One of my earliest memories is of playing with my Granddad. Already well into his 70s when I was born, he wasn’t a real natural with children. But he loved being around his grandchildren and sometimes (usually with a little awkwardness), he tried to entertain us.
One day, when I was very small, he sat me on his knee, and began to sing the nursery rhyme ‘Two little dickie birds’. He’d stuck a small piece of paper to each forefinger, and as he sang ‘Fly away Peter, fly away Paul’, he lifted his fingers over his shoulders, then returned them with the paper mysteriously missing. As he sang ‘Come back’ to the birds, they ‘reappeared’ on his fingers.
I was dumbfounded! My Granddad was so magical he could make paper birds disappear and reappear on his fingers! It was many years later I realised he must have simply swapped fingers!
Singing with our children should be a natural part of every day. Sharing familiar nursery rhymes and songs has many benefits for small children. It helps them with their language development, including aspects such as pronunciation, recognising different sounds, and use of repetition. All these skills are important as they learn to talk and eventually to read.
Lots of nursery rhymes and songs for tiny kids include counting, to give their maths development a boost. Cuddling up for a cosy lullaby, jumping crazily to a lively song, and dancing to a swinging beat are all great ways to improve their social and emotional development. And of course, action rhymes are superb for helping children to master great motor control.
This week is International Nursery Rhyme Week, and the sponsors Music Bugs have put together a great program to help you enjoy nursery rhymes with your kids. Each day has its own special rhyme:
- Mon 7: Doctor Foster
- Tues 8: Baa baa black sheep
- Wed 9: Two little dickie birds
- Thurs 10: Incy wincy spider
- Fri 11: Hey diddle diddle
You probably know these traditional rhymes already, but you can make life easier for yourself by downloading the resource pack from MusicBugs. This great pack contains MP3 files, Powerpoint presentations, colouring sheets, and extra activities you can do with your children.
All children love singing, and sharing traditional nursery rhymes is a fabulous way to introduce singing. Who knows? You could be starting a lifelong love of music.
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