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The Enduring Value of Nursery Rhymes

In a world in which little children learn how to work electronics before they learn to walk or talk, are nursery rhymes still viable? Absolutely! Nursery rhymes are invaluable for helping children learn to read, and they provide education in bite-sized doses, helping kids to develop crucial skills before their attention span has  become strong enough for them to sit through a book. Read on for some more reasons nursery rhymes are beneficial to little ones.

  • Nursery rhymes build interest in language. The nursery rhyme’s meaning is not the most important thing, as the rhythms and patterns found in nursery rhymes are what grabs children’s attention. Think about the alliteration in “A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea,” the rhyming of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” or the onomatopoeia in “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” The rhythms, patterns, and repetition support the development of memory, listening, and speaking.
  • Nursery rhymes are perfect for reading to little ones. Babies want to grab everything and cram things into their mouths, and they don’t have the patience to sit through a story. You can read them a nursery rhyme board book, though, and that’s just about the right length for their attention span. It takes a while for children to be old enough to sit through a whole book, but if you get a collection of nursery rhymes, you can tailor the length of your reading to the needs of your child.
  • Nursery rhymes help young children learn to communicate. With their pleasing rhythms and repetitive phrases, nursery rhymes are easy to remember and repeat. Exposing children to spoken language repeatedly builds language skills, and nursery rhymes are perfect for this.
  • It might sound strange, but nursery rhymes can promote physical development. Children love to act out favorite rhymes, and this helps improve their coordination and fine motor skills. Think about the finger plays to some rhymes, like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the activities kids like to do along with other rhymes, “Jack Jumped Over a Candlestick,” and it’s easy to see how nursery rhymes can benefit children physically.
  • Nursery rhymes help familiarize children with number sounds and words. Counting songs build a foundation for numeracy skills and awareness, and songs like “When Goldilocks Went to the House of the Bears” introduce the concept of scale.
  • Social skills, a sense of community, and a better understanding of the world are some unexpected benefits of nursery rhymes. Children bond over shared stories, and when rhymes are familiar to all of the children in the group, it creates a feeling of community as they recite and sing together. This bond can also be shared with older people, like grandparents, or extended family the children are just now meeting. Nursery rhymes are relatable, too, and they help reinforce fun moments in a child’s life, like feeding the ducks, “Five Little Ducks,” or reading a book about boats- “Row Row Row your Boat”- with a grandparent.
  • Nursery rhymes allow children to express themselves creatively. There are opportunities for role play, fun ways to link crafts to rhymes, and nursery rhymes make a great background soundtrack for open ended play. However, one of the biggest benefits of nursery rhymes in terms of boosting creativity is that they help kids create mental images in their heads, as they listen to rhymes without pictures. This ability will be extremely beneficial when the child begins reading chapter books.
  • Speaking of chapter books, nursery rhymes build better readers. A love of nursery rhymes leads to a love of books, and reading nursery rhymes to children helps them build pre-reading skills. What’s more, the more children listen to nursery rhymes and stories, the larger their vocabulary grows. This improves listening comprehension, social conversations, writing, and much more.
  • Nursery rhymes are a bridge to the past. Passed down through generations, nursery rhymes are an enduring legacy we give our children. They also give children glimpses into bygone eras, as they imagine Jack and Jill fetching water before there was indoor plumbing or Jack and his candlestick in a world with no electricity. Nursery rhymes have endured for over 500 years, and they’re still going strong.
  • Nursery rhymes are fun! Silly rhymes and nonsense are just as fun now as they were 500 years ago, and that makes them very appealing to children. This appeal still, as it has through the centuries, makes learning fun.

Learning is Fun at Just Children

When you’re looking for high quality childcare, trust Just Children to care for your little ones. Founded in 1983, our family-owned, fully-licensed centers provide a unique learning environment where we help children build the skills they need to succeed in life. Our year-round programs in Bucks County, Philadelphia, and New Jersey are convenient for working parents, and we design every program with age-appropriate activities that allow kids to learn, grow, and explore. We’re dedicated to creating a worry-free experience for parents while enriching the lives of children and providing a safe, nurturing environment with the highest standards of care, creativity, and learning. Visit our website to find a location convenient to you, or contact us to ask questions or schedule a tour.

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