Hickory, Dickory, Dock ~ time, opposites/position words (up/down)
Jack Be Nimble ~ position words (over); Letter J
Little Boy Blue ~ position words (under); Color: blue; Farm
Humpty Dumpty ~ opposites/position words (on/off); Easter (eggs); Letter H, D, E; Color: white
Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater ~ Halloween; Fall; Pumpkins; Color: orange; Letter P
Jack and Jill ~ Letter J; opposites/position words (up/down/after)
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star ~ Space; position words (above/in)
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep ~ Farm; Color: black; Letter B; Counting to 3
Hey Diddle, Diddle ~ Letter D; position words (over)
Little Jack Horner ~ position words/opposites (in/out); Fruits; Color: purple
Little Miss Muffet ~ position words (on); Halloween; Spiders; Letter M; Color: black (spider)
Mary Had a Little Lamb ~ Farm, Back to School; Letter M; Color: white
Mistress Mary ~ Spring; Plants/Gardening; Letter M
The following are some resources for teaching nursery rhymes in general. For activities specifically for each nursery rhyme, click on the link in the table for that nursery rhyme. All links will not work to begin with, as it takes a while to build each web page. When the page goes online, the link will become active.
Review: Because many of my students have poor memorization skills we review the nursery rhymes that we learn every day. To keep everyone on track, we start with the first one that we learn then do them in sequential order as we learned them. The students not only get practice in memorizing the rhymes, but also memorize the order in which they’re learned. The “leaders” in the group always get a big kick out of being the one that remembers the order of the nursery rhymes and practically lead without any assistance from me. Because they want to demonstrate their skill for the rest of the group, they speak loudly and it seems to enhance group participation.
Another idea to use for daily review would be to show the group a “prop” for each rhyme. For instance if you wanted them to recite Humpty Dumpty, you would show them a plastic egg.
Nursery Rhyme Boxes: Put together a prop box of sorts for each nursery rhyme you intend teaching. An excellent box for this would be one of the larger size laundry detergent boxes that already comes with a handle. The handle makes the box very portable and can be used anywhere in the classroom. The boxes can be spray painted and you can add an appropriate graphic and the name of the rhyme to the front of the box. The box can also be covered with contact paper if you prefer. The size and storage of the boxes may present a problem for some. Another alternative would be to use either shoeboxes or small plastic storage containers from Wal-Mart.
Inside the box you’ll want to put a laminated copy of the rhyme. Try to make it as large as possible, but where it will still fit into the box. The larger the print, the easier it is for students to track. If you’re using a shoebox, you might want to glue your rhyme into the underside of the lid. Along with the copy of the rhyme, you’ll also need props that coordinate with the rhyme. For instance:
Humpty Dumpty ~ plastic egg; one of those large cardboard bricks that come in a set for young children, or blocks to build a wall, or a small rectangular box (like checks come in) covered to look like a wall; and maybe some soldiers for the “king’s men”.
Jack and Jill ~ a small pail, a cardboard hill, a picture of a well, pictures of Jack and Jill
Little Miss Muffet ~ a plastic spider, a bowl and spoon
Hey Diddle Diddle ~ a plastic spoon and plate, a toy cow, dog, cat; a moon photocopied onto cardstock, colored, and laminated.
Dramatic Play: In your dress up area, you can place clothes and props to be used to act out the rhymes. You can also provide them with masks, puppets, and stick puppets.
Nursery Rhyme Matching Game: Using graphics appropriate for each rhyme, make a matching game on cardstock and laminate. Choose two graphics for each rhyme. For instance, for Hey Diddle Diddle you could have a card with a cow jumping over a moon, and another card with a dish and a spoon. The students would have to find the matching cards for each rhyme.
Hang Loose, Mother Goose
~ Dale Timmons
Art Resource Book:
Nursery Rhymes by TLC Teaches learning to follow directions through art activities. Art activities for: Humpty Dumpty; Three Blind Mice; Hickory, Dickory, Dock;
Rub-a-dub-dub; London Bridge; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater; The Black Hen; Little Miss Muffet; Old Mother Hubbard; Old Mother Goose
They also have another book, More Nursery Rhymes, which I believe includes activities for the following: Jack Be Nimble; Rain, Rain; Little Jack Horner; Little Boy Blue; Jack and Jill; There Was an Old Woman; Hey, Diddle, Diddle; Baa, Baa! Black Sheep; Great A, Little a; To Market, To Market; Mary Had a Little Lamb. (I do not have this book, but I intend on purchasing it soon.)
