10 Nursery Rhymes to sing with Babies and Toddlers

Sing songs and Nursery Rhymes have so many benefits for your child – not only do they help language development but they are also great for introducing counting, animal sounds and are a great way to connect with your child. Here we share 10 of our favourite Nursery Rhymes.

Even the youngest of babies can enjoy nursery rhymes and you will quickly find that they start to connect with you as you sing with them. As babies with J and T we used to either sing the nursery rhymes to them whilst on our laps or get down on the floor with them and sing them. Songs that involve some form of actions are J and T’s favourites now. So here are our 10 favourite Nursery Rhymes for Tots.

Humpty Dumpty

We like the traditional version of this nursery rhyme although there are modern versions where Humpty gets put back together again. Both J and T love the falling off our laps when it comes to the part.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Row Row Row your Boat 

We have a full 6 verse version of this popular nursery rhyme going in our house, yes I didn’t realise either that there were so many verses to it, but it has to be one of our favourites – until recently it was always sung by me to J or T, but in the last week the two of them have started to do rowing to each other and J will sing it to T with his on mix up of all the verses

Row row row your boat gentle down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream.

Row row row your boat gentle down the stream, if you see a crocodile don’t forget to scream!

Row row row your boat gentle down the river, if you see a polar bear don’t forget to shiver!

Row row row your boat gentle down the creak, if you see a little mouse don’t forget to squeak!

Row row row your boat gentle to the shore, if you see a lion don’t forget to roar!

Rock rock rock your boat gentle to and fro, merrily merrily merrily merrily into the water you go!

Wheels on the Bus

Another great action nursery rhyme, we tend to mix up the verses and have our own take on a few but this is T’s favourite – one of the first communications we had would be her sitting on my lap and grabbing my hands and moving them.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round all day long!

The children on the bus go up and down…

The doors on the bus go open and shut…

The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish

Grand Old Duke of York 

J has just started to march to this one, when both were tiny I would sit them on my lap facing me and sing this with them lifting them into the air when the Duke marched them up and bring them back down. Now J is older we’re starting to get him to march and stand up and kneel down at the right times.

The grand old duke of york had 10 thousand men, he marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 

I had sung this with J and T to try and get them to sleep every night since they were babies whilst nursing them, with J I can now stroke his hair at bedtime and sing this and he will drift off. We also sing this during the day with actions and this week T has started to put her hands together to form a diamond, she has always loved the up move in it.

Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder where you are? Up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky, twinkle twinkle little star how I wonder where you are?

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Or a zoo when you let a 2 and a half year old choose the animals in the song especially now that T knows and will reply to the phrase “What noise does a Lion make” with “RARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR”, we frequently have crocodiles, monkeys, gorillas and even dinosaurs at Old MacDonald’s farm but it’s such a great rhyme and J and T love it for practising their animal noises.

Old MacDonald had a farm eyeieyeio, and on that farm he had a cow eyeieyeio, with a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo there a moo everywhere a moo moo. Old MacDonald had a farm eyeieyeio!

Incy Wincy Spider (Itty Bitty Spider) 

As young babies I would lie J or T on my lap or on the floor in front of me and sing this song to them as I had my hand crawl up their legs and stomach and then pitter patter with my fingers for the rain. They would giggle away as the spider ran up their legs again at the end. Now we move our hands together to make the spider climbing up the spout.

Incy wincy spider climbed up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out, out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain and incy wincy spider climbed up the spout again!

One, Two, Three, Four, Five 

This has some great hand actions in it and really helps with counting. It sends T into hysterics when instead of biting her little finger the fish may bite her nose, toe or ear.

One two three four five once I caught a fish alive, six seven eight nine ten then I let him go again, why did you let him go because he bit my finger so, which finger did he bite. This little finger on my right!

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

This was J’s favourite as a baby, early toddler and one of the reasons why I think he counted backwards from 5 before he could count forwards as we used to sing this all the time, he loved being sent into space so much it was always met with either hand grabs for more or me being told MORE MORE MORE

Zoom zoom zoom we’re going to the moon, zoom zoom zoom we’ll get there very soon, five, four, three, two, one, blast off, if you want to join my trip hop aboard my rocket ship, zoom zoom zoom were going to the moon.

Hey Diddle Diddle 

Rainy Day Dad sings this with J and T and will change the words to include our dog, the kids names and all sorts of strange and wonderful variations of it – J encourages him with more more more.

Rainy Day Dad sings this with J and T and will change the words to include our dog, the kids names and all sorts of strange and wonderful variations of it – J encourages him with more more more.

Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon, the little dog laughed to see such fun and the dish ran away with the spoon.

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Out of practice with your baby girl and baby boy, here's 10 classic nursery rhymes and fun songs that you can sign together with FULL WORDS for each song

What are your favourite Nursery Rhyme to sing with your Tots?


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Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and now mum. She's passionate about supporting learning at school at home, bringing books alive, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Creative, Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Rainy Day Mum

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  2. Sheree says

    Zoom zoom zoom where going to the moon
    Zoom zoom zoom we’ll get there very soon
    If you want to take a trip
    Climb aboard our rocket ship
    Zoom zoom zoom where going to the moon
    5 4 3 2 1 Zooooooommmmmm!!!!

    • Maria Telis says

      I really like these 10 Nursery rhymes, I didn’t know Zoom zoom but Sheree posted it. thanks Sheree.

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  4. Susan says

    I have never heard zoom, zoom, zoom. Can you share the words/melody and actions please? You can post them on my website or related facebook page. thanks!

  5. says

    I love using music with kids of all ages. Nursery rhymes help kids with their language development at later ages and also help them with their bonding. Excellent information.

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  7. Elise says

    These are all great songs! Could you provide a more clear idea of the actions you refer to? I’m not familiar with the songs so when you talk about actions you do, I’m a bit confused. Thanks!