Sparking Early Literacy with Nursery Rhymes in Your Classroom


Nursery rhymes have been a cherished part of childhood for generations. These simple, rhythmic verses not only entertain young minds but also play a crucial role in early childhood education. Nursery rhymes help children develop language skills, enhance cognitive abilities, and promote social interaction. In this blog post, we will explore the educational benefits of nursery rhymes and provide free activities and ideas that teachers can use in the classroom for four popular nursery rhymes: “One, Two Buckle My Shoe,” “Old Mother Hubbard,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

1. One, Two Buckle My Shoe:

Activity 1: Number Recognition
  • Create a colorful number chart from 1 to 10.
  • Sing “One, Two Buckle My Shoe” while pointing to the corresponding numbers on the chart.
  • Encourage children to recognize and say the numbers aloud as they sing along.
  • To make it more interactive, use props like shoe buckles or felt shoes.
Activity 2: Counting with Shoes
  • Bring in an assortment of shoes (different sizes, colors, and styles).
  • Let children take turns counting the number of buckles or shoelaces on each shoe.
  • This activity not only reinforces counting skills but also enhances fine motor skills.
Activity 3: Make a shoe
  • Print out the shoe templates
  • Let students ‘read’ the nursery rhyme, sequence in the correct order and glue into the shoe
  • Embellish the shoe with little buttons and decals of their choosing
  • Buy the craft here

2. Old Mother Hubbard:

Activity 1: Storytelling and Sequencing
  • Read or recite “Old Mother Hubbard” to the class.
  • Provide the sequencing boxes to the students
  • Ask students to arrange the cards in the correct sequence to retell the story.
  • Make the happy and sad dogs and stick them to the front and the inside of the cupboard
  • Encourage creative thinking by inviting them to come up with alternate endings.
  • Get the craft here
Activity 2: Vocabulary Building
  • Select a few challenging words from the rhyme (e.g., ‘cupboard,’ ‘plum,’ ‘bone’).
  • Discuss the meanings of these words and use them in sentences.
  • Encourage students to draw pictures related to these words to reinforce understanding.

3. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

Activity 1: Starry Night Sky
  • Create a starry night sky backdrop in the classroom using black paper and glow-in-the-dark stars.
  • Sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” while turning off the lights and watching the stars glow.
  • Encourage children to share their thoughts and questions about stars, sparking curiosity about astronomy.
Activity 2: Constellation Art
  • Introduce a few basic constellations like the Big Dipper or Orion’s Belt.
  • Provide materials for students to create their own constellation art, using stickers, glitter, or paint.
  • Discuss the shapes and stories behind each constellation.
Activity 3: Make a Shining Star Retell Hat
  • Print out the star.  Teachers or adult helpers will need to cut slits into the stars
  • Give out the sequencing pictures and let students glue them to a sentence strip in the correct order
  • Slide the sentence strip through the star and staple to secure ends
  • Students can thread the rhyme through the star as they retell and wear the star hats home to share!
  • Grab the hat here!

4. Itsy Bitsy Spider:

Activity 1: Spider Puppet Craft
  • Guide children in creating their own spider puppets using paper plates, yarn, and googly eyes.
  • Use these puppets to act out the rhyme and encourage imaginative play.
  • Discuss the life cycle of spiders to incorporate a science lesson.
Activity 2: Make a spider who climbs up and down the spout
  • Ask an adult to cut a slit down the spout
  • Cut out the spider and push a brad through the dot
  • Thread the spider brad through the slit and open the brad on the other side, taking care to ensure the spider can slide up and down
  • Glue the spout to a piece of paper and have students sequence the rhyme next to the spout
  • Buy it here!
Activity 2: Weather Observations
  • Connect the nursery rhyme’s story to real-life weather experiences.
  • Keep a weather chart in the classroom and mark rainy days.
  • Encourage children to observe and discuss changes in weather, fostering an understanding of the natural world.

Nursery rhymes are more than just catchy tunes; they are valuable tools for early childhood education. Incorporating nursery rhymes like “One, Two Buckle My Shoe,” “Old Mother Hubbard,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” into the classroom provides numerous opportunities for learning and development. These activities not only engage young minds but also lay the foundation for language skills, creativity, and a lifelong love of learning. So, whether you’re a teacher or a parent, consider making nursery rhymes an integral part of your child’s educational journey!  You can read more about nursery rhymes in this blog post.






My name is Mandy and I’ve been creating fun crafts since I began teaching waaaaay back in 1993! If, like me, you believe that hands-on arts and crafts are essential to child development, then you’ve come to the right place!