18 Famous Nursery Rhymes for Children To Learn and Recite

These rhymes made our childhood awesome!

Vidhi Verma

Vidhi Verma

Dec 2|7 min read

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Music is the language of the heart. The toddlers learn to understand and communicate through the language of music before they can grow up and comprehend the language as a whole. For this main reason, we have nursery rhymes at all nursery schools being taught before anything else. 

However, we also use these children rhymes to teach alphabets to the kids as they become old enough to start talking. The best thing about these songs for children is that it stimulates the brain and makes the babies smarter. 

The kids tend to improve a lot faster in reading and writing as they grow up comparing to the kids who don’t sing these children rhymes. The tunes in these nursery rhymes are such that people tend to remember them all their lives. It’s fun, educational, and memorable with a force of legacy that has passed on these children rhymes for centuries! 

Getting your kid to sing these nursery rhymes with you can be a great fun activity while making learning easier and entertaining. Another benefit of nursery rhymes that cannot be ignored is the immense bond it develops between the parent and the baby. 

If seen as a learning experience more than a small task, it serves its true purpose. These songs for children help them imagine and connect to the words helping them develop their imagination skills. Here are some famous Nursery rhymes for children:

1. Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty is a very famous nursery rhyme passed on from one generation to another. 

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

couldn’t put Humpty together again.” (x3)

We usually don’t know about these songs for children actually have a meaning and story behind them. Humpty Dumpty is one such children rhyme, it dates back to the time of the Civil War in England. 

Humpty Dumpty was the name of a huge cannon that was placed high up on the walled Royalist city of Colchester which was under siege from the Parliament’s army in 1648. It took 11 weeks of the fire, but the gun finally came tumbling down, and all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn’t put Humpty together again! It then took the imagination of Lewis Carroll to turn the cannon into an egg.

2. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 

You might very clearly remember constantly singing this song for children. This nursery rhyme has filled the hearts of all of us and is a vivid memory. Some of the lines are:

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star

How I wonder what you are

Up above the world so high

Like a diamond in the sky

Twinkle, twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are”

The repetitive nature of both the words and melody makes this an easy song easy for toddlers to learn and they will often hum along with the tune long before they can manage the words. They love miming out the simple actions and for a toddler whose words are not quite ready, this is both a satisfying and reassuring means of communication. 

3. Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Believe me, this song will turn out to be your toddler’s favourite once you start teaching them this children's rhyme. It involves hand movement actions along with music that helps children gain their confidence while singing these nursery rhymes. 

“Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the stream

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat

Gently up the creek If you see a little mouse

Don’t forget to squeak!”

These short, simple action songs for children should be sung as often as possible as an enjoyable way to practice simple rhythmic movement. They are also great for learning to pitch notes as well as developing speech all at once – while having fun at the same time of course!

4. Wheels On The Bus

There’s a reason why The Wheels on the Bus is on every playgroup’s favourite list; the lively actions never fail to get everyone joining in! Little toddlers love children's rhymes like this which they can grasp simply and use repetitive actions well before they can join in with the words. The classic lines etched in our minds remains:

“The wheels on the bus go round and round,

round and round, round and round.

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

A-ll  da-y  lo-ng!”

5. Old Mac Donald Had A Farm

What’s great about “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” as a nursery rhyme is that you can take it anywhere. Each verse gets a new animal and a new animal sound, which can be really fun for children--and sneakily educational. It is one of those songs for children that we are brought up with. The lines we remember by heart.

“Old Mac Donald had a farm

E-I-E-I-O

And on his farm, he had a cow

E-I-E-I-O

With a moo-moo here

And a moo moo there

Here a moo, there a moo

Everywhere a moo moo

Old Mac Donald had a farm

E-I-E-I-O”

The beauty of this song is that it provides an excellent opportunity to learn and practice all the animal names and their sounds. It is very versatile and can be sung with pictures or toy animals, and is great when sung with a selection of glove puppets that the children can interact with.

