Cap O'Rushes

A Folkloric and Literature Resource

for Teachers and Librarians

Nursery Rhymes


Nursery rhymes are likely to be the first poetry that a child meets. Babies delight in the rhythm and play of "Patty Cake" and "This Little Piggy". For the Kindergartner or Preschool child the opportunity to memorize a rhyme gives a preliterate child command of a text. I would tell my Kindergartners that if you have the rhyme in your head, you own it, an idea that clearly delighted them.

Select a body of rhymes to present to your children throughout the year. For a basic list you might consult A First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What our Children Need to Know by E.D. Hirsch Jr. Houghton Mifflin 1989. Choose those that appeal to you. You will certainly find rhymes in complete collections which are not "politically correct" such as "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief.." or "Pissabed pissabed barley butt.." but you will also find dozens of delightful poems along with the most famous rhymes that every child should know.

The Benefits of using Nursery Rhymes with children are many:

Respect the rhymes and have fun!

 One Misty Moisty Morning  Sing a Song of Sixpence  Little Boy Blue
 The North Wind Doth Blow  Dr. Fell  The Three Little Kittens
 The Crooked Man  Hickory Dickory Dock  Jack Be Nimble


If you have questions or comments about any of the material offered here, please email Carole at carole at slattery dot com.