Nursery Rhyme Lesson Plans for Kindergarten plus a free file!
Teaching nursery rhymes is a great way to start your kindergarten year! For some little learners, this might be their first introduction to nursery rhymes.
*affiliate links are included in this post, but the opinions are my own.
Why Include Nursery Rhymes In Your Literacy Lessons
It helps students develop an ear for language. It helps build younger students’ oral language as well as other literacy skills such as phonological awareness … plus they are so much fun!
Poetry is the first genre that most children hear. Poetry isn’t just whimsical but contributes to increasing reading abilities. Lower primary teachers use nursery rhymes to develop phonemic awareness and one-to-one correspondence, and poetry helps children of all ages develop vocabulary. Reading poetry aloud over and over creates fluency with expression. Manning, M. (2003). A poetic awakening. Teaching PreK-8, 33(5), 85-87.
Books for Your Nursery Rhyme Unit of Study
I have rounded a few poetry books for you. You may find a few new nursery rhymes to add to your classroom library.
This first one is Moo, Moo, Brown Cow by Phillis Gershator. This nursery rhyme book appears to be out of print, but you can still get some great deals on used books.
It follows the cadence of Baa Baa Black Sheep, but the boy visits various animals on the farm. He asks them for things such as down. (Great opportunity to learn some new vocabulary!)
Then the following page shows how he used those items.
This book is laugh-out-loud funny! Once upon a time, the End by Geoffrey Kloske is a bedtime story.
That never seems to end. The boy wants his father to read ONE. MORE. STORY!
So the father shortens the stories in hilarious ways. There are familiar stories and nursery rhymes in this book. The Old Lady’s Shoe is everything! Ha!
And the DISH Ran Away with the SPOON, by Janet Stevens is a gem! We love a little Hey Diddle Diddle fun! This is a play on the classic nursery rhyme versions.
After the dish and spoon take off, the cat, little dog, and cow get worried and try to find them.
Throughout the book, they encounter other nursery rhyme characters, such as the spider from Little Miss Muffet.
Additional Nursery Rhymes Books You Won’t Want to Miss!
These illustrations are beautiful! You will find a lot of classic nursery rhymes like:
- Old Mother Hubbard
- Mary Had a Little Lamb
- Rock-a-Bye Baby
In fact, it has over seventy-five classic Mother Goose rhymes!
To say that I love this book would be an understatement. We actually included it in one of our Reading Comprehension units.
Here are the publisher’s notes on this book.
Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?
Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most.
Will he summon the courage to face his fear?
This book is a collection of traditional Spanish poems that are presented in Spanish and in English. Here is what the publisher had to say.
This groundbreaking bilingual collection of traditional rhymes celebrates childhood and Latin American heritage—a perfect book for those learning Spanish and fluent speakers alike.
Nursery Rhymes for Shared Reading
Using popular nursery rhymes are a great activity for shared reading. Students can read or sing along! We love Humpty Dumpty!
In this poem, young children were looking for the letter “Hh”. Then we just used a cut-up transparent poly-plastic folder to highlight those letters (way easier to manage than highlighting tape.) On another day, you might look for sight words (or words that you know). You could also look for rhyming words, capital letters, spaces between the words, or punctuation. Think about all of those fantastic concepts about print you can work into this FUN activity.
While your student helper is placing the highlighting card in the pocket chart, you will want your other students doing the same in their poetry notebooks. Note the QR code on the notebook. This version of the poetry notebook is from my Nursery Rhymes Poetry Music and Video File. Then students can listen to the video and sing along at home or in a choice center.
Using Nursery Rhymes for Centers in Kindergarten
We also have students work on a letter sort (students also have a print copy to follow along.)
Students also have an emergent reader to go with the nursery rhyme. Each poem has a mini book students can add to their reading bag.
Nursery Rhyme Sing-A-Long
Each poem is set to a tune that you can sing along with. Brain research is clear that students respond positively to music when learning!
Therefore each poem has recorded music and videos as well if you want that option.
You can play the songs on your computer or interactive white board.
One thing I liked to do was make a song book for my class. Students can scan the QR code and sing along with the video during the library center or listening center.
Students can browse for the poem they want to listen to.
Then, using a device, they can scan the code and listen to the song…SIMPLE. You may be thinking… WAIT! I don’t have devices in my room! You can try this… send home a note to parents to see if they have any old smartphones. They don’t need a SIM card, they just need to be able to connect to the internet and have a QR reader app installed on it
You can find the music and videos for these nursery rhymes by clicking:
(These are the files that have the QR codes on them.)
Additional Nursery Rhyme Activities for Kindergarten – Handwriting Practice
One of the very first things I made for my classroom were these Read, Trace, Glue, and Draw files.
We usually included them in our daily morning work practice.
Nursery Rhymes Literacy and Math Centers
I also have some nursery rhyme themed math and literacy center activities.
In this syllable game, students listened for the number of syllables and moved their game piece accordingly.
Students listen for the word that rhyme in this literacy center.
Then they complete the response page. If you laminate the response page, you can use a dry erase marker to save paper. You can also slide the paper into a dry erase sleeve.
Students match the upper and lowercase letters in these puzzles. I usually put 10 letters out at a time at the beginning of the year. Students then write the letters on their response sheet.
AH… dough! Students form upper and lowercase letters with dough. This is a great fine motor activity.
This is a roll and trace game. Students can roll and trace by the letter they roll… or the beginning sounds.
Students sort items by shape.
Students count and then form the number with dough. Students also complete the ten frame.
Students match the numbers with the subitizing dice.
You can find these units by clicking: Nursery Rhyme Literacy and Math Stations for Back to School
I sure hope I gave you a few ideas for teaching nursery rhymes in kindergarten!
You can read more about my poetry units in these blog post below:
I recently update these nursery rhyme posters and made few for you as a free file. You can download your own copy by entering your name in the box below.