Rhymes from well known traditional nursery rhymes to modern action rhymes play an important part in early childhood development.
Nursery rhymes are packed with the 3 R’s: rhyme, rhythm and repetition. They play a vital role in helping children develop key speech, language and communication skills. They also support the development of social, physical and emotional skills.
The Early Years curriculum highlights rhyme and repetition as important building blocks for developing early literacy skills. It’s never too early to introduce children to rhyme, rhythm and repetition!
Reciting or singing nursery rhymes is an effective and fun way of raising children’s awareness of rhyme.
When children are about 2-3 years old they start to become aware of rhyme and enjoy listening to and joining in with nursery rhymes and songs.
Action rhymes such as My Easter Bunny also have easy actions to support the story and children enjoy joining in – download FREE resources here.
Practise the actions first before you try to combine them with the words. Younger children will find it difficult to co-ordinate the words with the actions.
Songs, stories and nursery rhymes introduce children to new words developing the children’s vocabulary. The rhyme and rhythm help make words more memorable which helps children learn new words. Hearing words repeated in the context of a story or song help link the understanding of words to objects, pictures and actions.
Children also enjoy the sound play of rhyming words, such as ‘hop’ and ‘flop’ or ‘wink’ and ‘blink’, they hear in familiar shared rhymes and stories.
The use of rhyme, rhythm and repetition helps children to join in with repeated refrains and to anticipate and join in with key phrases in rhymes and stories such as: Mother hen says ‘Cluck, cluck, cluck, CLACK’ This is a stepping stone to being able to create their own rhyming string or stories.
Counting songs such as Five Little Chicks or Ten Little Chicks help to develop a familiarity with number sounds and words in a way that is fun and interesting for young children.
Familiarity with counting songs lays the foundation for the development of key numeracy skills. You can download FREE resources for Ten Little Chicks here.
First children learn to recognise rhyme and then they gradually develop the harder skill of generating rhyming words. Some children will pick up the concept of rhyme very quickly and others will need more practise and take much longer to develop this skill.
Typically by 4 to 5 years children are able to:
- enjoy and imitate rhyme
- recognise when a familiar nursery rhyme is changed – you can encourage sound play by inventing new rhymes with the children
- identify a word that does not rhyme – the odd one out – hop flop wink
We hope you enjoy the benefits of rhyme, repetition and rhythm with your children each and every day.