Resource: The Mailbox, Preschool (Apr/May 1999)
Mother Goose Field Day: This idea was posted on the ‘net. Each student began the day with a necklace with a laminated picture of Mother Goose. As they completed each station (7), they received an additional medallion for their necklace that coordinated with the station. The stations were:
Humpty Dumpty: plastic eggs placed on a 2 x 4 were shot off with squirt guns.
Little Jack Horner: each student received a slice of pie to eat.
Jack Be Nimble: students jumped over zig-zagged pillar candles.
Hey Diddle, Diddle: children pretended to milk a cow. A rubber glove was filled with water and tied off at the top. Then the glove was tied below a saw horse, representing a cow udder. A cow’s head (picture) and tail were added to the saw horse as well.
Mistress Mary: students made a flower from egg cartons.
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe: Large sized shoes were worn by the students participating in a relay race.
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep: children raced to fill 3 bags full of foam packing material.
Charts, Big Books, Poetry Journals: An excellent way to increase letter/word identification, concepts of print, recognition of sight words, and reading skills is to provide your students with the nursery rhymes in as many different formats as possible. You can do this by providing them the opportunity to interact, both as a group and independently, with the rhymes on charts, in books, Big Books, and in Poetry Journals. All of these things can be produced by you if need be. Charts containing each rhyme can be as large or as small as needed. Since I work with small groups, I often use a graphics program or a word processor to type up the rhymes and enlarge them to the size of a sheet of cardstock. I add graphics if possible, then laminate them. Since my white board is not magnetic, I purchased 2 suction cup hooks and I hang the poems/rhymes/songs on the hooks so that I can track with a pointer as we’re reading them. We review them every day. For those times when cardstock is not big enough, you can use a sheet or half a sheet of posterboard. They can be hung on the board or on pants hanger and stored on an empty chart stand (picture). You can then hang the hanger on a suction cup hook on the board while you’re reading the chart.
I also place each rhyme/song/poem that we do in each student’s Poetry Journal (click here to read about the
Poetry Journals). You can type up the rhymes while leaving enough room to add colored graphics or graphics for them to color, or room for an art activity.
A Big Book for all the nursery rhymes can be made by typing up the text for each one and gluing it along with an enlarged graphic onto large sheets of construction paper or posterboard. Laminate the pages then bind them into a book.
Flannelboard Activities: You can make flannel pieces for the rhymes in several different ways. One way is to copy a graphic onto cardstock, color, laminate, and glue one or more small pieces of sandpaper or velcro to the back.
Another way is to trace the figures onto pellon (lightweight interfacing for fabric) with a Sharpie marker, then color using PERMANENT markers. Cut them out and you have flannelboard pieces ready to use. It’s important that you not use washable markers to color these. If you do (like I did), you’ll find out that when the pieces are handled, the moisture from your hands makes the ink come off the pieces and onto your hands.
Overhead Projector Activities: Like the flannelboard, you can make pieces for the overhead projector that the students can use in reciting the rhymes. Photocopy the pieces onto an overhead transparency, color with permanent marker, cut out, and you’re ready to go.
Listening Center Activity: You can tape each rhyme (once or twice) on a cassette to be used in the Listening Center. Along with the cassette, you can also put an individual, teacher-made flannelboard and the flannelboard pieces to manipulate while they’re listening to the cassette. The flannelboard pieces are made the same as the ones above. The individual flannelboard is made by laminating a file folder, then gluing a piece of felt/flannel to the front of the folder. Inside the folder, tape a ziploc bag to hold the flannel pieces.
Pocketcharts: Write each rhyme on sentence strips and place them in pocketcharts. Use these the same way you would use a chart; group reading, Read the Room, Write the Room, and interactive charts. To make them interactive, the students’ names can replace a name in the rhyme. For instance, Jack be nimble would turn into Darren be nimble. Write their names on 3x5 index cards and they can just be placed over the name on the sentence strip.
