These 10 nursery rhymes for toddlers and kids include just some of the best most educational nursery rhymes, but I’ve chosen these ones specifically because I’ve found them to be the most useful over the years of teaching music to small children.
Music is a language, and since all children are born being unable to talk, it is an invaluable tool in building language skills and communication. Nursery rhymes are the poetry of childhood and through repetition and chanting, they are the perfect introduction to rhythm, pitch, and rhyme within the English language.
People have often asked me which are the best nursery rhymes for toddlers – and I find it very difficult to pick only ten songs when there are so many hundreds to choose from! Everyone has their own ideas on the subject, but these are the ones that never fail for me.
These songs all have fantastic educational benefits, they are loads of fun and kids never ever tire of them!
When songs are this popular you’ll find them easy to sing frequently. Try to incorporate them into your every day activities. Although it’s great to have a special time for music too, you’ll find that favourite songs and rhymes can make even the dullest chores seem fun, and then the jobs are done in no time at all!
The list below will take you to a separate post for each song, with all the individual words, music, chime bar clip, actions along with the educational benefits.
Best Nursery Rhymes For Toddlers
Everyone loves a Humpty Dumpty, and although the words don’t seem to make much sense at all, they all love dashing to pick him and ‘help’ to put him back together again.
Row Row Row The Boat is one of the first songs that toddlers play rowing too and fro with a partner, so it builds social skills and confidence too.
Kids never seem to tire of singing Ring A Ring A Roses and dancing around, holding hands in a circle and then all falling down together at the end!
This is usually one of the first songs toddlers learn to sing. The simple repetitive melody has a small range and is easy to remember, and they’ll often hum and sing the melody mimicking the words well before they can talk. It’s always a firm favourite at bedtime when you can sing it while looking at the real stars!
The Wheels On The Bus is great for getting everyone to join in with the actions. You can keep it simple and have a regular bus full of the usual sort of passengers, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can mix it up and have a special bus full of animals from the jungle!
Whether you call him Incy-Wincy or Itsy-Bitsy kids just love him! Toddlers will imitate the actions of the creepy crawly spider legs climbing up the spout well before they can talk. And once they are old enough to sing along, this is always a big favourite!
Kids always love making animal noises, so Old MacDonald is the perfect choice for everyone to try out their best animal impersonations. And of course all that repetition is fantastic for speech development too!
All toddlers love to bounce! So 5 Little Monkeys always goes down well and of course it’s good for counting too. You just need to make sure you don’t sing it at bed time, or you’ll never get them to settle down!
This is another favourite bouncing song, but this time it’s sung sitting on an adult’s knee as if riding a pony. It’s a great way to introduce the contrasting tempos of the three different ponies. First, the dainty trot of the ladies horse, then the smart sprightly trot of the gentleman and then the fast, bouncy gallop of the Farmer, who falls down into a ditch – which is of course the highlight!
Five Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day is great for practicing numbers and introducing the concept of subtraction, counting down from 5 -1 as each little duck swims away. It’s also really cute to get the little ones to pretend to be ducklings waddling along wiggling their tail.