Hey Diddle Diddle,
The Cat and the fiddle,
The Cow jumped over the moon,
The little Dog laughed to see such fun (sport),
And the Dish ran away with the Spoon!
5 Ways Nursery Rhymes Benefit Your Child’s Development
Many of our common nursery rhymes are over 500 years old, and until recently nearly every child could recite Mary Had A Little Lamb or Three Blind Mice. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case – nursery rhymes and all types of literature have declined in popularity as television, apps, and video games become the favored methods of entertaining children. This is tragic, because nursery rhymes provide many benefits that no TV show can offer:
1. Nursery Rhymes Increase Language And Reading Skills
There’s a reason why we use songs and rhymes to teach children the alphabet, body parts, and many other basic pieces of information. This format makes the information much easier to remember (that’s why you can remember jingles from 80s TV commercials, but not all the chemistry formulas you crammed in your brain in high school.)
Nursery rhymes teach children new vocabulary words and help them to recognize words with similar phonemes. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry says pre-reading rhyming skills are the best predictor of later reading ability, largely because children who put words into rhyming categories are quicker to recognize spelling patterns and make predictions about new words.
2. Nursery Rhymes Stimulate the Brain
The rhythm and repetition of nursery rhymes stimulate the frontal lobes of the brain, the area responsible for language development. The musical aspects of nursery rhymes are even more beneficial to the brain: music reduces cortisol levels, soothing stress, and boosts endorphins responsible for pain-relief and general euphoria. The famous “Mozart Effect” indicates that music can even boost temporal-spatial reasoning by the equivalent of nine IQ points.
3. Nursery Rhymes Are Highly Social
Teaching, practicing, and singing nursery rhymes with your children are highly social and interactive activities. When children find other kids who know the same rhymes, it links them together and allows them to participate in shared social knowledge. Nursery rhymes also give significance and meaning to social events that can trouble children, like falling down or losing a personal belonging.
4. Nursery Rhymes Can Develop Motor Skills and Coordination
Many nursery rhymes include actions and gestures that are simple for children to perform and easy to remember because they’re associated with a song. Coordinating these motions with the rhythm of the song helps children develop fine motor skills and learn tempo.
5. Nursery Rhymes Develop Humor and A Love of Language
Many nursery rhymes contain simple humorous or ironic messages, which can be your child’s first experience with literary comedy. Similarly, the simple stories contained in nursery rhymes introduce children to the idea of a narrative arc, which they can explore in greater depth once they start reading. Learning and laughing over the rhymes together will show your children that language can be playful and fun.
Even if you’ve never taught your child nursery rhymes, or you don’t know any yourself, it’s not too late to start! Nursery rhymes can be a source of joy and education for your family for years to come.