Songs and rhymes for toddlers!

Singing songs and saying rhymes with toddlers is a great way of helping young children learn. They are fun and interactive. Most toddler groups have a song time using well known favourites. Repetition is good! Here’s a handy list of song and rhyme ideas that are great for toddlers.

  • Head, shoulders, knees and toes
  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star
  • Old MacDonald
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom we’re going to the moon
  • I’m a little teapot
  • Miss Polly had a dolly
  • Open shut them, open shut them make your hands go clap
  • The grand old Duke of York
  • Tommy thumb
  • Wind the bobbin up
  • Row, row, row your boat
  • Jelly on a plate
  • Horsey, horsey don’t you stop
  • 1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • I hear thunder
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • Incy wincy spider
  • Here we go round the mulberry bush
  • 5 little ducks
  • 5 little speckles frogs
  • Rock a bye baby
  • Round and round the garden
  • The Wheels on the bus
  • Two little dickie birds
  • 5 little peas in a pea pod pressed

Singing with toddlers often means having actions to fit the words. There can be marching, wobbling jelly, pointing to the parts of the body, pretending to be stars or spiders, counting on fingers, hiding hands behind your back, clapping, stamping – so many!

Some songs are great for adults to sing with their child sat on their knee – Round and Round the Garden, Rock a Bye Baby, Horsey, Horsey don’t you stop, Row, Row, Row your Boat and Zoom, Zoom, Zoom we’re going to the Moon.

Songs and rhymes encourage language development – there’s lots of vocabulary used in a fun and easy to remember way.

You don’t need to worry too much about being the best singer – you don’t need to be able to play the guitar (and although you might want to I think doing the actions to the songs is maybe better as children can copy you and join in).

Mix up songs that are lively and those that are quiet.

Sing a song once at normal speed and then repeat going faster. This works well for, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and The Grand old Duke of York.

Include said rhymes. Mix them in among the songs.

If you have a Story Time include a song that fits your story if you can.

Repeat favourites.

Use props from time to time – an Old MacDonald puppet with toy animals, a Humpty Dumpty! Use items that suit your style and group.

A humpty dumpty knitted toy for encouraging singing with toddlers
Humpty Dumpty

Sign up to the World Nursery Rhyme Week for ideas and free colouring sheets and activity ideas. Everyone’s welcome – parents, grandparents, carers, toddler groups, kindergartens, nurseries, preschool settings.. and it’s a great way to learn more about the importance and value of singing with toddlers!

Here’s a song to make – all about animals and birds and the sounds they make – to a well known tune.

Care for the Family produce a resource for parents called Smalltalk. Every issue of Smalltalk covers a different topic from Potty Training to Creating a Family Budget. Here’s a link to the issue about Singing with Children that you could make available at your Toddler Group. Here’s a link to the list of all the Smalltalk issues – they are so good!

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