Articles, Tips

Rhymes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers

May 30, 2018

Sharing nursery rhymes and songs as you go about your day has benefits for your child that last a lifetime. Right from day one, young children love the sound of your voice, music, singing and rhymes and it’s a special activity you can share any place, any time.

Breaking into song in the car, at bathtime or as you transition from one part of your day to the next will help your child build the foundations of language – something they’ll carry with them their whole life.

Here’s a few rhyme and song ideas to suit the age and developmental stage of your child.


Through songs and traditional rhymes, babies start to make sounds that soon become their first words. Singing also helps them learn how language works.  You can sing rhymes in any language you speak in the home.

Try these rhymes and songs – perfect for babies aged 0-1.

  • Open Shut Them
  • Round and Round the Garden
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • This little piggy
  • Slippery crocodile


Toddlers are learning huge amounts every day and it’s during this time, children often experience a ‘burst’ in language development. Singing is a fun way to connect, help toddlers understand the world and expand their vocabularies. Toddlers will start to join in so make sure you add the actions to enhance the learning experience. The following rhymes are good ones for toddlers:

  • Five little ducks
  • Wheels on the bus
  • Old McDonald
  • Incy Wincy Spider
  • Pat a Cake
  • Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  • Row, Row Your Boat


By this age your child may have developed favourites and this is great. Sharing favourite songs and rhymes over and over is something young children love – as they enjoy knowing what comes next. The benefits of sharing rhymes regularly range from building vocabulary and self confidence to developing important skills like listening and concentration. Try these rhymes which are perfect for this age group:

  • Five in the bed
  • The hokey pokey
  • This old man
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • Hickory Dickory Dock
  • Down by the station
  • Dingle Dangle Scarecrow

It’s also great to make up your own songs or change the words to your favourite tunes to suit what you’re doing. Head to a free library session for more ideas.