More Fun with Nursery Rhymes!

Nora is exploring Nursery Rhymes!  At 18 months she loves to play with some plastic Humpty Dumpty and Old Woman in the Shoe toys.  She has no concern about memorization or rhyming – she just loves to manipulate the toys and yell out “Humpy Dumpy!”  But I know that she is developing essential language skills when she explores the rhythm and patterns of these rhymes.   She is gaining phonemic awareness as she plays with words, she is learning vocabulary when I explain words like broth, fleece, fiddle and curds and whey.   She is starting to sing some of the rhymes and she echoes the inflection of our voices as we emphasize different parts of the rhymes.  Nursery Rhymes are part of our culture and I think it is important for children to experience them.  In Kindergarten these rhymes can be used to enhance early reading skills in lots of ways.

One of my favorite ways to use Nursery Rhymes was to retell them.  Each rhyme is really a miniature story that children can act out, sing or retell from memory.  They gain confidence in retelling when they are repeating something they are so familiar with.  I was very excited to find some wonderful clipart images of Nursery Rhymes on my Kidoodlez Early Years CD.   Most of the pictures I am sharing are from this CD, please visit them at

Here are some pictures of the characters from a variety of rhymes that could be used as necklaces or stapled onto headbands.  When the children act out these short rhymes they are speaking, listening and moving.  Because they are so short it is easy to take turns and let lots of children actively participate.

HumptyThe child playing Humpty Dumpty could sit on a low table or stool, then “fall” off!



MuffetA stool could be used as a tuffet., along with a bowl and spoon for the curds and whey!

JackJill The children could hold onto a bucket and pretend to climb up a hill,


You could draw a large shoe shape on paper for all the children to try to fit into!


For this retelling I would put moveable hands on the clock so the children can turn the hands and point to 1:00.

Hey Diddle

Hey Diddle 2 Of course the cow would need a moon made from something like yellow construction paper to jump over!

Boy Blue

Boy Blue 2

It would be fun if they had a real horn to blow, and you could cut out some corn for the corn field and flowers for the meadow!  The haystack could be taped onto a chair and Little Boy Blue could “sleep” behind it. 

NimbleI had an antique looking metal candle holder that we used with this rhyme.  As each child jumped over we changed the rhyme to include his or her name.  “Owen be nimble, Owen be quick!”

You could also make stick puppets with these characters by taping them onto paint sticks or tongue depressors.

I also created some small stand up figures to go along with each Nursery Rhyme.  You could run these off as they are, or cut them apart and use them as stick puppets too!   Children can manipulate these figures as they retell the rhyme.

Humpty Dumpty


Here is Humpty’s wall along with the haystack from Little Boy Blue.

wall haystack

Little Boy Blue 

Boy blue

Old Mother Hubbard 

Mother hub

cupboard hill 

Jack and Jill

Jack Jill

Jack Be Nimble


Little Miss Muffet

Muffet spider 

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary Lamb 

Hey Diddle Diddle


Diddle 2 

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

woman shoe

Tuffet shoe

Here is an example of the stand up figures from Little Boy Blue.


I did a bit of cut and pasting to make pictures that the children could cut out and put together in the right sequence.  Using these pictures would also be helpful for kids learning the rhymes.

Mary Lamb sequence

Little boy blue seq

Humpty Dumpty Sequence 

I also used this great clipart from DJ Inkers to make a couple of  rebus stories for the children to read. 


Humpty rebus 

Mother Hubbard rebus 

Nursery Rhymes provide great practice with concepts about print, one to one word correspondence and early reading.  Because the children sing and memorize these rhymes most of them are successful “reading” them.  I loved putting the words into a pocket chart or posting a large copy of the rhymes on the wall for children to read.  I put together this sheet of characters that could be taped onto tongue depressors or popsicle sticks to make reading pointers.  Great for reading the room! 

Nursery rhyme pointers


I was thinking that I would also like  to keep a set of these sticks in a can at circle time.  It would be fun to have a child pull out a rhyme for the class to remember and recite when you have a few minutes to fill.


