Most parents know the value of reading to children. But did you also know that nursery rhymes and fingerplays are equally important? They increase vocabulary, introduce rhyming and rhythm, develop motor skills and coordination, and introduce phonetic awareness (the different sounds that make up a word.) And besides all that, they’re fun. I’ve listed a few nursery rhyme and fingerplay books to get you started. As always, ask your librarian for more recommendations.
My Very First Mother Goose edited by Iona Opie: A collection of more than sixty nursery rhymes including “Hey Diddle, Diddle,” “Pat-a-Cake,” “Little Jack Horner,” and “Pussycat, Pussycat.”
Mother Goose’s Storytime Nursery Rhymes by Axel Scheffler: An illustrated collection of more than one hundred nursery rhymes, interspersed with vignettes about Mother Goose and her three young goslings, Boo, Lucy, and Small.
This Little Piggy: lap songs, finger plays, clapping games and pantomine rhymes edited by Jane Yolen: A collection of singing games and nursery rhymes involving various parts of the body, to be used with very young children.
Do Your Ears Hang Low? Fifty more musical fingerplays by Tom Glazer: Presents words and music to 50 songs with directions for accompanying fingerplays.