As a kid, some of my fondest memories of childhood are of my mother reading out rhymes to me in her sweet animated voice. With a hot cup of tea and a picture book in hand, she opened up a world of possibilities for the young me.
While stories make for good bedtime ritual, rhymes are what really capture the young ones. The sing-song rhyming words not only make them laugh but also introduces babies and toddlers to the wonder of narratives. In recent years, research has shown that engagement to rhymes helps children with reading.
Read on as we list down the benefits of rhymes for kids and the moral values they inculcate in your tiny-tots.
Benefits Of Rhymes For Kids
Rhymes are some of the first narratives that your children are introduced to as part of their reading experience. Unlike adults, kids have shorter attention spans, which make rhymes the perfect reading material. Shorter sentences, the singing aspect, and rhyming words engage your child’s attention.
Some of the benefits of reading rhymes for kids are:
- Enhance Their Cognitive Skills:
Children develop their cognitive skills between the age of one and four. Most kids of this age develop a conceptualisation of colour, shape, size and movement. Reading rhymes to children of this age helps to enhance the development of these concepts among them. It makes your children more receptive and active to these concepts.
- Confident Speakers:
The structure of rhymes is easy enough to repeat by a toddler, which is why they often become some of your child’s first sentences. Children usually start by speaking single words before adding more and converting it to a sentence. While attempting to recite rhymes, your children are trying to express themselves. This desire to express themselves helps them become confident speakers and less self-conscious.
- Good Listeners:
While stories follow a proper sequence of events, so do rhymes. Each rhyme, like a story. has a beginning, middle and end. Looking out for this makes children pay attention to you and the rhyme, turning them into good listeners. Listening abilities developed at this stage will help them out in the later years.
- Develop Reading Skills:
Before stories, rhymes are some of the first stories your children get to hear. Other than listening, following a clear sequence of events also helps your kids in developing good reading skills. Rhymes also help children to learn the alphabets, syllables and corresponding sounds.
- Broadening Vocabulary:
Reading and listening to rhymes gives a boost to your child’s language and literacy skills. Rhymes expose your child to certain words that may not feature in his/her daily vocabulary. Listening to rhymes helps them to learn these new words, making them better speakers from a young age.
- Social Participation:
In today’s world, social skills are as important as others. Developing them in the early ages of childhood pays off in the later years of adulthood. Singing children rhymes with children of the same age will help your child to know his/her peers better. It will make your child bond better with the people around when he/she realises they share something in common. These social skills will help your child become more social and outgoing.
- Better Memory:
Rhymes not only teach your children about language and its different facets but also helps build their memory. Reading out rhymes on a daily basis to your tiny one will help your child in memorising the rhymes. They act as a fun learning experience and lay the groundwork for a strong memory.
- Imaginative Skills:
The world of fantasy created by rhymes for children broadens the imaginative scope of children. The animated actions and musical aspect of rhymes help to develop the visualisation skills of children.
Classic Nursery Rhymes For Kids
The literature for children has increased exponentially over the years. However, some poems have stood the test of time and are still part of every child’s reading experience.
These poems may be some that you too might have heard of during your childhood. These classics are so intrinsic to children’s literature that one cannot talk about rhymes without mentioning them.
Some of these age-old classics are:
- Johny Johny:
Little Johny, who has eaten sugar, and his father, who has picked on his lies, is a poem that is taught in both preschools and schools. An old poem, it talks about the importance of telling the truth.
- Alphabet Song:
One of the classic english rhymes, Alphabet Song is a great way of teaching the alphabets in a fun way to your children. The song will help your child to learn the alphabets even faster.
- Mary Had A Little Lamb:
First published in 1830, the poem has been read and recited by generations across the world. Most parents remember it from their own childhood and enjoy reciting it to their kids.
- Little Miss Muffet:
Published in 1805, the traditional poem often has its readers in splits with the antics of its protagonist, Little Miss Muffet. Children can’t help but laugh at the little girl who was frightened by a spider. The poem is a great way of teaching your children all about spiders.
- Old McDonald Had A Farm:
A true classic, the traditional American rhyme has been read in different versions all over the world. The poem is a great way of teaching your children about different animals and the specific sounds they make.
- Humpty Dumpty:
Popular in many pre-schools and schools, there is no rhyme collection which doesn’t feature this classic. The poem has been used by many parents to caution their children about great heights.
- Little Robin Redbreast:
Though many versions exist of this poem, the earliest one was published in 1744. The poem teaches children to engage more with nature.
- Solomon Grundy:
A classic English nursery rhyme, the poem was first collected by James Orchard Halliwell and published in 1842. The poem describes the circle of life in a matter of a week and about death that follows every living being.
- Little Bo Beep:
A popular poem, it beautifully explains the sadness of losing one’s precious things. It also teaches that sometimes it is important to let some things go.
- To Market, To Market:
Not all poems have to teach lessons to children. Some of them exist for pure fun and entertainment. To Market, To Market, published in 1805, is a poem to be sung around and dance. The rhythmic beat and repeating words make children sing them again and again.
Classic Rhymes That Teach Moral Values
While rhymes gratify young readers, they also act as a medium of instruction for parents. Many classic rhymes over the years have dealt with moral values that parents try to inculcate in their children.
Some of these classics written by famous poets are:
- The Ants:
Written by Jane Taylor, the poem applauds the work ethic of ants. It also talks about the importance of good nature and kindness through its protagonist.
- A Farewell:
Charles Kingsley, who wrote several books for children, wrote this beautiful poem as an advice given from a father to his child. The short poem instructs its readers to put good intentions into actions.
- The Violet:
Jane Taylor in her short poem comments the virtue of humility. Using the image of a violet flower the poetess tells its readers the importance of being humble and kind.
- Love Between Brothers And Sisters:
Siblings fight; that is the truth of the matter. However, to keep it from getting out of hand you could read this rhyme out to your kids. This poem by Isaac Watts instructs siblings to love each other and to not fight.
- Little Things:
Kindness is always an appreciated trait in any person. Make your children understand the importance of being kind and not straying from the right through this poem by Julia Fletcher Carney.
- Whole Duty Of Children:
Alexander Pope has written many great classical poems during his time. This short poem by him is no different. Teaching children about manners, he reiterates that we should always speak the truth.
- The Boy Who Never Told A Lie:
Though the poet of the rhyme is unknown, it has become famous over the years for its message. The poem encourages its readers to always strive for the supreme virtue of honesty.
Horace, the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus, once said,
The poet’s aim is either to profit or to please, or to blend in one the delightful and the useful.
Most rhymes out there for children fulfil both the purposes that Horace specified ages ago. Rhymes and songs not only help your child develop their language skills, but also keeps them entertained. Hence, make reading out rhymes a part of your daily practice and spend some lovely time with your little one.
What are some of the rhymes you read as a child? Do let us know along with your feedback in the comments section.