6. One, Two, Three, Four, Five

A way to teach numbers and words that your toddlers will absolutely love? Well, this is the perfect nursery rhyme you’ll ever find!

“One, two, three, four, five,

Once I caught a fish alive,

Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,

Then I let it go again.

Why did you let it go?

Because it bit my finger so.

Which finger did it bite?

This little finger on the right.”

7. Incy, Wincy Spider

“Incy Wincy spider climbed  up the water spout

Down came the rain and washed the spider out

Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain

And Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again (x2)”

8. Hey, Diddle Diddle

“Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon,

The little dog laughed to see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.”

9. Grand Old Duke Of York

While it doesn’t sound like the Duke of York was the most productive of Dukes, we love the melody of this classic nursery rhyme. Plus, it encourages movement: The kids can stand when the soldiers go up and sit when the soldiers go down.

“Oh, the grand old Duke of York,

He had ten thousand men,

He marched them up to the top of

Everyone stands up

The hill and he marched

Them down again. Everyone sits down

And when they were up they were up.”

10. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

“Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

We’re going to the moon.

If you want to take a trip,

Climb aboard my rocket ship.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

We’re going to the moon.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1”

11. Jonny Jonny Yes Papa

The favourite nursery rhyme of all times:

“Johny Johny,

Yes, Papa,

Eating Sugar?

No Papa

Are you sure

Yes Papa

Open your mouth

Ha, ha, ha”

12. Baa Baa Blacksheep

It’s perfect for a baby because nearly everything in it is easy to pronounce. And what little guy can resist the idea of snuggling up to a big, fluffy lamb? Baa Baa Blackship is one of the most iconic nursery rhymes ever. It is etched in the minds of all and will probably continue this tradition till for the generations to come.

“Baa, baa, black sheep, 

Have you any wool? 

Yes, sir, yes, sir, Three bags full; 

One for the master, 

And one for the dame, 

And one for the little boy Who lives down the lane.”

13. Jack & Jill

When it comes to famous nursery rhymes, who can resist the tale of the mischievous siblings who made it to the top of the hill, only to roll all the way back down? This song for children happens to ignite the adventure in all of us.

“Jack and Jill went up the hill, 

To fetch a pail of water. 

Jack fell down and broke his crown, 

And Jill came tumbling after.”

14. I’m A Little Teapot

“I’m a little teapot

Short and stout

Here is my handle

Here is my spout.

When I get all steamed up

Hear me shout

“Tip me over

and pour me out!”

15. Hickory Dickory Dock

“Hickory Dickory Dock

The mouse ran up the clock

The clock struck one

The mouse ran down

Hickory Dickory Dock”

16. If You’re Happy And You Know It 

“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”

17. 5 Little Ducks 

A small para from this incredible nursery rhyme that is absolutely adored by kids. 

“Five little ducks

Went out one day

Over the hill and far away

Mother duck said

“Quack, quack, quack, quack.”

But only four little ducks came back.”

18. Mary Had A Little Lamb 

“Mary had a little lamb,

Little lamb, little lamb.

Mary had a little lamb,

Its fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went,

Mary went, Mary went.

Everywhere that Mary went,

The lamb was sure to go.”

The above-mentioned nursery rhymes are a few of the popular children rhymes that have been exciting kids for generations. You can sing some of these songs for children to your little ones and spend quality time with them, in the process! 

There are so many great children rhymes that have been passed on for generations that it is very difficult to name just 18. These songs for children all have fantastic educational benefits, they are loads of fun and kids never tire of them. 

Although it’s great to have a special time for music too, you’ll find that favourite songs and children rhymes can make even the dullest chores seem fun, and then the jobs are done in no time at all!

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Vidhi Verma

There is a surprise hidden for us in every corner of our little worlds, it awaits us, to believe in it, to search for it, to help us look for the meaning and answers that we fail to find everywhere else.

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