Nursery rhymes may just seem like a bit of fun, a way to spend time and interact with your children or just a quick and easy way to distract them but the truth is nursery rhymes have so many more benefits for your child, both in the long and the short term and are incredibly powerful influencers in pre-school development.

Nursery rhymes provide bite-sized learning opportunities for young children to develop key developmental skills and can often be the trigger for hours of creative and open-ended play. They are a powerful learning source in early literacy and enable children to become interested in the rhythm and patterns of language.

Consider the alliteration in “A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea”, or the onomatopoeia in “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and rhyme in “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Many nursery rhymes are also repetitive which can support the development of memory and kickstart the practice of listening and speaking.

Benefits of teaching your child nursery rhymes

Children are excited to learn about individuals who live in shoes or a cow who can jump over a moon. Nursery rhymes help your child learn to have a vivid imagination filled with colourful characters and various languages. There are also a number of key skills / development areas that can be influenced by simple nursery rhymes.

Cognitive Development

Repetition of rhymes and stories is good for the brain, teaching how language works and improving memory, concentration, spatial intelligence and thinking skills. Because these verses are made up of patterns, they are easy first memorization pieces. Nursery rhymes are organised so that similar sounds jump out at you, which doesn’t happen in everyday speech. Nursery rhymes help your child’s brain segment words into syllables, hear similarities between words that rhyme or start with the same sounds.

Language and Literacy Skills

Rhymes are fantastic vocabulary boosters. They often feature a pleasing rhythmic pattern and simple repetitive phrases that babies and young children find easy to remember and repeat. In order to develop their phonological awareness, children need to be repeatedly exposed to spoken language and nursery rhymes provide the perfect way to do this.

Numeracy and Maths

Nursery rhymes are a great way to start familiarising your child with numbers. They’re full of patterns, sequencing, numbers, and counting (forward and backward). For instance, you might ask your son or daughter questions like; “How many blind mice were there?” They also discuss size, weight and other important math vocabularies.

Physical Development

The opportunity to ‘act out’ a favourite rhyme will be a welcome activity for active minds and fidgety bodies. Physical participation in action songs encourage children to develop their fine and gross motor control skills as well as balance, coordination and the skills needed to follow simple instructions.

Nursery rhymes may just seem like a bit of fun, a way to spend time and interact with your children or just a quick and easy way to distract them but the truth is nursery rhymes have so many more benefits for your child, both in the long and the short term and are incredibly powerful influencers in pre-school development.
CREDIT: CDC / UNSPLASH

Development of Social Routines

There are lots of fun nursery rhymes that you can sing in two parts. Teaching your child when they should tell their part in the rhyme contributes to their development of social skills. What is more, your child will also learn important conversation lessons, such as turn-taking and listening.

Understanding of Concepts: Painting Pictures in Children’s Heads

When you teach your child nursery rhymes, you are contributing to their creative development. When you talk to your child from the moment they are born, through to their years of learning how to talk, you are equipping them with a solid vocabulary base.

What is more, children also learn to understand abstract concepts like big, small, in front, behind, first and last. The words used in nursery rhymes help children develop language comprehension by associating words with people, objects, and events in their daily life.

Listening Skills

When you read nursery rhymes to your child, you are telling them a story. Because of the rhyming words, the storyline, and your pronunciation, children are lured into the story and pay attention to you. This helps them make sense of the story and at the same time makes them good listeners.

So, remember every time you cringe from hearing “Humpty Dumpty” or “Hey Diddle Diddle,” just focus on how important these classics are to your child’s growth plus they are an excellent means of spending time together with your child and developing a close relationship.

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Playgroupnsw.org.au. 2021. 5 ways nursery rhymes can help your child learn. [online] Available at: <https://www.playgroupnsw.org.au/ParentResources/ParentingYoungChildren/benefits-of-nursery-rhymes> [Accessed 28 June 2021].

Boys & Girls Nursery. 2021. The Benefits of Nursery Rhymes in your Child’s Development – Boys & Girls Nursery. [online] Available at: <https://www.boysandgirlsnursery.com/the-benefits-of-nursery-rhymes-in-your-childs-development/> [Accessed 28 June 2021].

Pacey.org.uk. 2021. The importance of nursery rhymes in early childhood. [online] Available at: <https://www.pacey.org.uk/news-and-views/pacey-blog/october-2019/the-importance-of-nursery-rhymes-in-early-childhoo/> [Accessed 28 June 2021].

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