Here is a die I made that you could use to reinforce the rhymes or put at a center.  You could run this off on cardstock and tape it together.  When I wanted to make a cube that was more sturdy I got 2 empty milk cartons from the school cafeteria.  I cut them off so they were square cubes, and pushed one inside the other.  Then you could cover it with paper or contact paper, or just glue the pictures onto each side.  These milk carton cubes are almost indestructible!


I also made this little board game as another opportunity to practice the rhymes.  The children could use buttons or coins as markers, and a spinner or die.

Board game 

Here is another activity, the children need to identify which pictures are from the same Nursery Rhyme.  There are 2 pictures that go along with the first picture in each row.  The children cut them out and glue them on so there are 3 in a row from each different rhyme.

Matching game 2

Matching game 1 

I don’t really think that Nursery Rhymes are the best way to introduce or teach the skill of rhyming because there are really not very many rhyming words in these chants, and the rhymes are far apart.  But they can be good for reinforcing rhyming.   For this activity the children cut apart the pictures and find the 2 words that rhyme and then glue them next to each other on the recording sheet.

rhyming game 2

rhyming game 1

I found these small fold up books at Kidzone, please visit their site for more great ideas!






I hope you can use some of these ideas to have fun with Nursery Rhymes with the children in your life too!



15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Collette Fourie
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 11:25:26

    WOW you are a superstar.
    Thank you all the way from Sunny South Africa!


  2. paulalyra
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 12:30:03

    I love you super Nana! Your ideas are great! Thank you from Brazil.


  3. elaskey
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 19:51:23

    I am always amazed at your work and so grateful that you share. Am printing and laminating right now. Thank you


  4. Sondra
    Aug 24, 2014 @ 15:11:05

    Thank you so much am starting kindergarten this year after 15 years of teaching 1st grade. You have wonderful ideas that go with the NY state common core standards.I think adding the kids names to the poems will be a great way for the kids to get to know each other at the start of the school year.


  5. Randi
    Oct 29, 2014 @ 17:33:02

    Wow! Absolutely love your stuff! Thank you for your generosity and genius with readable text for young students!


  6. Barbara Camelo
    Jan 01, 2016 @ 10:57:19

    Thank you so much!


  7. hope mitchell
    Sep 23, 2016 @ 00:03:41

    how do I download the great nursery rhyme unit


    • dbsenk
      Sep 24, 2016 @ 07:16:35

      Most of the things I share on the blog, including all the nursery rhyme activities, are posted as jpg files. If you click on what you would like to save or print it will enlarge on your screen.
      then go to your tool bar and click on save or print.
      Hope this helps!


  8. Marykate
    Mar 21, 2017 @ 23:03:32

    This is fantastic material and so diverse!


  9. ms jean
    Dec 29, 2018 @ 10:24:33

    Our library story time thanks you! Such wonderful tools!


  10. littlebookworms826336613
    May 01, 2019 @ 23:50:09

    Love these resources. I am borrowing some of your ideas for my Nursery Rhyme Theme in my preschool class for next week. I can’t wait to use some of them. Thank you for sharing with us!


  11. Tracey Z.
    Sep 18, 2019 @ 15:57:03

    I love your Nursery Rhyme resources! I am new librarian serving 4 year olds in Pre-K is so new to me and these sure make our lessons fun!


  12. Trackback: Printable Nursery Rhyme Song Lyric Sheets – drink station ideas
  13. Tiffany
    Jul 23, 2020 @ 18:08:49

    These are so cute! I am teaching a nursery rhyme lesson for virtual preschool circle time on I was wondering I could print your clip art to tell the Nursery Rhymes?


    • dbsenk
      Jul 24, 2020 @ 09:24:00

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the wonderful DJ Inkers Nursery Rhyme clip art. I do not have ownership or license of their products. I don’t really understand all copyright laws and infringements. If you are using the pictures to retell the nursery rhymes I think it would be ok. If you would like confirmation you might check out their website Warning – it is dangerous!! They have SO many wonderful images, even though I am no longer teaching I still want to buy more!!


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