You can also make two sets of sentence strips for each rhyme. One set of sentence strips goes into the chart, the other set is cut apart. The students will match the words to the text in the chart. More in-depth details can be found on the
Easter page where I explained this procedure using the Chocolate Bunny poem.
You can also have the students match pictures to the correct sentence strip, or have them sequence the sentence strips in the chart.
Nursery Rhyme Review Book: As you introduce a new rhyme, you can have the rhyme printed onto a page and have the students add some kind of art activity to the page as well. When all the rhymes have been introduced, you can bind all the books together and each student will have a Nursery Rhyme Review Book. A graphic of Mother Goose can be used on the book cover.
Sequencing: Make picture cards for each rhyme and have the students sequence them in the correct order. The pocketchart is a good place for this. You can also do this as an activity sheet as well. Instead of making cards, copy the pictures onto a sheet and have the students cut them out and glue them in the correct order.
Letter/Word Discrimination: Give each student a copy of the rhyme that you’re working on. Have them highlight specific letters or words.
Cloze Activity: This can be either oral or written. The students are to complete the line(s) of the rhyme with a word or phrase. For instance, Jack and Jill went up the ____. The students would either have to tell you the word, or if it was in a pocketchart they could put in the correct picture or word.
Letter or the Week: If you use Letter of the Week (or work on a focus letter), then you might want to generate a list of rhymes to go with each letter. For some help, you could purchase a Barney activity book from Wal-Mart (or similar places). The one that I purchased has a rhyme for each letter: A ~ An Apple a Day C ~ Pat-A-Cake You might not like the ones that they use, but it will at least get you started. The activity book has a very simple activity to go along with each rhyme as well. The clincher is … you have to put up with Barney and his friends in all the pictures and activities! ?
This list was posted on the ‘net. The person who posted it used the rhymes to make charts for each letter. I’m adding in some more as I go along.
Aa ~ Big A, Little a
An Apple a Day
Amos said to Amy
and May said to me
let’s run and find and acorn
so we can plant a tree
Bb ~ Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
Little Boy Blue
Hot Cross Buns
Cc ~ Pat-A-Cake
ABC … tumbledown D
Cat’s in the cupboard
and can’t see me
Little Jack Horner (corner, Christmas)
Dd ~ Hickory Dickory Dock
Hey Diddle, Diddle
Dickory Dickory Dare
the pig flew up in the air
the man in brown
soon pulled him down
Dickory Dickory Dare
Ee ~ Emily, Elizabeth, Elsbeth, and Bess
all went together to seek a bird’s nest
The found a nest with four eggs in it
They took one and left 3 in it
Engine, Engine Number Nine
Ff ~ Funny Little finny fish
Do you wish to be a fish?
Are you happy in your pool?
Swimming in your little school?
Gg ~ Goosey, Goosey Gander
Hh ~ Humpty Dumpty
Ii ~ Ice Cream, Ice Cream
I like you
Itsy, Bitsy Spider
Jj ~ Jack and Jill
Jack Be Nimble
Kk ~ 3 Little Kittens
Ll ~ Little Lucy Locket Lost her Pocket
Mm ~ Little Miss Muffet
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Nn ~ Little Nancy Etticoat
in a white petticoat
Jack Be Nimble
Oo ~ Old King Cole
Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Pp ~ Pease Porridge Hot
Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater
Qq ~ Jack Be Nimble (quick)
Queen of Hearts
Rr ~ Ring Around the Rosy
Roses Are Red
Ss ~ Sing a Song of Sixpence
Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Tt ~ Little Tommy Tucker
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Uu ~ Uncle John has an umbrella
He stands waiting for the bus
And when it starts to rain
He covers all of us!
Vv ~ Sweet Violets
Sweeter than all the roses
Covered all over from head to toe
Covered all over with sweet violets
Ww ~ Wee Willie Winkie
Xx ~ Xray pictures let me see,
all the bones inside of me
other pictures just so skin,
and usually a great big grin
Yy ~ Yankee Doodle
Zz ~ Zippety Doo Dah
Resource Book: The New Adventures of Mother Goose Gentle Rhymes for Happy Times
Author: Bruce Lansky, Meadowbrook Press
Do You Know?: Provide each student, or group of students, with a Nursery Rhymes Box (a box containing items that are coordinated to the rhyme) and let them figure out which nursery rhyme goes with the items.
