Do you remember learning nursery rhymes as a youngster? Many of us do, but a lot of youth today vaguely remember hearing them, let alone recalling them from memory. It wasn’t until I started teaching child development that I realized the full benefits of nursery rhymes on the developing child. Studies show that nursery rhymes benefit children in a variety of ways. Such benefits include teaching children the art of storytelling, brain development and social skills. In addition, they help lay the foundation for literacy skills such as speech, language and reading. I always discussed nursery rhymes and their benefits in class, but now I have an interactive activity to go along with it thanks to Mary Smith of Manila High School, Arkansas. Check out the wonderful project she has designed around this timeless topic!
- Assign the Nursery Rhyme Trivia activity to see how much students recall about nursery rhymes from their childhood. Students can do this individually or in small groups. You could even make it a competition! You could use it as a pretest and then give a post test after the project to see if there’s improvement or you could go over the answers and the student or group with the most correct answers win a small prize.
- Laptops or iPads
- Poster Supplies
- It’s important to discuss the benefits of nursery rhymes in education and for the developing child. Students use their iPads or laptops to research and create a list of benefits that nursery rhymes provide. You could also show this YouTube clip “Rhymers are Readers: The Importance of Nursery Rhymes by KBYU Eleven Ready to Learn” as a comparison to the benefits they’ve discovered.
- Mary has her students sign up for a nursery rhyme from a list that she’s created. Students may suggest others, but they must be approved.
- At this point, students create a poster of their rhyme that must be constructed very neatly as these are given to the Pre-K classrooms in her school to use. She shares that her criteria is rather broad and general because she wants her students to be as creative as possible.
- Students must also develop a presentation of the nursery rhyme, incorporating props, costumes, and/or their poster. They must also share the history behind their nursery rhyme and they must recite the nursery rhyme from memory.
- When students orally present their projects, their peers will rate them using the provided evaluation sheet to help keep them focused and on task, however, Mary’s grade is what counts.
- Finally, students read their nursery rhymes to the Pre-K program and give them the posters.
- Nursery Rhyme Trivia (PDF)
- Nursery Rhymes (PDF)
- Nursery Rhyme Project (PDF)
- Nursery Rhyme Project Rubric (PDF)
- Nursery Rhyme Sign Up Sheet (PDF)
- Student Evaluation Sheets (PDF)
Image courtesy of debspoons of Free Digital Photos