great post explaining exactly how and why.) While reading them aloud without any special props is perfectly fine, sometimes it's fun to get a little bit creative. Here are ten unique ways to share nursery rhymes with your story time audiences and/or your own kids at home.
- The Colorful Itsy-Bitsy Spider
The itsy-bitsy spider is usually portrayed as a black or brown spider, but wouldn't it be fun if he was a bit more colorful? The rhythm of the song makes it easy to substitute a color combination for the words "itsy-bitsy." You could have "the red and orange spider," "the blue and yellow spider," or "the green and purple spider." Use a template like this one to make a two-toned spider out of felt, or to print and color a paper version. Have the kids name the colors, then sing the new words along with you.
- Baa Baa _________ Sheep
Another nursery rhyme song that lends itself to a lesson in colors is Baa Baa Black Sheep. Sing the traditional song one time through, then change the color of your sheep. I have done this activity on the flannel board countless times, but Mel's Desk gets the credit for the original idea.
- Mary Had a Little Lamb
If the black sheep can change colors, so can Mary's lamb. Here are the verses I use for each color:
Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was...
- blue as the sea
- red as a rose.
- green as the grass.
- black as the night.
- Old King Cole
I did an entire Flannel Friday post about the Sharon, Lois, and Bram version of this song, which introduces the names of three musical instruments (fiddle, clarinet, and trumpet) and the people who play them.
- Hey Diddle Diddle with Puppet
I have always done this rhyme for babies using a cloth cow hand puppet. I lift the cow way up into the air when she jumps over the moon and invite the caregivers to lift the babies up, too. Sometimes, this also works with toddlers if they like to put their arms up and wiggle their fingers.
- Little Boy Blue Magic Envelope
Not every nursery rhyme lends itself to a magic envelope, but this one works nicely. Read my story time post from last May that explains how I did it. Learn how to make and use a magic envelope from Sharon at Rain Makes Applesauce.
- Two Little Blackbirds Variations
There are so many ways to adapt Two Little Blackbirds to suit different themes. Here are just a few:
- Sing the Nursery Rhyme Rap
This song, which goes to the tune of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, is taken from The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays.
- Shake to the Rhythm
It can be tricky to know what to do when there are no obvious hand gestures associated with a rhyme. Remedy this by handing out shaker eggs or other instruments and having everyone help keep the beat as you chant the words. For a fun twist, try this song by MaryLee.
- Read Nursery Rhyme Retellings
Kids who are well-versed in their nursery rhymes will love these picture books, which expand upon and poke fun at the original rhymes: