If you’ve been following Play & Grow for any time you know I’m fond of rhymes for children. It doesn’t matter if they’re traditional nursery rhymes, action songs or fingerplays. Have you wondered why I’m so insistent children learn these? See below for just some of the benefits!
Language & Reading:
● Nursery rhymes and/or fingerplays help children develop an ear for language! The rhymes and rhythms highlight the sounds and syllables in words. Repeated exposure to nursery rhymes or fingerplays gives children an understanding of sounds and syllables which, in turn, will help them learn to read.
● Speaking of reading, nursery rhymes and fingerplays have a beginning, middle and end. They provide a version, albeit a mini-version, of a book’s format.
● They increase children’s vocabulary and help all children assimilate language.
● Schools everywhere are emphasizing STEM. Nursery rhymes and fingerplays support STEM by increasing a child’s math vocabulary (weight, size, etc).
● They are full of patterns, sequencing, numbers, and counting contributing towards STEM by developing math skills in a fun and natural way.
● Both gross motor and fine motor skills are developed with nursery rhymes and fingerplays. A lot of nursery rhymes encourage children to MOVE which develops their coordination and tones their muscles. Fingerplays, in particular, focus on fine motor skills, coordinating finger and/or arm movements.
Culture & Social-Emotional:
● Nursery rhymes are a bridge to our shared past, a connection to days gone by.
● Most are pretty silly and children find them fun to say. They help to develop a child’s sense of humor and other social skills.
● The topics or themes in these mini-stories still are important too. Children are given a first glimpse into the complexities of LIFE; how LIFE isn’t always a bed of roses. They can be the used as an introduction to (age-appropriate) discussions of death, violence, love, hardships, and ways of coping.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list! It should be no surprise then that I was determined to add a nursery rhyme or fingerplay to:
1. Each and every Go PLAY Activity Card or
2. Learning activity posts here on Play & Grow as well as
3. Social media posts
Children learn holistically. Providing a wide variety of options, within a broad topic, gives them the opportunity to gain info or new skills as they are ready. Additionally, allowing them to engage in different ways also gives them an another benefit. It provides more time. After all, it takes a lot of practice to perfect any skill. It also takes a lot of exposure to and use of a new concept to truly understand it. Having more time only increases a child’s chances of mastery. Finally, offering nursery rhymes/fingerplays, books and activities within a broad theme gives children a way to make connections and tie things together.
Hickory, dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse said, “I’m done!”
Hickory, dickory dock!
Yours in Play!