Each Peach Pear Plum ~ Eve Bunting
Dr. Seuss books
Hey Diddle Diddle & Other Mother Goose Rhymes ~ Tomie DePaola
The Real Mother Goose Clock Book ~ Scholastic Inc.
Kinder Rhymes ~ Rigby
Nursery Rhyme Theme-a-Saurus ~ Totline
Music: Nursery Rhyme Medley ~ Dr. Jean’s “Is Everybody Happy?” CD
Rhyming Sort: This is a perfect time to work on rhyming words. Write rhyming words on 3x5 index cards. Place the “family names” in the top row of the pocketchart (at, an, og, en, eg). Have the students sort their cards into the correct family. The cards are put into the pocketchart going down. So they don’t need any more than 9 cards for each “family”. I laminated my cards so that they would last longer.
Manipulatives: Mother Goose wooden magnetic figures from Childwood. They also come with mini-reproducible books and activities.
Graphing: Graph everyone’s favorite nursery rhyme.
Nursery Rhyme Riddles:
I went to school.
My lamb followed me.
Who am I?
We went to fetch water.
We fell down the hill.
Who are we?
(Jack and Jill)
I’m nimble and quick.
I jumped over the candlestick.
Who am I?
(Jack Be Nimble)
I sat on a wall.
When I fell off the wall, I broke.
Who am I?
I’m a merry old soul.
I called for my pipe, my bowl, and three fiddlers.
Who am I?
(Old King Cole)
I blow my horn to call the sheep.
I fell asleep under the haystack.
Who am I?
(Little Boy Blue)
I’m black and I give wool.
I have a bag of wool for my master, my dame,
and a little boy down the lane.
Who am I?
(Baa, Baa, Black Sheep)
I kissed some girls and made them cry.
Who am I?
The little dog laughed
to see such sport.
The cow jumped over the moon.
What did the dish run away with?
Hint: When sending home nursery rhyme projects, attach a copy of the rhyme to the project. Parents may not remember all the things they use to! :)
Sticking With Nursery Rhymes: Devise a bulletin board with a small paper cup or pocket for each student. When a child learns a rhyme, they get a craft stick with the name of the rhyme and a small graphic stuck to the end to put in their cup or pocket. As the year passes, their collection of sticks increases. If you use this, you will probably want to make the sticks reusable from one year to the next. The year that I used it, it takes a while to come up with that many small graphics for that many sticks.
Software: Mixed-up Mother Goose by MECC
Resources: The Mailbox, Pre/K Feb/Mar 1992
The Mailbox, Kindergarten Dec/Jan 1998 - 00
Dinah Zike’s Big Book of Books
Nursery Rhyme Sequencing Frank Schaffer Publications FS-8602
Rigby Trade Books: Old Mother Hubbard
The Nursery Rhyme Picnic
Take-Home Activity: After introducing all or some of the nursery rhymes, send home a paper lunch bag with each student along with a letter to their parents. In the letter explain that you would like them to help their child put one or more items in the bag that would coordinate with ONE nursery rhyme of their choosing. For instance, for Humpty Dumpty they might put in a plastic egg and a toy soldier. Also explain to them that the next day each student will return their bag and will take turns revealing the items in their bag. As they reveal the items, the rest of the class will try to guess what nursery rhyme the items coordinate with. As an added precaution, you might want to have them write the nursery rhyme down on a slip of paper to be added to the bag as well. An alternate activity would be to allow the students who wished to, to dress as a character from one of the nursery rhymes. Be sure to explain the assignment to your students as well before sending the assignment home. It’s easy for parents to misinterpret instructions.
Nursery Rhyme Review:
Divide your students into groups and have them recite and act out a
nursery rhyme. Some teachers use this as an end-of-the-year program.
Charlotte, a student from the UK, emailed me for ideas about a project for
a nursery rhymes sensory book. I loved this idea so I started
thinking of some things that could be done in the classroom. I have
no idea if it's what she was looking for, but I had the idea of a a
scrapbook type book similar to Pat the Bunny. It would be a Mother
Goose book of rhymes, but with something tactile on each page. The
pages need to be made from cardstock as some of the things will be heavy.
