Language

Nursery Rhyme Ideas for Language

collage of traditional rhymes

  1. Jack Be Nimble. Change Jack to the Child's name. For example, "Shelly be nimble, Shelly be quick. Shelly jump over the candlestick." Then let her jump over the candle. You can also add words. "Shelly jump over the red candlestick." or "Shelly jump over two candlesticks."
  2. Little Boy Blue. This is a great one to teach prepositions. "He's under the haystack fast asleep." or "He's behind the haystack fast asleep." or "on top of", "in front of" "beside" Have a picture of Little Boy Blue and the haystack so that when you recite the words and use a different preposition, the child can put little boy blue where he belongs. If you are working on colors, you can recite "Little Boy Red/Yellow/Green". If you're working on pronouns, you can recite "Little Girl Blue", "she's somewhere around the haystack".
  3. This Little Piggy Went to Market. It's OK to change the words using different animals and different nouns/verbs. Put some choices on a board and let the child choose. For example, "This little sheep went to school, This little sheep stayed home, This little sheep ate cake and ice cream, This little sheep had none, This little sheep cried/laughed/yelled 'baa-baa-baa' all the way home.
  4. If you're working on numbers, 1,2 Buckle/Tie My Shoe and 1,2,3,4,5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive, are wonderful. Have the numbers and point to them as you say them.
  5. Polly Put the Kettle On. Ask the child what his/her favorite food is, then change the name, cooking utensil, and food. For example, "Lenora put the pan on, Lenora put the pan on, Lenora put the pan on and we'll all have pizza. You can also change the food item name in Peas porridge hot.

More Ideas...

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Eric Carle
Cut out foam animals in the appropriate colors to go with the animals in the rhyme.  The children can use them as visual and tactile cues.  The children who already know their names and the rhyme can pick them out of a box to change the order of the animals in the rhyme.
submitted by Kim Singer
Bingo, (B-I-N-G-O)
There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o.
(spell the name 3 times)
Bingo,Bingo,Bingo,and Bingo was his name-o.
There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was his name-o.
Clap-i-n-g-o, Clap-i-n-g-o, Clap-i-n-g-o,and Bingo was his name-o.
Continue singing and adding Claps to replace letters.

Variations:
I replace Bingo with children's names to teach the spelling of their names. use letter flash cards as an aid.

Replace Bingo with animals and teach the spelling of cat, horse, cow, etc.

To teach addresses sing: There was a mailman had a letter going to my house-o.  24 Sunset St, 24 Sunset St. 24 Sunset St and that is where I live-o.
Submitted by Chris Rubino

BINGO
All young children love the song BINGO.  I have made cards with each letter on one side and the parts of "my BINGO" dog on the back.  As the song is sung each letter is turned over.  Behind the "B" is the tail of the dog, "I" back feet and body, "N" more body, "G" more body and front feet, "O" the head.  The children can visually see how many letters are left.  They know to clap for each body part.  The love to see what the BINGO dog looks like when all the letters are turned over. 
Submitted by Lisa Sabers

Little Miss Muffet
Using bodies, you can increase awareness and understanding of the words.
Props needed: Huge spider  (my spider is as big a basketball but flatter)
Bowl and spoon
Chair for Miss Muffett

As I recite the rhyme, the children act out the rhyme. Eventually, the children join in reciting the rhyme after several repetitions:)

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey. (child sitting on chair pretending to eat with
spoon and bowl)

And along came a spider and sat down beside her (another child carries spider towards Miss Muffet and stands beside her with the spider)

And frightened Miss Muffet away. (child playing Miss Muffet runs away).

This rhyme can also be used to teach him/her pronoun, prepositions by replacing ("on her/his tuffet", "under a bridge", "beside a tree".....and "sat down beside" can be changed to "sat in front of", "next to")......attributes "big hairy spider", "little blue spider"

Little Mr.Muffet sat on his tuffet eating his curds and whey.

Along came a spider and sat down beside him And frightened Mr. Muffet away.
Submitted by Lori Hataway
Mulberry Bush (Adapted)
This is the way I put on my socks (mime pulling on socks)
put on my socks
put on my socks
This is the way I put on my socks
So early in the morning

-put on my pants
-put on my shirt
-do up my shoes
-put on my coat
-eat my cereal
-drink my juice
-get on the bus
-walk to school
etc...

Where possible this would be backed up with visual supports for language (objects/photos/drawings, depending on the child's level of representation of language).  Other activities can also be incorporated (books, dolls, puzzles) around the same theme of clothing to provide a multimodal language learning experience for the child.
submitted by Susan Lang

The Little Turtle
This rhyme works well for practicing he/she.  Coordinate the poem/fingerplay with pictures colored onto flash cards or Intellikeys.  Even as children are beginning to learn the fingerplay they are able to do the actions.  There are several fun craft activities making a turtle, which also reinforce the opportunity to practice the fingerplay during therapy and at home.  We make paper plate turtles or cut out a turtle and mount it on a tongue depressor.


Turtle Poem
There was a little turtle
She lived in a box
She swam in the puddle
She climbed up the rock.
She snapped at a mosquito
She snapped at a flea
She snapped at a minnow
and she snapped at me.
She caught a mosquito
She caught the flea
She caught the minnow
but she didn't catch me

submitted by Louise Dignan

Jack and Jill
Using rhymes that are meaningful and can be matched with movements can be incorporated into co-treatment sessions with OT, PT, and SLPs.  Set up a rug covered ramp, connected to a tire swing with a big blue ball inside it, a rope hanging down over it, and a soft "blob" to jump in.  We sing, as we encourage them to go through the motions and sing along with us...

Jack and Jill, went up the hill (the child walks up the ramp and climbs up onto the ball)
to fetch a pail of water (the child holds onto the rope)
Jack fell down (the child jumps onto the blob)
and broke his crown (touch the child's head to help with the meaning)
and Jill came tumbling after (the child rolls out of the blob).

The movements and nursery rhymes are repeated many times.  The activities work on OT issues as well as various language issues and can be very motivating.
submitted by Laurie Berkowitz

Little Boy Blue
Enlarge a picture of Little Boy Blue and glue on tag board.  The children can glue hay on the haystack and corn by the cows.  Color salt with blue food coloring and help the children glue it on Little Boy Blue.  Talk about the colors-blue, green, yellow    animals-cow and sheep     farm products-hay and corn
submitted by Rochelle Schmidt
Nursery Rhymes and Articulation
Use nursery rhymes to work on carry-over of articulation sounds.  Take index cards and lay them down in a circle on the floor.  Take another card with a nursery rhyme title and picture and place it on top of the blank index card.  Choose a rhyme to sing ("L" London Bridge is Falling Down, "K" Old King Cole, etc.).  Sing the song while walking in a circle around the cards.  When the music stops, everyone stops in font of a card and picks up the nursery rhyme card (leaving the blank card on the floor).  Name the nursery rhymes on the cards and pick one of those to sing and play again.  If you land on a blank index card, don't pick it up.  The one with the most nursery rhymes at the end, wins the game.
submitted by Susan Fono
The Brady Bunch
When working on social language I use this song to reinforce saying thank you.  It is set to the tune of "The Brady Bunch".

Here's the story
of some good people
who are thankful when someone's being nice.
They always say thank you and you're welcome,
when someone's being nice.
The thank you bunch, the thank you bunch
They say thank you, so they're the thank you bunch.
submitted by Rosalind Sherrill

For words to all of these nursery rhymes and more visit www.zelo.com