I adore nursery rhymes! They are nuggets of pure literary genius. They are perfect for the littlest of listeners, and they offer such richness of sound. The imagery is varied and fun and the tempo is quick! I love to couple them with body movement offering playful opportunities to connect with my baby.
Children learn through movement. Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessori both understood this and built amazing programs using this as their foundation. With each movement, neurological pathways are being formed. In a sense, one can say that the brain only understands what the body teaches it, and the more the body is involved in the learning process, the more the child is able to really grasp it and the easier it is.
All of the child’s energy is being channeled to building and growing a body and the child is striving to slowly gain greater control over her body and this you can see as the child repeats movements over and over again. Because of this, using nursery rhymes to aid in body awareness through movement is my absolute favorite. Incorporating opportunities for your little one to cross her mid line, and stretch out her arms in bilateral movements are great for brain development. For the very young child, I do the movement for them by guiding her hands and arms; this is great for a baby. For a toddler, being a model of movement is all you need to do and soon your toddler will be imitating you! For the three to six year old, you can focus on fine motor skills as well as gross motor skills.
Not only does the nursery rhyme catch the child’s attention with its imagery, it also teaches in a very age appropriate way! Learning to count with imagery and body movement, now that is a winner! You can use “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” for this. I do love Sylvia Long’s Mother Goose. She has softened some of the imagery and the rhymes are delightful. This is age appropriate because it is playful and fun. Studies have shown that children can perform higher cognitive thinking while playing. This is no surprise since stress inhibits learning.
I am excited to offer a video each week of a nursery rhyme movements that you can do with your child! I hope you have a great week full of giggles, tickles and fun!