There’s a reason we remember nursery rhymes from days long gone. They have that magical power of sticking with us long after we have outgrown them. Or did we ever outgrow them at all?
With just a little practice, nursery rhymes are simple to wrap one’s tongue around. Be inspirational or interactive, and they form an integral part of every preschooler’s childhood.
The best nursery rhymes for the wonder years
Relive a part of your childhood with these wonderful nursery rhymes!
#1. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.’
Trivia: Did you know the legendary Mozart composed a tune to this wonderful piece? Bet you sang along as you read!
#2. Jack and Jill
‘Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.’
Trivia: Some say a hill in Kilmersdon, Somerset, known as the ‘Jack and Jill hill,’ was the inspiration behind this, one of the most popular childhood rhymes. Jack and Jill were a couple, and Jack died fetching water from the hill!
#3. Humpty Dumpty
‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.’
Trivia: Contrary to popular belief, Humpty Dumpty was, in truth, most likely a ‘cannon’ that ‘sat on a wall’ in Colchester and was smashed into pieces during the English Civil War. That certainly won’t stop us from thinking of Humpty as the affectionate egg, will it?
#4. Baa, Baa, black sheep
‘Baa, Baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes Sir, yes Sir, three bags full.
One for my master and one for the dame,
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.’
Trivia: One of the most popular nursery rhymes for kids, this one’s actually about the medieval wool tax imposed by King Edward I in the 13th century.
#5. Mary had a little lamb
‘Mary had a little lamb,
His fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go….’
Trivia: This one’s inspired by a real-life Mary Elizabeth Sawyer, born in 1806, who nursed a sickly lamb to good health. Of course, its fleece was ‘white as snow.’ One of the must-haves on a top nursery rhymes list.
#6. I’m a little teapot
‘I’m a little teapot, short and stout.
Here is my handle, and here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout.
Tip me over and pour me out!’
Trivia: One of the more exciting childhood rhymes, this was based on a song by Clarence Kelly to help students master the ‘waltz.’
#7. Itsy Bitsy Spider
‘The itsy bitsy spider went up the waterspout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain,
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed out the spout again.’
Trivia: Our unforgettable ‘itsy bitsy’ spider is known as the ‘incy wincey spider in Australia and the U.K. One of the most catchy nursery rhymes for kids.
#8. Old MacDonald
‘Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
And on his farm, he had a cow, E-I-E-I-O.
With a moo moo here and a moo moo there,
Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo….’
Trivia: One of the more infectious preschool nursery rhymes, the first version had an ‘old MacDougal’ instead of our beloved ‘old MacDonald.’
#9. The wheels on the bus
‘The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town….’
Trivia: One of the most infectious nursery rhymes for kids, this was an American folk song by Verna Hills.
#10. Three Blind Mice
‘Three blind mice, three blind mice.
See how they run, see how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife.
She cut off their tails with a carving knife.
Did you ever see such a sight in your life as three blind mice?’
Trivia: The ‘three blind mice’ were ‘three Protestant loyalists’ accused of plotting against Queen Elizabeth I. This rhyme is a must-have for your nursery rhymes list.
#11. Row, row, row your boat
‘Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream….’
Trivia: American teacher, Elizabeth Oram Lyte’s version of this nursery rhyme has the tune we love dearly. One of the nursery rhymes for kids. You can’t stop singing when you start.
#12 Rock-a-bye baby
‘Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.
Down will come cradle, baby and all….’
Trivia: According to a political theory, these lyrics were a death wish directed at the infant son of King James II in the hope he would die and be replaced by a Protestant king.
Nursery rhymes are important because they are one aspect of pre nursery education that has remained unchanged. The stellar rhymes of old encompassed herein are timeless melodies that will never fail to enthrall children. Oh, and adults, too!
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