Nursery songs and rhymes are a form of poetry for children whose history dates back hundreds of years.
They're great fun to share with young children but did you know they also play an important part in building the foundations for learning to read?
I didn't know this when my children were small. I just enjoyed singing them the old-fashioned nursery songs and rhymes I remember my mother singing to my sisters and I.
But first I had to go looking for the words to all those half-remembered nursery rhymes and nursery songs.
You see, when my twin sons were born in 1995, it didn't take me long to realise that I could only remember the words to a few nursery rhymes. There was Baa Baa Black Sheep, Three Blind Mice and that was about it!
The internet was in its infancy then and we certainly didn't have a computer at home so I took the boys off to the library. We came back with a stack of books of nursery rhymes and songs and I had great fun singing them to my babies and later teaching them and their sister the words.
It wasn't until many years later that I found out that sharing nursery songs and rhymes with little ones is actually really, really important.
Singing and reciting nursery songs and rhymes with your little one helps them develop three very important pre-reading skills:
In days gone by, people read, sang and recited nursery songs to keep children entertained, simply because there weren't many other options.
These days with so many other forms of entertainment, teachers are finding that some children start school without knowing any nursery songs or rhymes at all.
Not only is it a terrible shame for kids to miss out on these, it also puts them well behind the eight-ball when it comes to learning at pre-school and at school.
To begin with, you may want to have a look at my list of classic nursery rhymes for children. Click on the links on this list to read the words to each nursery rhyme and a bit about the origins of each one. Some also have music clips so you can listen to the tune!
The words to other nursery rhymes are listed on my page of short rhyming poems for children.
If you're a new parent and you're in the same boat I was, I hope you'll find these pages useful as you introduce your baby to these traditional nursery songs and rhymes.