book has fun little stories based on nursery rhymes.






Materials: A paper plate, a plastic spoon, googly eyes in different sizes (optional), permanent marker (be careful when you offer it to your child), coloured paper and child safe scissors, pipe-cleaners, hole-punch, white glue, and clear tape.


· Step 1:  Have your child draw a face on a paper plate (the plates we had needed permanent markers).  You could also just offer them cut out pieces of colored paper as the parts of the face and have your child glue them on.  Googly eyes glued on make a more whimsical craft as well.

· Step 2: Help your child to draw a face on the plastic spoon (or glue on googly eyes as well).

· Step 3: (Parent step) Cut two pipe-cleaners in half for your child.  Help them to twist the first one around the spoon as arms.  Bend the second piece of pipe-cleaner into legs and then tape them on the spoon (glue didn’t work for us).

· Step 4: Hole punch spots on the paper plate for arms and legs.

· Step 5: (Parent Step) Cut two more pipe-cleaners in half for your child.  Help them to string the pipe-cleaner through the hole and twist it to secure in place making two arms and two legs.

· Step 6: Twist one of the spoon’s arms to one of the dish’s arms.

· Step 7: Recite the nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle.”




Materials: Coloured paper (two colours – one should be purple or red), makers, child-safe scissors, glue-stick.


Step 1: have your child pick the colour of paper he/she wants to use.

Step 2: Help your child trace his/her hand on the paper.

Step 3: Have your child draw and decorate a sleeve on the picture of the hand print.

Step 4: Cut out an oval shape out of purple or red paper.

Step 5: Have your child glue the purple oval (a plum) onto the thumb.

Step 6: Recite the nursery rhyme “Little Jack Horner.”

Step 7: Display the picture or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.




Materials: Paper plate, coloured paper, scrapbook brad, markers, glue-stick, child-safe scissors, clear tape, face-cloth for sticky fingers.


· Step 1: If your child is able to, have him/ her write the numbers 1 to 12 onto the face of the paper plate as on a clock.


· Step 1: If your child is not old enough to write the numbers cut out 12 circles (I used a pencil sharpener to trace around and folded paper over to cut out the circles) and write the numbers 1 to 12 on them.  Then help your child glue the numbers on the face of the plate as on a clock.

· Step 2: Cut out two different sized (in length) rectangles to use as hands on the clock.

· Step 3: (Parent step) Using the scrapbook brad puncture a hole in the paper plate for your child and then puncture the bottom of the two rectangles through the brad and thread the brad through the paper plate.  Flip the paper plate over and fold the brad’s ends over to secure the clock’s hands in place.

· Step 4: Cut out three circles from coloured paper (whatever colour your child wants his/her mouse to be) and glue them together to form a mouse’s head with two circles as ears on the top of one circle as a face.

· Step 5: Have your child draw a face on the mouse.

· Step 6: Help your child tape the mouse head onto the clock.

· Step 7: If your child is interested, have him/her decorate the face of the clock as he/she wishes.  My eldest wanted to make a grandfather clock so her added more to the paper plate (he used paper and coloured foam).

· Step 8: Help your child turn the clock to read “one O’clock” and recite the nursery rhyme “Hickory dickory dock the mouse went up the clock.”


HINT: This craft is a good one to review numbers with your younger children and to review telling time with older children.


              HUMPTY DUMPTY’S CLOTHES (this craft goes with the first snack listed below):


                            Materials: An empty paper egg carton, markers, child-safe scissors.


· Step 1: (Parent Step) Cut out as many cups as needed (depends on how many hard boiled eggs you want to cook).

· Step 2: Have your child use markers to decorate the individual egg cups to make clothes for Humpty Dumpty.

· Step 3: Put hard boiled egg in the cup when you are ready for snack time and refer to snack time instructions below.




Pat-a-cake Pancakes would be a yummy treat to start off this theme day. Don’t forget to make it with a “B” or “T” or “J” or whatever letter using chocolate chips or blueberries.



Humpty Dumpty Hard Boiled Eggs:


Ingredients: Eggs (as many as you want to cook), food colouring, Q-tips.


· Step 1: Follow the steps above to make Humpty Dumpty’s clothes.

· Step 2: Place cooled hard boiled egg in the decorated egg cup.

· Step 3:  (Parent Step) Squeeze a little bit of food colouring into separate bowls

· Step 4: Give your child Q-tips to dip into the food colouring to use as paint and have them paint a face on Humpty Dumpty.

· Step 5: Recite the nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall...” and when you get to “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall” crack the egg!  (My boys L-O-V-E-D that part!). Help your child peel the egg and enjoy your snack.


Little Jack Horner’s Plums would make an easy healthy snack on this theme day.

Miss Muffet’s Curds and Whey could easily be adjusted as a bowl of cottage cheese.



Make some Little Piggy’s Roast Beef sandwiches for lunch.  Or if your children don’t eat meat recite the rhyme replacing it with some other two syllable ingredient and make a different type of sandwich.



Make or buy a Sing a song of Chicken Pot Pie (or Veggie Pot Pie) for dinner.


 Queen of Heart Tarts:


Ingredients: A tube of refrigerated biscuits dough, strawberry (or other flavour) jam , flour, a clean plastic bottle with the lid on, a spoon, a baking sheet.


· Step 1: (Parent Step) Follow instructions on the tube of refrigerated biscuits and pre-heat the oven.

· Step 2: Place individual pieces of biscuit dough on a baking sheet.

· Step 3: Dip the end of a clean plastic bottle with the lid on in flour and then let your child pres a circle into the middle of each biscuit.

· Step 4: Scoop some jam out and place in the indented circle on the biscuit.

· Step 5: (Parent step) Cook the biscuits in the pre-heated oven for about 12 minutes or until cooked and slightly golden.


Make some Georgie Porgie Pudding (instant from a box is easy) or Pie (whatever flavour your family likes).




Find out what a nursery rhyme is by looking at Wikipedia:

For the history behind many nursery rhymes check out this site:




Many nursery rhymes are already games like: London Bridge Is Falling Down, Ring-A-Round-A-Rosie, and All Around the Mulberry Bush.  Play them together as a family.


Make up your own games using your child’s favourite rhymes.  For instance, you could stand a flashlight on end and play “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, jack jumped over the candlestick.”



Print out my Nursery Rhymes Scavenger Hunt Worksheet before hand to make sure you have all the items around your house.  Give the sheet to each child or work together as a group and find all the items on the list.



Once you’ve finished the scavenger hunt give your child a copy of my Nursery Rhymes Matching Sheet to see if he/she can guess which item belongs to which nursery rhyme.  For the answer key check here: Nursery Rhyme Matching Answer Key.



Take turns reciting the rhymes and jumping  to the beat.






Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with a nursery rhyme theme .


 Young children might like these titles:


· Dora the Explorer: Rhymes and Riddles

· Wee Sing: King Cole’s Party, Wee Sing Productions, 2004


Photo: C Wright

Photo: C Wright


Humpty Dumpty

Edmonton Valley Zoo

The Cat and the Fiddle

Edmonton Valley Zoo

The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon Craft

 Little Jack Horner’s Hand Print

 Hickory Dickory Dock Clock

 Humpty Dumpty Hard Boiled Eggs

 Queen of Heart’s Jam Tarts