Nursery Rhymes Topic Guide

What’s your favourite nursery rhyme? These traditional poems are an important part of growing up, and help children to learn to read and write.

Nursery rhymes are simple, and repetitive because for a long time they were not written down, so people learnt them by heart, and then taught them to their own children.

Teach your children about Nursery Rhymes using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • This Christmas Assembly includes a great writing idea for younger children: What would nursery rhyme characters give away for Christmas?
  • Ask the children to write their own version of a familiar nursery rhyme by changing one element, for example, a different animal could sit down next to Miss Muffet.
  • Make simple puppets to act out a rhyme, such as this paper plate Humpty Dumpty.
  • Use these resources from the British Council to match up the sentence in the rhyme This Little Piggy.
  • Create a small world play area based on a nursery rhyme so the children can act it out.
  • Cut up the lines of a nursery rhyme, or illustrations, and ask children to sequence them in the right order, with adult support.
  • Sew some simple felt mice to act out “Three Blind Mice”.


  • This BBC site is perfect for teaching children nursery rhymes, and finding new ones.
  • There are lots of free nursery rhyme posters for display or reading activities on this site.
  • Grab some free colouring pages from the Crayola site.

Nursery Rhyme Facts

  • A nursery rhyme is a song or poem for very young children.
  • The earliest known book of nursery rhymes was published over 250 years ago, but many nursery rhymes are much older.
  • Some nursery rhymes are about things that really happened. Mary Had a Little Lamb is about a girl called Mary Sawyer, whose pet lamb followed her to school.
  • Actions can be added to nursery rhymes, a good example is Incy Wincy Spider.


Early Years Nursery Rhymes

This hour-long medley features animations of many classic nursery rhymes for children to learn and join in with.

Running time: 1:01:01

Makaton Nursery Rhymes

Learn how to sign Miss Polly had a Dolly, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Pat-a-Cake, Baa Baa Black Sheep and The Wheels on the Bus.

Running time: 7:12

Incy Wincy Spider

Join Andy to sing and sing Incy Wincy Spider.

Running time: 1:29


Each Peach Pear Plum

Children love finding the nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters in this charming book.

Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes

There are more than 50 rhymes to enjoy in this book.

Dear Mother Goose

Nursery Rhyme characters write to Mother Goose, hoping she can help them solve their problems.

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