Human beings have been singing their children songs and rhymes long before written language developed. Most parents and early years workers already know that using rhymes and songs are important for developing children’s speaking and listening skills. This is why they feature so heavily in the Early Years Statutory Framework which nurseries, childminders, Children’s Centres and other providers use.
The problem I found, especially once I had more than one child to look after, was in finding the time, and reminding myself regularly to do them! So, here are some ideas for how to keep up with using rhymes and songs and how to build them into life, so that they become a natural, regular and fun activity.
Many of the rhymes we use: Insey wincey spider, Here we go round the mulberry bush, Five little ducks… revolve around nature. Linking a rhyme with some time spent outside can be a great way of keeping a child’s interest and enriching the experience.
When there is time, making a simple model from recycling boxes is a lovely rainy-day activity.
Some songs or rhymes fit well with a specific activity: washing up, having a bath, bedtime, cooking… This is a great way of getting into a routine of doing a song, so it happens every day without even thinking about it.
Many children love the power of choosing and initiating songs for themselves. Having a range of home-made cards to choose from, or a bag of objects or pictures, can be a great way of giving the child the chance to determine what rhymes or songs you do together. It also helps to prevent doing the same ones over and over again; unless they choose The Wheels on the Bus twenty times in a row, of course!
How do you use rhymes and songs with your child, or the children you work with?