Are you looking for a teaching topic that you can dip in and out of?
A topic that opens up a whole world of lively activities for your class and gives an overview of the origins of some of the rhymes.
A Nursery Rhyme Activities theme is just what you need!
Find out about the gruesome stories behind these seemingly innocent rhymes by purchasing Nursery Rhymes Revealed!!
For example in the rhyme 'Sing a son of sixpence' it recounts 4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie.
In the 16th century it was believed that in wealthy households live birds would be put into the pie to surprise and entertain the guests! How they survived the heat of the oven remains a mystery!
You'll find literacy tasks as well as maths, science ,art and many more.
So lets get going with our Nursery Rhyme Activities theme!
Incy Wincy Spider, climbing up the spout.
Down came the rain and washed poor spider out!
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain
So Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.
Below are some nursery rhyme activities you can introduce to your students during circle time or at any time during the session where you need to while away a few moments!
The following art ideas for the nursery rhyme activities theme are ones that I used while putting together the bulletin board.
Splatter painting rain drops:
You don't need to cut the shapes of the rain drops out until later.
So just lay a big sheet of white or grey paper out on the table and let the kids loose with a paint brush and black and white paint. They can splatter the paint to their hearts content!
When the paper is covered, allow it to dry and then cut out different size rain drop shapes ready for your bulletin board.
I did cut some cloud shapes for this activity, then allowed the kids to stick cotton wool buds all over them.
Once done, I got them to paint the cotton wool in black or grey ready to mount on the wall display.
There are loads of ways of making an easy super scary spider for your bulletin board. You just have to look on u tube!
The one I chose was one using pipe cleaners as they are easy to cut and shape.
So, taking 4 black pipe cleaners, line them up so all the ends are level. Then, carefully fold them in half but keep your finger in the fold. With your finger still in the fold ,twist the eight legs round at least twice, close to your finger. Now you have a body and 8 legs. All you have to do now is to arrange the legs to look like an Incy Wincy Spider and pop him on your board!
If the kids want to make one of their own they can of course!
We had good fun doing this as a group activity.
We started by collecting and cutting out little pieces of yellow paper all different shades and textures.This was a great opportunity to encourage them to tell you what each shade of yellow reminded them of.
We also used this activity to talk about sun safety and emphasise that they should never look at the sun even with sunglasses on.
Once we had got enough bits together we made a sun collage sometimes sticking more than one layer on the sun shape to give it more depth of colour.
I then got them to cut out some sun rays out of the left over paper and stuck them all round the edge of the sun shape to finish it off.
Bingo! A sun for nursery rhyme activities board!
Hope you've had some fun doing these nursery thyme activities with your children.Have a peep at some more insect activities on my insect activities page.
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after
Up Jack got and home did trot
As fast as he could caper
Went to bed to mend his head
With vinegar and brown paper.
Here are some literacy ideas for your nursery rhyme activities theme.
1. Change the words of some of the lines and see if the kids can make them rhyme.
For example: Jack and Jill went down the road
To see what they could see
Jack saw a cat that sat on a mat
And Jill jumped up and down with glea!
I'm sure your kids could do better!
2. Get the kids to draw the story in a little zig-zag book. Emergent writers can write a line of text to go under each picture.
3. How many more names can you think of beginning with J
4. Ask the kids questions about the rhyme. It's easy to assume that they understand whats being said but often they are just enjoying the sounds rather than making sense of the story!
5. The second verse says:
'He went to bed to mend his head with vinegar and brown paper'
Have any of the children had this done when they bumped their head? What usually happens?
You can tell them that a long time ago people used to believe that vinegar helped cure bruising. The brown paper was instead of a bandage!
6. Two children could 'Hot seat' while the rest of the class could be reporters and ask Jack and Jill questions.
There are lots of water activities you can do with the kids while exploring nursery rhyme activities particularly with Jack and Jill .
Some of these ideas are on my snow theme page. For example making giant ice balls and watching them melt is a real fun thing to do.
1. Have some pails ready in the water tray together with some plastic cups [all the same size]
The children see how many cupfuls it takes to fill the pail with water. If they're not competent at counting get a friend to count on their fingers for them.
2. Provide a tray of objects next to the water tray and let the kids experiment with them.
They could make 2 sets. One with the things that float and one with the things that sink.
3. Put some washing up liquid into the water tray and give the kids some big straws.
Let them see what happens when they blow into the water!
[stress the blowing!]
[You might have to add a mop and bucket to your list of provisions!]
Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To get her poor Doggie a bone
But when she got there the cupboard was bare
And so her poor Doggie had none.
She went to the bakers to buy him some bread
And when she came back he was standing on his head
She went to the hatters to buy him a hat
And when she got back he was feeding the cat!
She went to the tailors to buy him a coat
And when she got back he was riding a goat!
The Dame made a curtsy,
The dog made a bow
The Dame said 'Your servant'
The dog said 'Bow wow!
1 Think of some more rhyming verses for the story.
2 Talk about dog food with the children.
What do their dogs like to eat?
