Nursery Rhyme Impacts

Seven Impacts Nursery Rhymes Have On Your Child's Development


As parent’s, we tend to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with nursery rhymes.  On the one hand they can be silly and fun to share with our children.  We are delighted in hearing them recite them back to us along with some fun dance moves.

Then on the other hand, we think we just might lose our minds if we hear ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ one more time.  After a while its like hearing nails on a chalkboard.

But did you know that these rhymes, that can be older than dirt, have very positive impacts on the development of our children? Yeah, we know you are thinking how come something this antiquated, silly and sometimes totally nonsensical be good for your children.

Research shows that there are at least seven positive impacts these verses can have on how your child develops.   Let’s take a brief look before you decide to ban nursery rhymes from your home to maintain your adult sanity.

Language Development

While some verses seemingly have made up words, what our children hear are the actual sounds of the consonants and vowels.  They start learning how to put those sounds together to create words.  They actually pick up on the rhythm of language – you’ll hear them practice pitch, using their voice to see how volume changes the words and their meanings, even using inflections in their voice.

These techniques are key to tell stories using our voice and language.  Think about how you use those skills to tell stories to them.  Little ones start to use those skills in the ‘story telling’ of rhymes.  Nursery rhymes are short and easy for them to learn and repeat.  They become some of the first sentences your child learns.

Nursery rhymes are a great way to introduce new words to your children.  For instance, Jack and Jill ‘fetch‘ a ‘pail’ of water – they dont ‘go get‘ a ‘bucket’ of water.  Learning new words , new definitions expands their vocabulary.  They also learn how to enunciate and become much more articulate in their communications.

Math Concepts

There are a lot of nursery rhymes that contain counting that helps your children start learning to count.  Not only do they learn to count in the typical manner from 1 to 5 or 10, but they also learn to count down as they recite rhymes.  Basic addition and subtraction is being introduced to them in the many counting rhymes they learn.

Learning math words to describe concepts like many, few, plenty and so forth helps to develop the basis for math concepts.  These basic concepts will be useful with more complex math problems in the future.

Reading Skills Development

Next time you do fingerplay games with your child, notice that the majority of them have their hands and fingers moving in a left to right direction.  Children need to experience the left to right movement as part of the preparation for learning the order of our written word.

You can help reinforce this concept with them by having them follow your fingers as you trace the flow of words in a book that you are reading aloud to them.

One other big factor in developing reading skills is the concept of story sequence.  Most nursery rhymes have a beginning, middle and end as they tell a story.  The pattern of sequence helps children understand basic story sequences and how to follow along with the story line.

Cognitive Development

Nursery rhymes are full of patterns.  These patterns help children build their memory capabilities and recall the verses.  Repetition is good for teaching them how language works.

Nursery rhymes help with listening comprehension.  These little verses are fun for kids.  They learn to listen for the rhythm, sounds, repetitions and more.


Physical Development

Now it may seem odd to think of nursery rhymes having an impact on a child’s physical development, but these verses really do have an effect.  Children saying the words and sounds when learning and repeating the verses are building the muscles in their mouths and tongues.

Then there are those motions that many of the rhymes involve them in that help with their coordination.  Like the body motions they learn when reciting ‘I’m A Little Teapot’ or even finer motor skills with ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’.

Creative Dramatization

These little verses help expand a child’s imagination.  They create interesting images in the mind of a child.  Can’t you just picture that little spider climbing his way up the downspout only to be washed back down?  Little ones start imagining what the characters are doing in their minds.  They love singing the rhymes and pretending to be the characters by acting out the little stories.

Social & Emotional Development

Children learn to go someplace in their heads (and/or physically) when they are experiencing some sort of distress.  Nursery rhymes are often ‘safe places’ they can go to in order to regain their confidence when in an uneasy situation.  Perhaps they are away from their parents staying with extended family.  Reciting or singing nursery rhymes that they have shared with their parents can have a calming effect on them.

Many rhymes are amusing to children helping them to develop a sense of humor.  We all know that a sense of humor is helpful in many social situations.  Children learn to interact with each other with rhymes like ‘London Bridge’ or ‘Ring Around The Rosie’ that include physical interaction to play out the rhyme.

Children also pick up on the emotions that the characters within the rhymes go through during the course of the story line.  This can help them to identify their own emotions as well as those of others.

So the next time you want to ask your little one to stop with the nursery rhymes, think about the positive impacts they are experiencing.  Then join in the fun!

Enjoy the article?  Share it with your friends.