Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nursery Rhymes, Lullabies are Joyful and Brain Building for Children and Parents

Sharing nursery rhymes with young  children is a joyful bonding experience and it also helps children with language and later reading skills.

Three Little Kittens Needle Felted Finger Puppets
Three Little Kittens
When my son was small, we read a thick nursery rhyme book, every night at bedtime. We still have the book, which is in tatters along the edges. All those wonderful memories I just can’t part with. As he got older, that bonding experience matured into fairy tales, then C.S. Lewis’ tales of Narnia, and we spent years on a journey alongside Harry Potter.

One of our favorites: Come Out to Play
Girls and boys, come out to play, 
The moon doth shine as bright as day; 
Leave your supper, and leave your sleep, 
And come with your playfellows into the street.

I remember taking him out on the back porch on a warm night and reciting I See the Moon—
I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me.

I enjoyed the way the rhymes fell off my tongue. While my son and I were relishing warm and fuzzy moments, we were preparing him for later success in reading. Sharing nursery rhymes is a strong predictor of future reading success.

“Nursery rhymes and other repetitive language help children learn to think their way through a word sound by sound in the order in which they hear it,” says Dr. Schickedanz. This ability, known as phonemic segmentation, is best predictor of future reading success, she said in an issue of Parents magazine.

Weave nursery rhymes into the fabric of your young child's life. Reading or reciting nursery rhymes is a comfortable bedtime routine. I would always end the bedtime reading with nursery rhymes or lullabies that encourage sleep—Rock a Bye Baby, Wee Willie Winkie, and Diddle, Diddle Dumpling My Son John (that really is my son’s name as well.)

Nursery rhymes aren’t only for bedtime. You can also reenact the nursery rhymes during the day; I especially recall cantering around the kitchen to This is the Way the Ladies Ride.

Needle Felted Mouse for Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory, Dickory Dock
Another fun way to share nursery rhymes is with finger puppets. The small soft, wool finger puppets are a nice way to share cozy moments. My son and I also spent many hours creating stories with finger puppets and bendy dolls. Creative storytelling is another fantastic brain-building activity. But that subject is for another blog.

Please check out my finger puppets in my Etsy store. I am also available to make custom orders.

Needle Felted Peter Cottontail Finger Puppet
Here Comes Peter Cottontail

LIttle Dog Finger Puppet
There Was a Little Dog
White wool bunny finger puppet
White Bunny Rabbit

Prince and Princess Finger Puppets