Operation Playtime: Nursery Rhymes

21 Jan

There is a 12 day carnival going on over at Play-Activities.com called Operation Playtime. It’s the author’s effort to promote activities “that are open ended, developmentally appropriate, spontaneous, creative, not necessarily craft based, doing it for the sake of it and not for a specific product, using exploratory play, encouraging no-battery play, and finding and using interesting items we have at home.

We’re encouraged to find a balance between plugged play and unplugged play, independent time and together time. Each day an activity will be posted, and families are encouraged to try that activity on that day and then blog about it. Today was NURSERY RHYMES.

We love rhymes and songs and I’m often singing or reciting with the kids.  In honor of today’s activity, we took out our favorite books of nursery rhymes to read together.


At first, JediBoy (6 1/2) complained that Nursery Rhymes are for babies. But I read him several that tickled his fancy, including:

If all the seas were one sea,
What a great sea that would be!
And if all the trees were one tree,
What a great tree that would be!
And if all the axes were one axe,
What a great axe that would be!
And if all the men were one man,
What a great man he would be!
And if the great man took the great axe,
And cut down the great tree,
And let it fall into the great sea,
What a splish splash that would be!

He also had fun with “As I was Going to St. Ives” and we figured out together the number of kits, cats, sacks and wives… but then he figured out the real answer!

JediBoy decided that his favorite nursery rhyme today is “The Lion and the Unicorn.”


The lion and the unicorn
were fighting for the crown;
The lion beat the unicorn
all about the town.
Some gave them white bread,
and some gave them brown.
Some gave them plum cake,
and drummed them out of town.

The picture above is his favorite illustration of this rhyme, from our family favorite book of nursery rhymes: Jack Kent’s Merry Mother Goose which, like our copy of The Real Mother Goose, was mine when I was a child. JediBoy loves the wild illustrations, and I love reading to the kids from books I remember hearing my parents read from.

BabyGirl, at 2, is happily in the prime nursery rhyme age. She loves them all, as long as they have a nice rhythm and I bounce her on my lap as we read. We have a lovely collection by Richard Scarry, too, that is shelved in the playroom and so didn’t make it into our afternoon’s pile in the nursery.

We did record some rhymes, as Operation Playtime suggests. JediBoy made two short videos, one of “The Lion and the Unicorn” and one of “To Market, To Market.” I tried to get BabyGirl to recite “This Little Piggy,” which she loves, but today all she would say was, “Piggy out, piggy out, piggy piggy piggy out.”

I would love to share the videos but can’t get the connection right, so here instead is a photo of the kids reading nursery rhymes together.


We had a great time reading nursery rhymes today. JediBoy in particular was interested in asking me which rhymes I remembered (without peeking) and which ones my parents had read to me. I sent out an email to a few family members, but open the question up to all of you. What nursery rhymes do you remember hearing when you were little? What nursery rhymes do your kids like the best? Do you have any special memories or family stories that involve nursery rhymes?

My mother memorized huge chunks of Mother Goose when my sister was a baby, because PisecoSis loved to hear them while riding in the car and would scream if Mom stopped… but Mom soon got tired of the few she knew, and memorized more to keep it interesting.

8 Responses to “Operation Playtime: Nursery Rhymes”

  1. tenkidsandadog January 21, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    What a great collection of Nursery Rhyme books!!!

  2. ~Leigh January 21, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    I was required to “speak a piece” every Sunday night since before I can remember clearly. I think, probably, it was before my second birthday.

    My favorite book of rhymes is the traditional, wonderful -A Child’s Garden of Verses- by Robert Louis Stevenson.

    The first verse I ever recited, according to my parents, was his Happy Thoughts.

    “The world is so full of a number of things,
    I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

    It’s funny that I’ve never forgotten those two lines, no matter how much I’ve read and forgotten of other things in the past 30+ years.

    I may start encouraging my kids to do recitation soon. Thanks for reminding me.

  3. Melitsa January 21, 2009 at 11:13 pm #

    An impressive collection of rhymes and what a turnaround for your older child. They love it really just have to warm up. I have one of those here too ;) My mum had a counting song she sang whenever our crying got too much. I caught myself doing it when BG was little when he was in the back and I was driving. Funnily enough when my mum was in the car and the same thing happened she started to sing the same song. My mum’s loves to sing.

    Enjoyed your post. Thanks for participating.

  4. piseco January 22, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    I got this email from my mom’s best friend, who was a kindergarten teacher for many years:

    “I haven’t heard of Operation Playtime but I have heard of Nursery Rhymes. My mother had records (probably 33 1/3 or 75′s) of Nursery Rhymes. I learned them all by music which she let me put on the record player by myself (and oh could I dance to that music as well). I have been told that I was quite the “star” at age 3 and 4 because I could stand in front of anyone and sing these Nursery Rhymes (no doubt while moving my little body as well). So connecting them with music worked for me and I pretty much knew them all – which of course came in handy when I was in the classroom and needed to pull something from my brain.

    As for the favorites, let me start and I’ll send you more as I recall. All of the Nursery Rhymes are good – Jack n Jill; Mary Had a Little Lamb (and of course there are books that go along with these that are excellent); Jack be Nimble, Jack be Quick; Little Boy Blue; Twinkle Twinkle; Wheels on the Bus; Eency weency spider; Hey Diddle Diddle; Here we go round the Mulberry Bush; I’m a little teapot; Georgie Porgie; There was a little girl who had a little curl; Lady with the Alligator Purse; 5 Little Monkeys sitting in the tree; 5 green and speckled frogs; 5 Little monkeys jumping on the bed; Hey Betty Martin;

    Ok, I’m dry for now… I’ll keep thinking. Can’t go wrong with the old tried and true Nursery Rhymes. “

  5. Heather January 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    I left something for you over on my blog.

  6. PisecoSis January 25, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    “My mother memorized huge chunks of Mother Goose when my sister was a baby, because PisecoSis loved to hear them while riding in the car and would scream if Mom stopped… but Mom soon got tired of the few she knew, and memorized more to keep it interesting.”


    Signed, Your Readers Should Buy My Book of Poems

    Antispam word: Home

  7. Lisa Yannucci April 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    I remember my sister doing the rhyme X Marks the Spot with me. I loved that one even though it’s not in the traditional Mother Goose Collections. Of course, nothing can beat Hey Diddle Diddle for plain crazy fun!


    Mama Lisa
    from Mama Lisa’s House of Nursery Rhymes


  1. Topics about Capones » Blog Archive » by: Topics about Capones » Blog Archive » by: Topics about Capones - April 24, 2009

    [...] the darkerside to rants added an interesting post on by: Topics about Capones » Blog Archive » by: Topics about CaponesHere’s a small excerpt[…] the darkerside to rants placed an observative post today on by: Topics about Capones » Blog Archive » by: Lisa YannucciHere’s a quick [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-Spam Image