Nursery rhymes aren't just silly little poems and songs about cute characters. The Center for Early Literacy Learning notes that these children's rhymes can help your little one to develop phonological abilities that include sound recognition. Whether you are a preschool teacher yourself, are planning a craft to try with your child's class or are wondering what your child does during her "school" day, nursery rhyme circle time activities can help your young student to start her day off in a creative way.
Reading is one of the easiest activities that a day care or preschool teacher can do during circle time. During circle time the kids are already gathered together in a set-up that lends itself to listening to and looking at a story book. With the class quietly seated in a circle shape, the kids can turn their heads to see pictures in an illustrated version of nursery rhymes. Read favorites such as "Humpty Dumpty", "Baa Baa Black Sheep" or "Jack and Jill." Try multi-story volumes such as the "Original Volland Edition Mother Goose" or Blanche Fisher Wright's "The Real Mother Goose."
Fingerplays can help the young child to develop fine motor skills such as dexterity and eye-hand coordination. Incorporate these creative activities into your circle time routine by using nursery rhymes as a theme. One easy rhyme that lends itself to fingerplays and hand games is "Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake." Have the kids turn to the person next to them, pair off and het them to clap each other's hands to the tune of the rhyme. Kids can also try fingerplay counting activities that go along with number themed rhymes such as "Three Blind Mice" or "Three Little Kittens."
Early childhood teachers can use the rhyming nature of nursery rhymes during a song-filled circle time activity. Rhymes such as "All Around the Mulberry Bush" are easy to sing instead of only read. Teach the children the rhyme first and then add in a song version. Have the children sing the song together after reading it. Go back and forth between the book version and the children's creative performance of the song. Use a CD, or an instrument such a a guitar that you may play, to add music to the song.
Using a flannel board can help the young child to better understand, or literally see, the story at hand. Illustrate your own nursery rhyme story by having the children place different flannel characters and objects onto the board. For example, for the rhyme "Little Miss Muffet" you will need a Miss Muffet flannel character, a tuffet for her to sit, curds and whey (or a bowl) and a spider. Call the children up one at a time to take turns telling the story.