Can they think of a good name for a brand new dog food and describe what it's made from?
3 Play musical hats with the kids. Have a pile of different hats in the middle of the circle.When the music stops every child grabs a hat. Those without a hat are out! Take one or two hats away each time.
4 Provide an outline of a cupboard for the kids to draw or find pictures of food that the old lady might like in her cupboard. They could also discuss why they think that the old woman's cupboard is so bare. Did the dog raid it perhaps!?
I hope you can make use of these nursery rhyme activities ideas for literacy and go on to enjoy more nursery rhymes with your class.
1 Make a shop in your classroom and put some scales in there for the kids to have a go at weighing things.
2 Have a go at making some bread. You can cheat by buying a bread kit. Then you only have to add water!
3 Give the kids some balls of wool and some scissors Allow them to cut lots of lengths of wool, tie them together in the middle and hey presto they have their own wig! Good activity for your nursery rhyme activities theme and good opportunity to practice cutting and measuring!
These are some nursery rhyme activities you can do at any time of the day when you find you have a few minutes to spare.
1 Put some jiggy music on and let the children dance a jig!
2 Play the tray game. Put 5-10 articles from Ms Hubbard's cupboard on a tray.
Give the kids a minute or two to look at them and then take one item off without the kids seeing which one it was.
They have to tell you which one is missing.
Carry on until there is only one or two items left on the tray.
Make the objects interesting and colourful.
This makes it easier for younger children to remember them.
3 Play an adaptation of the suitcase game. Instead put things in Mother Hubbard's cupboard starting with' A'
!st child: ' I put an apple in Mother Hubbard's cupboard. '
2nd child: ' I put in a banana ' and so on until you get to 'Z'
Some easy to set up nursery rhyme activities for your class to have fun with at any time of the day!
Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candle stick
1. Get the kids practising their jumping skills by providing several obstacles to jump over or climb over.
Or 2.Make a numbered obstacle course for them to use during their outdoor play time.
Here are some literacy ideas for your nursery rhyme activities theme
1. Read some pirate stories to your class
You will find some examples of story books and lots of other fun pirate ideas on my Pirate Teaching Theme page.
2. Find out about some real life pirates like Black Jack Smatt and find Jamaca on a world map
Have any of the kids been there? If not what do they think it might be like?
3. Draw a map of their very own Treasure Island. They could discuss where on their island they would hid their stolen loot! They could put a cross on the back and get their friends to find it.
4. Sing the song A pirate went to sea,sea,sea
To see what he could see,see,see
And all that he could see,see,see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea,sea,sea!
Use the rhyme to talk about the different ways you can make the sound 'ee.'
Don't forget to include 'y' ie silly
5. Brainstorm different words that mean 'fast 'starting with quick and nimble of course!
1. Have some Speedy Races as one of your nursery rhyme activities.
See who can write their name the most number of times in a minute or for younger kids see who can draw their mum the most times in a minute or to make it more physical 'who can do the most star jumps?'
2. Do some meditation:
Light a candle and get the kids to empty their minds and just watch the flame of the candle.
This activity is a useful one to use if your day has been a little too stressful or noisy. It takes several attempts but is well worth the effort.The kids love it too!
Sing a song of sixpence
A pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing
Wasn't that a dainty dish
To set before the king?
The king was in his counting house
Counting out his money
The queen was in the parlour
Eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose!
1. Show the kids a real sixpence if you can get hold of one
If not try the web! Tell them it was worth 2 and a 1/2 pence and 2 of them made a shilling. [sterling]
2. Try some rye bread or make some.
3. Act out the rhyme with the kids.
Have some volunteers crouched on the floor covered by a blanket and when you sing 'the birds began to sing'
They can throw the blanket back and sing like birdies!
They love this!
4. Look at a non fiction book of birds. Find out some facts about blackbirds or go to my 'birds teaching theme' page and try out some ideas from there!
Make a huge blackbird pie!
Cut out a large circle out of cartridge paper and paint it pastry colour or cover it with a layer of torn up brown tissue paper
The kids can make some simple 3d blackbirds, nothing fancy, just a V shape will do, and stick them on to the middle of paper in a sort of circle.
To make the crust. Cut out the same size circle of paper as the base, paint it or cover it with tissue like before.
Cut a cross in the centre of the top circle, open it and have the birds poke through! Dont forget to stick the edges down though!
A wall display for your nursery rhyme activities theme!
Georgie Porgie pudding and pie
Kissed the girls and made them cry
When the boys came out to play
Georgie Porgie ran away!
I have not sectioned off these nursery rhyme activities for Georgie Porgie but given you a selection of all round ideas for the rhyme.
1.Talk to the kids about healthy eating and the dangers of putting on too much weight. [for more food ideas go to the food teaching theme page]
2.Have some fun outside playing 'Tag'
You could name the 'Tagger' Georgie Porgie and anyone that's tagged joins the George side!
3. See how many names beginning with G the kids can think of. Do they know any famous Georges?
4. Make an Acrostic poem with the kids using the word GEORGIE
You could start with Georgie eats --------
It doesn't have to make sense as long as it reads like a poem.
