Early literacy is often focused on books and looking at words, but playing with and listening to words is equally important for a strong foundation. This is why incorporating nursery rhyme activities into your lesson plans is vital. Oral language development can be supported and developed at home in many ways; conversation, songs, and nursery rhymes are my three favorite tools for oral language development. Nursery rhymes are easy for children to memorize and recite repeatedly, adding some new words and rhymes into their lexicon. When children play with nursery rhymes, they learn all about rhyming and how sounds work, which is an important part of literacy development. These lessons include much more than nursery rhymes but use them as the theme to then learn and practice all kinds of preschool skills.
What are some good nursery rhymes for preschoolers?
My favorite nursery rhymes are ones that my students may have already heard at home. That gives my students something to connect these lessons to. Hearing “Hey, my Grandma sings this to me!” is a great thing. We aren’t boring our students; rather, we are building on prior knowledge and experience. This is a positive thing for learning. Here are my favorite nursery rhymes for preschool:
Hey Diddle Diddle
Hickory Dickory Dock
I’m A Little Teapot
Itzy Bitzy Spider
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Old McDonald Had A Farm
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
How do you teach nursery rhymes to preschoolers?
The fun thing about teaching nursery rhymes is that you can fit them in no matter what. They are great transition activities; you can recite them and leave out a word by having your students fill it in; you can change up words to make deconstructed nursery rhymes, for example, change up the color of the sheep in Baa Baa Black sheep, or the shape in Twinkle Twinkle little star. Just have fun! For more detailed lessons and activities, check out the activities for nursery rhymes list below.
Hey Diddle Diddle Activities for Preschool
I love this nursery rhyme for preschool because it’s silly, can cows really jump over the moon? Of course not! Here are some great nursery rhyme teaching resources for you:
Hey Diddle Diddle Printables for Preschool
Puffy Paint Moon
Hickory Dickory Dock Lesson Plans
There are so many nursery rhymes with mice, but this is probably my favorite. I like incorporating some positional words and new vocabulary while reciting it. Here are more great ideas to use for your nursery rhyme lesson with this great one.
Hickory Dickory Dock Printables for PreK
Humpty Dumpty Crafts and Lessons
I can’t recommend the book After the Fall by Dan Santat enough. It’s a great fractured fairytale. After reading that try these activities:
Humpty dumpty craft from I heart crafty things
Eggshell writing tray.
Plastic egg sink and float
Rubber Egg Experiment
I’m A Little Teapot Ideas for Preschool
Who doesn’t love this little diddy? Of course, one of the best thing you can do while teaching this nursery rhyme with your students is to make and taste tea! After that try these fun ideas.
I’m a little teapot printables for learning
Have a tea party.
Itzy Bitzy Spider Crafts for Preschoolers
There is no shortage of spider craft and activity ideas, but most are related to Halloween. Here are some great Itsy Bitsy Spider-themed activities for your classroom.
Itsy Bitsy Spider Printables
Painting with Bugs
Pool Noodle Spider Painting
Weather themed activities
Mary Had A Little Lamb Lesson Plan
Another wonderful fractured fairytale for preschool is Mary Had A Little Glam – it’s a great update of the original. After reading it or the original try these activities:
Mary Had A Little Glam Lesson Plan
Cotton Ball Lamb
Lamb Sticky Wall
Old MacDonald Had A Farm Activities for Preschool
I love this nursery rhyme, or maybe I hate it. My last name is McDonald so I’ve had it sung to me in a mocking way all my life. Still, it’s a great teaching tool so I never skip it. Here are some great activities to use with Old MacDonald.
Farm Sensory Bin
Farm Sounds Circle Time
Farm Animal Matching
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Crafts for Preschoolers
This is my favorite nursery rhyme because stars are my favorite shape. You can use these Twinkle Twinkle Little Star activities with the rhyme or while learning about space!
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Printables
S is for Star
Star Name Tray