Nursery rhymes are important because they help children grow into language users while developing the ability to think and enjoy playing with words, rhythm and rhyme. By hearing the sounds that make up words, very young children learn how words sound.
Babies and children are drawn to words that are spoken with rhythm and rhyme. Nursery rhymes naturally allow the teller to change their voice to match the rhythm of the rhyme varying expression, tone and pacing.
Nursery rhymes also help children learn. As they hear the same nursery rhymes again and again, young children remember what they hear more easily. Nursery rhymes teach new words such as “frightened”..a little mouse under the chair or “fetch” a pail of water. Some nursery rhymes involve counting (1,2 buckle my shoe.)
Nursery rhymes are appealing to the ear. Many nursery rhymes include onomatopoeia, which is fun to say and hear. (I had a goose and the goose pleased me, I fed my goose by yonder tree, goose goes swishy, swashy, duck goes quack, quack, hen goes chimmy-chuck, chimmey-chuck, cat goes fiddle-i-fee.) Nursery rhymes frequently feature alliteration, which is appealing to many ages (Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater and Dickery, dickery dare, the pig flew up in the air…)
Children love to hear a story and nursery rhymes have entertained children for generations. Nursery rhymes tell interesting stories with a clear beginning, middle and end. Many of the rhymes feature familiar situations such as Twinkle, twinkle, little star… and Little Tommy Tucker sings for his supper, What shall we give him? White bread and butter…)
Finally, nursery rhymes can teach children new concepts such as “ Higgerty piggity my black hen, she lays eggs for gentlemen… Nursery rhymes stand the test of time because of their rhythm, rhyme, use of language and variety of topics both new and familiar.