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Nursery rhymes, what is all the fuss about?

Nursery rhymes have so much more to offer than just entertainment value. They introduce babies and children to the idea of storytelling, promote social skills and boost language development. They also lay the foundation for learning to read and are a super boost to help with early phonics skills too. If you have been in even just one Baby Band class you will have heard me say “if your child knows 8 nursery rhymes by the time they start school, they will be brilliant!” The lovely sing song, rhythmic sound of a nursery rhyme is a superb hook to get little ones interested, then the real learning can magically happen without them even realising. Here are a few other ways that nursery rhymes will give your little one a boost…

Cognitive development

When we sing nursery rhymes, the repetition and stories that occur are great for a developing brain. It helps them learn how language works, with simple syllabic melodies and easy rhythms. In fact, you may find that your little one repeats the rhythms of their favourite nursery rhymes using noises, before gradually forming recognisable words as they learn. Repeating these simple songs helps their incredibly active brains make strong neurological connections, leading to improved memory, concentration and thinking skills.

Language and Literacy Skills

Learning nursery rhymes will certainly increase vocabulary, like the word “fetch” in Jack & Jill, and are a great introduction to poetry. A rhymes repetition can also help your child become aware of the individual units of sound, known as phonemes, which make up words. Your little ones' listening skills will benefit as they will be learning how to discriminate between different sounds they hear in each rhyme.

Early Maths Skills

Many of the nursery rhymes we sing are based around numbers, they are full of patterns, sequencing and counting. This makes them a great way to start familiarising your child with numeracy and there are so many ways to extend your little ones maths learning using a song as a starting point. Think about ‘5 little ducks went swimming one day’. You can ask questions like ‘how many ducks are left now?’, you can show that number of fingers, or you can start to talk about number problems and even number bonds too.

Physical Development

Actions and steps for children to follow throughout nursery rhymes are a huge benefit for their motor skills and physical development. 'Heads, shoulders, knees and toes', 'If you're happy and you know it’ and 'The wheels on the bus'; all of these give children opportunities to move with agility and coordination. The repetition of the movements and the rhymes helps embed these skills even further.

So, when you have sung Twinkle Twinkle for the millionth time, try not to be too annoyed, just think of all the amazing skills you are helping your little one develop.

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