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Short Rhyming Poems For Children

On this page you'll find a selection of gorgeous short rhyming poems for children.

Many of them are the traditional nursery rhymes you probably remember from your own childhood. Others may be new to you.

short rhyming poems, a childs garden of verse

Most of them are poems my mother read to my sisters and I when we were young and then I in turn also read them to my three children. And to my great delight, my three little ones loved them too!

You may be wondering why we should bother sharing these sorts of rhymes with our tech-savvy children today. After all, nursery songs and rhymes are a bit old-fashioned, aren't they?

I thought the same thing until I started doing some research. 

Why Does Poetry Matter?

We now know that reading to children is really important for their development but did you know that poems and nursery rhymes are especially important?

In fact, teachers, speech-language therapists and other experts now say it's vital for babies and young children to hear the kind of language used in poems and rhymes.

That's because the sometimes-unusual words and speech patterns found in poems written for children help enrich your child's vocabulary. 

The rhythm, repetition and rhyme also help develop the phonological awareness skills she'll need to learn to read easily later on. 

Sharing Short Rhyming Poems with Kids

If you'd like to start reading poems and rhymes with your child, the short rhyming poems for kids on this page are a great place to begin.

You might also like to get hold of a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's brilliant book of poems for children A Child's Garden of Verses. 

The short rhyming poems in this book are lovely to read to babies and young children and there are quite a few collections to choose from, including a board book and an audio-book. You can see some of them on the right.

If your kids are older, have some fun together reading limericks and nonsense rhymes. 

The American poet Ogden Nash wrote lots of very funny nonsense rhymes, some of which I've included here. 

I hope you and your little one enjoy these short rhyming poems! 

Short Rhyming Poems

Happy Thoughts
The world is so full
of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all
be as happy as kings. 
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson

Thirty Days Hath September
Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except February alone,
Which has but 28 days clear,
And 29 in each leap year. 

Two Little Dicky Birds
Two little dicky birds
Sat on a wall,
One called Peter,
One called Paul.
Fly away, Peter,
Fly away, Paul!
Come back, Peter,
Come back, Paul. 

Time to Rise
A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window-sill.
Cocked his shining eye and said:
"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head?" 
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson

Christopher Robin goes
Hoppity, hoppity,
Hoppity, hoppity, hop.
Whenever I tell him
Politely to stop it, he
Says he can't possibly stop.
If he stopped hopping,
He couldn't go anywhere,
Poor little Christopher
Couldn't go anywhere...
That's why he always goes
Hoppity, hoppity,

Jack Sprat
Jack Sprat would eat no fat,
His wife would eat no lean.
And so between the two of them
They licked the platter clean. 

Peas and Honey
I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on my knife. 

At the Seaside
When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup,
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more. 
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson 

Monday's Child
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for his living.
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay. 

Doctor Foster

Doctor Foster went to Glo'ster,
In a shower of rain;
He stepped in a puddle right up to his middle,
And never went there again. 

Whole Duty of Children
A child should always say what's true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table;
At least as far as he is able. 
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson 

Bed in Summer
In winter I get up at night 
And dress by yellow candle-light. 
In summer, quite the other way, 
I have to go to bed by day. 

I have to go to bed and see 
The birds still hopping on the tree, 
Or hear the grown-up people's feet 
Still going past me in the street. 

And does it not seem hard to you, 
When all the sky is clear and blue, 
And I should like so much to play, 
To have to go to bed by day? 
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson

Furry Bear
If I were a bear,
And a big bear too,
I shouldn’t much care
If it froze or snew;
I shouldn’t much mind
If it snowed or friz—
I’d be all fur-lined
With a coat like his!

For I’d have fur boots and a brown fur wrap,
And brown fur knickers and a big fur cap.
I’d have a fur muffle-ruff to cover my jaws,
And brown fur mittens on my big brown paws.
With a big brown furry-down up to my head,
I’d sleep all the winter in a big fur bed. 

Goldy Locks
Goldy Locks, goldy locks,
Wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes,
Nor yet feed the swine;
But sit on a cushion,
And sew a fine seam,
And feed upon strawberries,
Sugar and cream. 

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea. 
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson 

A Thought
It is very nice to think
The world is full of meat and drink,
With little children saying grace
In every Christian kind of place. 
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson 

Jack Be Nimble
Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the candlestick.

Looking Forward
When I am grown to man's estate
I shall be very proud and great,
And tell the other girls and boys
Not to meddle with my toys. 
~ by Robert Louis Stevenson

Halfway Down
Halfway down the stairs 
is a stair where I sit. 
There isn't any other stair 
quite like it. 
I'm not at the bottom, 
I'm not at the top; 
So this is the stair 
where I always stop. 

Halfway up the stairs 
Isn't up and isn't down. 
It isn't in the nursery, 
It isn't in town. 
And all sorts of funny thoughts 
Run 'round my head. 
It isn't really anywhere! 
It's somewhere else instead! 
~ from When We Were Very Young by A A Milne

The Wise Old Owl
There was an old owl who lived in an oak;
The more he heard, the less he spoke. 
The less he spoke, the more he heard, 
Why aren't we like that wise old bird? 

Ladybird, Ladybird
Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, 
Your house is on fire, your children all gone, 
All but one, and her name is Ann, 
And she crept under the pudding pan. 

As I Was Going to St Ives
As I was going to St Ives I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits: kits, cats, sacks and wives,
How many were going to St Ives? 

There Was A Crooked Man
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house. 

Wee Willie Winkie
Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs, in his night-gown,
Rapping at the window, crying through the lock:
'Are the children in their beds, for it's past eight o'clock.' 

Peter Piper
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper,
A peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper,
Where's the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked? 

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread,
Kissed them all soundly and sent them to bed. 

Little Jack Horner
Little Jack Horner sat in a corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum,
And said, 'What a good boy am I!' 

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