Those silly nursery rhymes we hear may seem like they are just for fun. But actually, nursery rhymes are very powerful and even historical! So the next time you say “Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle,” just remember that you are laying the foundation for literacy!
One of the most important ways we can help young children learn to read and speak is to start them off with nursery rhymes. They help break down words for children, and studies have shown that a child’s “ability to recite familiar nursery rhymes was both directly and indirectly related to later literacy and language abilities.”
Young children’s brains are wired to learn, and what a wonderful way to connect with them at the same time. Even more benefits of nursery rhymes are the musical benefits as well as the social/emotional bond that takes place between the adult and the child.
In case you can’t remember all of the words to some of the most common nursery rhymes (I have to look them up too sometimes), I have compiled the best nursery rhymes for children. Below are some of the most loved nursery rhyme songs as well as some more amazing rhyming songs if you are looking for music for children.
Plus, we’ve created song posters and cards with song sticks that you can print from your own printer which are purchasable in our store.
The Best Nursery Rhymes for Children
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Super Simple Songs
Let’s kick things off with the most beloved nursery rhyme of all time! This video is simple and very sweet with calm animations.
Hey Diddle Diddle by Sesame Street
Revisit classic Sesame Street with this nursery rhyme video! The happy cat playing the violin makes me smile every time. Can your kids find the two pairs of rhyming words?
Five Little Ducks by The Learning Station
This one is amazing at reinforcing early math skills! The number of how many ducks go out appears in the corner, and the ducks are counted as they come back. They also include lots of the words, so the early readers you know can follow along!
Three Little Kittens by The Wiggles
I love this adorable take on the classic nursery rhyme! I appreciate how the mother cat has a sweet smile, even when scolding her kittens.
The Wheels on the Bus by Patty Shukla
Patty includes a fun motion with each verse, and adds some more creative movement at the end. All your favorite verses are there! I appreciate how Patty can draw kids in and hold their attention without being overly silly.
Itsy Ditsy Spider by The Learning Station
Meet the itsy spider’s younger brother in this imaginative take on the classic nursery rhyme! Your kids will be sure to be on their feet, rocking along and following the movements with a partner. The song includes lots of tempo changes, which keeps it really engaging.
Hickory Dickory Dock by Super Simple Songs
This version has everything you know and love, including basic math as the clock keeps striking a new hour. It also includes lots of new fun animals – who will go up the clock next??
Baa Baa Black Sheep by Raffi
You can never have too much Raffi!! This live performance is so engaging and fun. He adds additional animals and has the audience guess the new rhyming lyrics, keeping those brains working!
5 in the Bed by Laurie Berkner
This story song comes alive with adorable puppets. It includes some great early math skills as children are encouraged to count backwards from 5! I also appreciate her use of vocal harmonies, which keep a potentially repetitive song interesting.
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes by Patty Shukla
The song starts slowly and then keeps getting faster and changing keys, which makes it a fun challenge to follow along!! The words of each body part appear written on the screen, strengthening early literacy skills.
Row, Row, Row Adventure Song by The Learning Station
The Learning Station puts a fun adventurous spin on the classic “Row, Row, Row your Boat!” Sail along with the captain and her crew as you tackle raging rapids and go over a waterfall.
Humpty Dumpty Rap by Jack Hartmann
Jack Hartmann puts his own unique twist on the classic “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.” His fun beat and creative motions will have the kids begging to watch it again!
Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Patty Shukla
Patty has an amazing way to keep familiar songs, which could potentially be boring due to their overuse, super fun and engaging!! She reinforces the sound each animal makes before their verse, so even the youngest learners will be able to sing along.
Down by the Bay by Raffi
One of the quintessential rhyming songs! “Have you ever had a time when you couldn’t make it rhyme?” Genius. Even my “mature” 6-year old was cracking up!
Who Took The Cookie? by Super Simple Songs
Follow the adorable animals as they try to discover which friend took the cookie from the cookie jar. I love how the animals pat and clap during this familiar chant. Having your body keep time with the beat is a wonderful skill!
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by The Learning Station
I love this “gentler” version of this classic rhyme that doesn’t include lyrics about the Old Lady dying. Watch each animal appear in her stomach after she eats it. The lyrics all appear on the screen, so it’s a great one for building early literacy skills!
Want even more awesome children’s songs? Check out our library below!
Start and End your Day with Music!
Circle Time Songs
Music and Movement Songs
- Pumpkin and Halloween Songs for Kids
- Thanksgiving Songs for Kids
- Christmas Songs for Kids
- Winter Songs for Kids
- ABC and Alphabet Songs
- Days of the Week Songs
- Songs that Teach
- The Ultimate Guide to Preschool Songs
- Rainbow Songs for Kids
- DIY Animal Puzzle - October 31, 2022
- How to use Question of the Day for Circle Time - August 5, 2022
- Why Potty Training is Failing - June 18, 2022
Dave and Ava have terrific nursery rhyme videos on YouTube too