Most children like their parents to sing songs and rhymes to them. Unlike songs, nursery rhymes have no melody: they recite more than they sing. Songs and nursery rhymes often entertain toddlers and promote, among other things, the development of their language and their awakening to reading and writing.
Benefits of songs and rhymes on language
Words that rhyme and repeat in songs and rhymes attract the attention of children and allow them to become familiar with the sounds of their language. It also allows them to learn new words.
Discover the sounds of the language
Am, stram, gram
Pic and pic and colégram
Bour and bour and ratatam
Am, stram, gram
In songs and nursery rhymes, intonation is often exaggerated in comparison with everyday language. There are also sometimes sounds that the baby may want to imitate (eg "aaa, the little guy to dad"). Thus, songs and nursery rhymes pique the curiosity of the little ones and can make them want to talk.
Later, listening to songs and rhymes helps the child to become aware of the sounds and syllables of the language. Typing your feet or hands with each syllable of certain words in a rhyme also helps a child to become aware of the syllables and sounds that make up the words (eg, clapping your hands three times when you say "co-lé" -gram "in the song Am, stram, gram ).
Prepare for reading and writing
In the distant forest
We hear the cuckoo
From the top of his big oak
He meets the owl
Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo
By helping a toddler age 3 or older to become aware of the sounds, the songs and nursery rhymes also prepare him for reading and writing. For example, the child may come to recognize the sound of the letter "c" in "cuckoo" or to hear that "cuckoo" and "owl" end up "or", and therefore these two words rhyme. These skills help the child to associate sounds with letters when it comes to reading and writing.
In addition, listening to songs and rhymes promotes the development of auditory memory . This skill is also useful for learning to read and write.
Songs and nursery rhymes: other benefits
Meunier, you sleep
Your mill, your mill goes too fast
Meunier, you sleep
Your mill, your mill goes too strong
Your mill, your mill
Go too fast
Your mill, your mill
Go too strong
In addition to helping a child develop their language, learning a song or rhyme stimulates their attention and concentration.This learning is also a good memory exercise in itself. When accompanied by gestures, songs and rhymes also contribute to the motor development and fine motor skills of the toddler.
Songs and nursery rhymes can also stimulate your curiosityand help you gain knowledge. Indeed, he can, for example, ask questions to know more about a trade, a country or an animal named in a song.
Of course, the lullabies, those songs that are sung to a child before he falls asleep, are also a source of comfort . A baby would calm down more easily when his parents sing him a lullaby than when they talk to him. According to one study, listening to a gentle song for only 10 minutes can reduce the heart rate of toddlers and even decrease their pain.
Songs and nursery rhymes by age
From birth, you can sing songs and nursery rhymes to your child. By listening to you, he will want, later, to imitate you.
0 to 12 months
It is towards 2 years that a toddler is able to learn a little song or a nursery rhyme.
Take advantage of all occasions (eg diaper changes , drinking, bathing ) to introduce simple and short songs or rhymes (eg Am, stram, gram , or I hold you by the goatee ). Your baby will be particularly interested in songs that are accompanied by gestures (eg, puppetry ) and games that require contact between you and him (eg Forked Chin , The Bibitte who goes up ). Little by little, your child will learn to predict what will happen at the end of the song.
1 to 3 years
Opt for gesture-like songs that allow your child to know the names of body parts (eg, I have two eyes or head, shoulders, knees, toes, or do you know how to plant cabbages? ). Invite your child to do the same things as you. The songs about animals will also entertain your little (eg. In the farm at Mathurin or Y'avait crocodiles or There's a rat ).
3 to 5 years
Why sing with children?
Your child is talking more and more and the songs and rhymes that play with the words interest him more (eg: Pippin apple , Ani couni chaouani , Three little cats , etc.). This allows him to have fun with the language and become aware of the sounds that compose it. Have fun inventing songs on familiar tunes (eg: In the moonlight ). In turn, create a sentence that rhymes with the previous one.
Activities to do with songs and nursery rhymes
Try the following activities with your child over 3 years of age using the traditional songs and nursery rhymes below.
- Point out to your child that there are words that rhyme and ask him to find other words that have the same rhyme .
- Draw your child's attention to words that start with a certain sound and ask him to think of other words that start with that sound.
- Mark each syllable of nursery rhymes with a beat reminiscent of a drum; use for that a pencil and a cauldron, for example.
- If your child is very familiar with the lyrics of a song or nursery rhyme, recite some tips and let him complete it. For example, let him say the words that rhyme at the end of the verse, like "cuckoo" and "owl".
- Listening to a song or nursery rhyme allows the child to become interested in the sounds of the language and, later, to become aware of it.
- It is by listening to you sing a song or recite a nursery rhyme that your little one will want to imitate you.
- The little ones like songs and rhymes with gestures. The greatest win to hear those who play with the sounds.
References and Resources
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For the parents
- BERGERON-GAUDIN, Marie-Eve. I learn to speak: language development from 0 to 5 years old. Montreal, Editions of CHU Sainte-Justine, 2014, 184 p.
- BOLDUC, Jonathan and Pascal LEFEBVRE. "Using Nursery Rhymes to Foster Phonological and Musical Processing Skills in Kindergarteners," Creative Education , Vol. 3, n o 4, 2012, p. 495-502.
- GERMAIN, Dominique. Singing is educational! Montreal, CEC Publishing, 2014, 119 p.
- TO SMALL HANDS.NET. The most beautiful nursery rhymes. www.auxpetitesmains.net
- BOLDUC, Jonathan and Pascal LEFEBVRE. Nursery rhymes to learn. Quebec, The Passe-Temps Publishing, 2017, 48 p.
- COIN OF SMALL. "Nursery rhymes". www.coindespetits.com
- NURSERY RHYME-CHILDREN. www.comptine-enfants.com
- COURTIN, Thierry. Tchoupi sings the first nursery rhymes. Paris, Nathan Publishing, 2014, 14 p.
- DELHOSTE, Marie. My best rhymes to laugh. Paris, Éditions Thomas Youth, 2015, 16 p.
- MAJOR, Henriette. Funny songs, crazy songs. Montreal, Fides Publishing, 2002, 128 p.
- MAJOR, Henriette. Songs and rounds to have fun. Montreal, Fides Publishing, 2002, 125 p.
- MAJOR, Henriette. 100 nursery rhymes. Montreal, Fides Publishing, 1999, 127 p.