Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Nursery Rhymes Teach Coordination, Social Skills, and MUSIC!

Here we are in Part 3 of a post series on what your child learns from nursery rhymes. Hop over and review Part 1 (Speech and Vocabulary) or Part 2 (Reading and Math) if you missed them. 

This is the final post where I get to give you a BONUS PRIZE for reading all 3 parts! (keep going!)


When we learn nursery rhymes in Sound Beginnings class, we like to incorporate movement and finger plays that naturally lead to development of coordination and whole-body control.

Jumping over a candle like "Jack be nimble" or using the fingers to show "One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive" give practice for large and small-motor control and lead to improved coordination.

Just speaking the rhymes and forming the words quickly and with rhythm is a workout for the mouth, tongue an vocal chords! (Go back to part 1 for more mouth workouts)

It takes even more practice to do actions to the beat. Chanting and acting with fingers/arms/body builds neural pathways for coordination!

Social Skills

Sharing rhymes that we memorize as a class and chant together is extremely social.

Children really feel that they belong to the group when they participate in a shared experience like reciting or singing together.  "I know how to do this. I belong to this group. I know what we do here. I am safe here." 

Holding hands and making simple games from the rhymes (Ring around the Rosie) helps children connect with their parents and peers. Positive physical touch with parents (clapping hands, dancing, hugging) during rhymes also strengthens bonding through play. 

When your child is bored or sad, holding her in your lap and whispering a nursery rhyme is a fantastic way to soothe, comfort, and bond. Memorize some rhymes!

How else do rhymes help with social skills? Characters in rhymes exhibit different emotions, giving children a larger vocabulary for identifying and labeling their own emotions.  Rhymes can give a platform for imagination and creative play acting out the characters.

Why did the little dog laugh when he saw the cow jump over the moon?
How did Jack and Jill feel when they fell down the hill?
How would you feel if a fish bit the finger on your hand?
Why do you think the two little blackbirds go everywhere together?


Did you see where we were heading with this? 

A broad musical foundation requires students to have control of the singing and speaking mechanisms. To have an ear practiced in hearing pitch, volume, and rhythm. To have coordination of the hands and body that will be used to play an instrument. To socially connect with other musicians and family members through music.  

Those are the skills we just itemized as being strengthened through nursery rhymes! Nursery rhymes teach fundamental music skills.

When we chant rhymes in class, we always love to establish a steady beat for the children to match and maintain. Adding words is the next-level: addition of rhythm to a beat. Yet another fundamental skill gleaned from rhymes.

Sound Beginnings students will be ready to excel in music!

BONUS:Finger Plays Library!

You know there are MANY reasons to enjoy rhymes with your child, so here are several nursery rhymes with actions/ finger plays for you to enjoy with your child.  Yes, you'll be teaching all kinds of amazing things, but you'll also be having fun, preventing boredom, and sharing love with your child!  ENJOY!

In case you missed Part 1: Speech and Vocabulary in Rhymes
or Part 2: Reading and Math in Rhymes
you can circle back and read them!

- Gina Weibel, M.S.
Let's Play Music teacher

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