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Nursery Rhymes for Modern Times

Does your little one have a favorite nursery rhyme? A bedtime song? Did you? Nursery rhymes are so much more than traditional stories. They help connect generations through nostalgia and family tradition. They are critical to building early literacy skills. No wonder nursery rhymes frequently appear in our Best Books for Babies lists.

Children develop literacy skills at birth, and for years before they learn to read. Nursery rhymes utilize many of these skills. Let’s look at one of my favorite rhymes, “Here Is the Beehive,” to see how much oomph is packed in one little verse.

Here is the beehive.
But where are all the bees?
Hiding away where nobody sees.
Here they come flying out of their hive.
One, two, three, four, five!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Literacy:

  • “Hive” and “five.” “Bees” and “sees.” Rhymes help children pick out smaller sounds that make up language.


  • Repetition in nursery rhymes helps build pronunciation and articulation. There are several phonemes repeated in this poem: “b,” “h,” “w,” “fl.”


  • Kids learn a bee’s house is called a “hive.” Also, try replacing the word “flying” with more complex verbs: “zipping,” “buzzing,” “swarming.”

Fine motor skills:

  • Acting out the bees emerging from their hive engages the same muscles that are needed for writing.

Critical thinking:

  • Ask your little one: “Where are those bees hiding? How do you know?”

Math practice:

  • You just counted one, two, three, four, five bees!


  • The “story” begins with a hive, then the bees fly out, last we found those bees!

Imagination and creative play:

  • Pretending our hands are the hives and our fingers are the bees helps children visualize the setting, action and characters.

Social skills:

  • We can teach this rhyme to friends and act it out together!

Nursery rhymes are fun, easy and impactful. By sharing them, you are helping your child in many ways. You are your child’s first and best teacher, through these and countless other “simple” activities. Give yourself a “hive-five!”

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