Nursery rhymes are more than just fun stories to recite with your kids. Aside from being a great source of entertainment, nursery rhymes shape children’s development in several ways — such as improving their cognitive and coordination skills in ways that are relevant to modern social interactions.
If you never thought of nursery rhymes as a way to scaffold children’s development, I’m going to show you some reasons to think twice. Let’s dig in.
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Where Did Nursery Rhymes Originate?
Just like fairy tales, nursery rhymes were originally not meant for children. In their early years, they were used for quick and effective communication of messages. These messages would usually have to do with current events. London Bridge, anyone?
As they have aged, people have given nursery rhymes a more whimsical purpose, used for play and fun. Their serious past has quickly been forgotten, and people have decided to incorporate them into children’s education.
How Do Nursery Rhymes Shape Children’s Development?
Nursery rhymes are short rhymes. Even though the wording can be silly, they still convey a message. Consequently, they shape your child’s mind and present a myriad of opportunities for their growth. Here are four powerful ways nursery rhymes shape children’s development.
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Nursery Rhymes Improve Cognitive Skills
Nursery rhymes are a valuable tool to improve children’s cognitive skills. When you read children’s books and sing nursery rhymes to kids, it helps them pick up and latch on to these messages, linking them with appropriate body language and tone of voice. Theatrical renditions of your favorite nursery rhymes can help your children learn social cues.
After saying the nursery rhyme, you can even have your child repeat back to you what you just recited, or ask them what they think the rhyme meant and how the characters in the rhymes felt. This activity combines a fun back-and-forth with crucial development.
Nursery Rhymes Shape Social Skills
Nursery rhymes shape positive social skills as well. Whether in a group setting or one-on-one, nursery rhymes will help children become more comfortable with social interactions. This is where they will learn lots of patterned behavior and can figure out how to adequately respond to different situations.
Try making a game out of the nursery rhyme and have your child wait their turn to speak a line, directed by different cues. This can help them when it comes to social interactions later in life.
Nursery Rhymes Build Coordination
Coordination is a hard one, but all it takes is practice! With nursery rhymes, it’s easy to make up fun little dances and hand movements that your kids can practice.
Putting movement and repetition together is key to helping children gain coordination and balance. When they get more and more coordinated, you can even try adding in new moves or let them improvise.
Nursery Rhymes Improve Children’s Literacy
Through nursery rhymes, you can engage children in purposeful reading or let children immerse themselves in the world of books. Given the short, fun nature of nursery rhymes, a lot of times, they even become children’s first introduction to poetry.
Whether you are reading for your child or letting them act out the story, this provides a wonderful opportunity for children to build vocabulary, and therefore nurture emergent literacy skills.
Conclusion on How Nursery Rhymes Shape Children’s Development
If you were ever on the fence on how to use nursery rhymes, what you do with them is all up to you. But it is useful to remember that even playtime is valuable for development.
In moments of fun and laughter, nursery rhymes shape our children for key milestones and success in the future!
What do you think about nursery rhymes? How do you use them to drive children’s development? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.