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Celebrating Nursery Rhyme Week: The importance of nursery rhymes for under 5s


Nursery rhymes may just seem like a fun way to spend time and interact with your little one... or to keep them distracted.

So you may not realise but Nursery Rhymes actually come with a host of developmental benefits.

In this post, we will explore the importance of nursery rhymes in early childhood alongside ways to support this at home and some additional links and resources.

Let’s dive straight in!

Nursery rhymes are a lot more than just entertainment, they introduce little ones to storytelling, promote social skills and boost language development.

They also create the foundation for learning to read and write later on.

In summary, they are an amazing tool for holistic early years development.

Toddlers clapping

Developmental benefits

Cognitive development

The repetition of nursery rhymes is a great tool for your little one’s brain. It teaches them how language works and improves memory, concentration and thinking skills.

Because the verses are so repetitive (and organised so that similar sounds jump out at you), they are good for first memorization.

Physical skills

Certain nursery rhymes encourage various actions e.g. ‘'Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’. These help boost motor skills and improve rhythm and movement.

Social and emotional

Nursery rhymes offer opportunities for fun and bonding. As children develop at different rates, using rhymes supports their communication and language development – helping them bond socially whatever stage they’re at!

Language skills

Nursery rhymes are important for learning vocabulary and speech development. It also supports the development of auditory skills as a child will listen out for different words.


It may not seem like it, but nursery rhymes are a great way to familiarise your little one with numbers!

They’re full of math concepts such as sequencing, weight/size, patterns and counting, for instance in One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive.

Toddlers clapping

Supporting your little one at home

You can support your little one’s learning at home by:

  • Identifying and singing your little one’s favourite nursery rhymes! You can also make this more interactive by clapping/tapping along or even creating music using various items from around the house.

  • Using actions when introducing new nursery rhymes. These can help your child learn the words.

  • Remembering that you are one of your child’s biggest role models – you play a key role in promoting healthy habits which includes reading. Just reading/singing nursery rhymes together daily will show your little one just how important they are.

  • Finally, trying to find a way to include nursery rhymes in everyday routines. Whether that’s when getting ready to go to nursery or at lunchtime, it can make daily tasks fun as well as turn them into opportunities for learning and development.



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