5. Get the kids to write 'Georgie' in as many different fonts, sizes and colours as they can all over a blank piece of paper. They could cut them out and make a collage with them.
Half a pound of tuppenny rice
Half a pound of treacle
Mix it up and make it nice
Pop goes the weasel!
Up and down the city street
In and out the Eagle
That's the way the money goes
Pop goes the weasel!
1. Have fun making some rhyming slang words of your own
For example hat could be bird and bat or bird
2. Get the kids to make a weasel puppet. [Just a simple drawing on a stick will do] Then every time you say 'Pop goes the weasel' The kids make their puppets jump up!
3. Older kids could tell a story of the rhyme as if they were a person living at that time. Why did they have to pawn their coat?
4. In the sand tray put some paper bags and have some scales handy. Challenge the kids to weigh out half pound bags of sand. Tell them that 1/2 pound is equivalent to 250g
Then ask them how much all the bags weigh. [For older kids obviously!!]
5. Clap the rhythmn out on different parts of the body
First line: Clap your hands on your knees
Second line: clap hands on your shoulders
Third line: Clap hands on your head
Last line: Jump up in the air!
Repeat with second verse in the same way or clap hands on different parts of the body.
Find some more nursery rhyme activities below.
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.
1. Talk to the children about imagery. [literacy]
Ask why they think a diamond is like a star, ie it sparlkles
Perhaps you could do the same with other things such as the sun. What do they think that is like?
2. Make some stars out of silver paper. [maths]
First get the kids to draw round 2 equilateral triangles and cut them out. [good for the cutting skills!]
Then arrange the triangles so that they overlap and form 6 points.
Stick them down and glue them on some black or blue paper.
3. Make some star cookies. You will need some cookie dough and a star cookie cutter
4. If you can't be bothered with the dough making, make stars out of salt dough or playdough. The salt dough ones you can cook and paint later. Good for Xmas decorations too!
5.Talk about space and the universe with the kids. What do they know about it and what do they want to find out? There are some excellent books about stars and space both fiction and non fiction for you to read with the kids. [ See below]
Books you might like to look at when introducing the Twinkle Twinkle little Star rhyme.
Just click on the text to order or preview book from Amazon
This nursery rhyme could be the start of a space theme. For some ideas go to Space activities for Kids page and fly!
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the Kings horses and all the kings men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!
1. Have an egg and spoon race with the kids. You could use real hard boiled eggs if you dare! Otherwise use plastic or stone ones. You could make this more fun by making an assault course for them to try.
See if they can complete it without dropping the egg!
2. If you have some large blocks in your classroom challenge the kids to make a wall with them. Then see if they can balance an egg on the top.
3. Make a 'low wall' out in the play area for them to jump off. You could put a mat underneath and let them practice the jump and roll procedure!
1. Change the last word of each line to make a nonsense rhyme For example:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a chair
Humpty Dumpty fell through the air
All the kings horses and all the kings cats
Sent the old Humpty to catch all the rats!
2. Use the 5 frame technique to tell the story of Humpty Dumpty in pictures.
They can use whatever media they choose to show the story visually.
They could build a wall with lego bricks.
Put a plastic egg on top with a face drawn on it.
Then take a photo. As each stage of the story is acted out, a photo is taken to tell that part of the story.
When you have 5 photos make a zig zag book or make a display for your classroom.
Older children could write a sentence under each frame.
3. Make an egg sandwich for snack time. Allow the kids to have a go at smashing the eggs with a fork then adding some mayonnaise with a little salt and pepper if they wish.
Together in Circle Time you could compile a recipe for making egg sandwiches.
4. Allow the kids to make a puppet of Humpty out of a card oval and a lolly stick. They can then make a wall out of blocks and act out the rhyme while singing it!
For some more egg activities go to Easter Activities for Kids page.
Baa Baa Blacksheep
Have you any wool?
Yes Sir, Yes Sir 3 bags full.
One for the master, one for the dame,
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane.
1. Try dying some sheep's wool with natural materials such as onion skins or blackcurrant juice.
2. Teach the kids to knit.
If they get the hang of it perhaps they could all make a square which could be made into a blanket which could be donated to a local charity or to foreign aid.
I did this with my class of 6-7 year olds. We gave our rug to an animal hospital who needed them to keep sick animals warm.
3. How many more words can you find beginning with 'b' Challenge the kids to find 10 words in pairs.
4. Practice counting in 3's.
If one farmer has 3 bags, how many bags would 5 farmers have?
5. Ask the class to get into groups of 3. Are there any left over? How many groups have you got altogether?
Can we use these groups to help us find out how many children are in the class altogether?
Is this an odd number or even number? Repeat with another number.
6. Play, 'The Farmers in his Den' with the kids.
7. Bubble painted sheep. For instructions see my Farm Theme page.
I hope you've enjoyed at least a few of these Nursery Rhyme Activities and will feel like dipping into a few more of my Top Teaching Ideas and themes.