The girls' book could be bound with ribbon and the boys' with leather boot
laces. Decorate pages however .. similar to scrapbook. And you
wouldn't have to have just the one thing on the page ... like a hill. You
could have Jack and Jill there too somewhere, for the students to color or
paint, but the textured part would be the hill.
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
- have students paint sheep outline black at the bottom of the page using
black paint (at this point, these are just ideas .. but I'm thinking of
using either black puffy paint, or black paint with sand mixed in to give
a gritty texture ... some kind of textured paint)
Mary Had a Little Lamb
- do just the head of the lamb using white cottonballs and wiggly eyes
Jack and Jill - a green
felt hill or something that looks more like grass
option 2 >the students
could cut up green strips of construction paper, fringe and layer them
option 3 >aluminum foil
for the pail
Little Boy Blue -
haystack made with hay
Hickory Dickory Dock -
color or paint mouse gray and add a gray cord tail
Little Miss Muffet -
black spider with black pipecleaner legs and wiggly eyes
Hey Diddle Diddle -
decorate a plastic spoon and hotglue to the page; add arms and legs with a
crayon or markers
Humpty Dumpty - paint
egg with white paint mixed with Karo to give it a slick texture and if you
have a Humpty with a hat, add a small feather to his hat
option 2 >use a black
crayon to draw bricks on a piece of brown sandpaper and glue onto paper.
Then add Humpty to the wall.
Jack Be Nimble - color
a fat candle and use washable red, orange, & yellow markers to make marks
on 1/4 of coffee filter. Spritz coffee filter with water so that
marker bleeds together. When dry, cut into flame shape and bunch at
bottom end and glue to top of candle. (do not glue flat)
Mistress Mary - glue
on silk flowers and have students draw in garden
option 2 >draw flowers and then
add a white picket fence using white painted craft sticks.
Old King Cole - paint
gold crown and stick on jewels
Peter, Peter, Pumpkin
Eater - use the Ellison to cut out orange pumpkin and then cut sideways H
to make window that opens and draw Peter's wife inside. Then for
texture, add green twisted raffia for the vine and open some up and cut
leaves to glue on the vine.
Little Star - gold glitter star on dark blue wash of paint
Old Mother Hubbard - Use
Shrink Art paper or clear plastic containers from deli that salads,
cupcakes, muffins, etc. come in and trace bone outline using black Sharpie
marker. Have student color with permanent tan marker and initial
with black Sharpie. Cut out. (This stuff isn't easy to
cut.) Pop into warm oven or toaster oven watching closely until bone
shrinks flat. Take out and cool. Hot glue to page. *Note
- our cafeteria serves salads in these types of containers. My TA
and I wash and cut out the flat part of our tops and save them year
round. So when we're ready to do something like this, we have our
material already saved up.
Old Woman Who Lived in
a Shoe - just a circle for the head of the old woman and color and add
facial features and then add gray yarn for hair
Now that I've gotten
to the end of this book, :) you might want to try and create your
front and back cover using fabric covered cardboard or something thicker
than cardstock. I'm anxious to see how this project turns out! :)
Oh, a new idea just came to me. Instead of using cardboard covers
why not use a binder instead? This would give you a nice protection
for the pages and allow you to easily add pages as you went. You
could possibly find something that would help to keep the scrapbook feel
(plus you could decorate it) and still use the ribbon or leather to
provide fake bindings by just running them through the rings and tying
them on the outside binding.
Nursery Rhymes Theme
Nursery Rhyme Family Night
Nursery Rhyme Artwork
Nursery Rhyme Words
Nursery Rhyme Olympics
Rimes and Rhymes
Mother Goose links
Mother Goose Pages
Zelo Nursery Rhymes
Hendersonville TN Police Dept Coloring Pages ...
Mother Goose on the Web
BBC Education - Post a Poem
Nursery Rhymes by Daughter Goose
Mama Lisa's House of Rhymes
Nursery Rhyme Land
Real Mother Goose
Goose Magic Show
Goose Coloring Page
and Rhyme a Day
Nursery Rhymes Preschool Activities and Crafts
Education Arts & Crafts: Nursery Rhymes
Education Snacks: Nursery Rhymes
Why Nursery Rhymes?
Teaching Nursery Rhymes
Jones - Life Skills Nursery Rhymes and Literature