“The nursery rhyme is essentially poetical because it is essentially musical.” – Emile Leon Cammaerts (1878-1953), Belgian poet, biographer and professor

Nursery rhymes, whether spoken or paired with tunes, are indeed musical and rhythmic.  They also tend to be short and, thus, easily repeated.  And, of course, they lend themselves naturally to be accompanied by movement and various playful games.  All this, combined with the good feelings adults tend to experience passing along rhymes and songs of their childhood, make the sharing of nursery rhymes a rich learning experience and a joyful pastime.

Our Kindermusik Village unit “Hickory Dickory Tickle and Bounce” is full of nursery rhymes that we have grown up with – from our Western culture, as well as others from around the world.  Each rhyme / song is paired specifically with activities that draw out specific benefits through language or movement.  Of course, many of our favorites are known as Mother Goose rhymes.

The first collection of “Mother Goose” stories was produced in 1967 by Frenchman Charles Perrault and included 10 fairy tales. His book was translated into English in 1729 as Mother Goose’s Fairy Tales.  Then, in 1787, Isaiah Thomas published the first American edition, Mother Gooses Melody, or Sonnets for the Cradle, which consisted of about 50 rhymes including favoritesLittle Tommy Tucker and Jack and Jill.

Meanwhile, the origin of the figure Mother Goose is not completely clear – Perhaps she was Bertrada, mother of Charlemagne who, for her large feet, was also known as Queen Goosefoot” and was a patroness of children.  Whether or not there was a real Mother Goose, the mythical figure mere l’moye (which translates as “mother goose”) was familiar in
France by the mid 17th century as a “fairy birdmother who told charming tales to children”.  Of the body of tales and rhymes attributed to her, some were in print in
Italy as early as 1637.


You are going to love the website where this information came from!  Check out http://www.mothergoose.com to find interactive games, color-cut-paste crafts, stories (fun twists on the originals) and 362 Nursery Rhymes (arranged alphabetically), as well as everything Mother Goose that you can buy at Amazon.com.  Fun, Fun, Fun!

More fun with Mother Goose Rhymes:

  • Write down, as a keepsake (on a journal page, or just on a sheet of paper), the songs or rhymes you remember that your mother shared with you.  Then write down the new ones you and your child enjoy.
  • Take the above idea a step further and make a book with your family gems.  Write or print the words, add pictures of your baby and the family members with whom the rhyme is associated with.  Change the words to fit names or character traits of siblings or relatives.  Then put it together in a book she can look through.
  • Take a familiar rhyme or song, then play with the words to suit one of your baby’s routines, such as bathtime, waking up, or diaper changes.
  • There are rhymes or songs for almost all of the animals I can think of.  Choose one for each of the child’s stuffed animals.  If you have two bunnies, each can have their own rhyme.  Then sing or chant it whenever you play with that toy.
  • Print out a few new rhymes or songs, then attach them to different places in the babies room where you can see and learn them quickly.


Mother Goose books I have enjoyed:

Hey Diddle Diddle & other Mother Goose Rhymes  –          Illustrated by Tomie De Paulo, 1985, G.P. Putnam’s Sons-

Excellent illustrations for some of the favorite rhymes with ALL their verses.  WOW

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon–          Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel,  Scholastic, Inc.-

A wonderful story of what happens when dish and spoon don’t come back, and the rest of the characters have to wander through the land of rhymes to find them.

A Year of Fun – Just for BabiesJust for Ones,  Just for Twos, etc. up to 5 years old.-          by Jean Warren and Theodosia Sideropoulos Spewock, Totline Books-

Fun seasonal activities, songs, poems, and fingerplays – plus practical advice for parents.  Presented in a monthly format perfect for hanging up to reference easily.

Nursery Songs and Lap Games – A collection of rhymes featuring the artwork of the masters-          Compiled by Pamela Kennedy and Joan Covell, 1990,  Ideals Children’s Books-

A beautiful book with fabulous paintings of children by Renoir, Picasso, etc.

Hey Diddle Diddle – My First Book of Nursery Rhymes-          Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler-

An excellent card book as a hands-on introduction. You may not get this one, but there are many such books out there, and are a staple of any child’s collection.

Little Mother Goose House–          Variety of illustrators,  Publications International, Ltd. 1996

A boxed set of little books just the right size.  Each contains about 10 basic rhymes based on a specific theme, ie. Counting, riddles, bedtime, farm fun, colors, etc.