Home > Sensory Play for Kids > Row Row Row Your Boat Nursery Rhyme Imaginative Play for Babies and Toddlers

Row Row Row Your Boat Nursery Rhyme Imaginative Play for Babies and Toddlers

One of our favourite Baby Nursery Rhymes is Row Row Row Your Boat. With the multiple verses, it’s a fun one to turn into a Nursery Rhyme Activity for your Babies and Toddlers as soon as they can sit unaided. This Row Row Row Your Boat Nursery Rhyme Pretend Play Activity for Babies and Toddlers was a firm favourite with my kids and after we had sung the rhyme we would them set this up at home to reenact it out.

pretend play row row row your boat with babies and toddlers
Baby and Toddler Nursery Rhyme Pretend Play for Row Row Row Your Boat.

Words to Row Row Row Your Boat

If you can’t remember the full words to Row Row Row Your Boat you can find them below. All verses are sung to the same tune.

 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!

With my kids as babies, we would sit on the floor and I would put them on my knees and play rowing as we sang. With the last verse, I would rock them side to side and then tip them over the side.

mum and baby singing row row row your boat together
T and I singing Row Row Row Your Boat together when she was just 7 months old.

As they got to bigger toddlers they would then fall between my knees in this last verse. Having 2 close in age as soon as T was interested in playing with J we would often find them singing this together too!

Boat Imaginative Play for Toddlers and Babies

What You Need for a Pretend Boat Play Activity for Toddlers and Babies

  • A piece of fabric for the river – we used a chenille throw which we could then pull the boat along with.
  • A plastic box or laundry basket big enough for kids to sit-in
  • A cardboard Tube or 2 to represent the oars

Setting up your Boat Imaginative Play for Babies and Toddlers

  1. Lay out the fabric for the river.
  2. Place the boat with the oar for rowing on the river

Optional – If you have any water animal toys you could add them to the rive as well. We really used our imagination and used some Megablocks for creatures in the water.

Row, Row, Row, Your Boat Imaginative Play

We started out by singing the rhyme together.

baby and toddler holding hands whilst they row together to Row Row Row Your Boat nursery rhyme
J and T rowing together as we sang the Nursery Rhyme together (T was 10 months old at this point and J 2 and a half)

With the boat set up. Our toddler sat in the boat and we started to sing along with the rhyme.

toddler playing pretend boats in a nursery rhyme themed activity for toddlers and babies
J climbing in the boat in our dramatic play for the Nursery Rhyme

The baby joined in as well.

When it came to verse 2 and the crocodile (you can be the crocodile) started to snap. We all screamed I don’t think the kids knew what to think of it.

toddler and baby imaginative play playing pretend boats
J and T scared by the verse “Row row row your boat Gently to the shore
if you see a lion don’t forget to roar!” Apparently, my roar is quite scary!

After we’d sung the nursery rhyme a few times. We left the boat imaginative play set up and the baby and toddler played together happily before nap time.

Once the baby was asleep the toddler extended the play playing pirates and fishing with the cardboard tube as a fishing pole instead of as an oar.

T was 10 months old in this activity and J was 2 and a half.

More Activities Inspired by Nursery Rhymes

Five Little Ducklings
J retelling the Nursery Rhyme 5 Little Ducks in a sensory bin
spider's web craft for preschoolers
Making Incy Wincy Spider Webs with Toddlers using a paper plate

One of our favourite counting rhyme is 5 Little Ducks and we created a 5 Little Ducks Sensory Bin and used it to play around this nursery rhyme.

Another favourite rhyme for babies and toddlers of ours is Incy Wincy Spider (or Itsy Bitsy Spider in the USA) with this rhyme we created our own spider’s web from a paper plate.

Nursery Rhyme Activities and ideas for play with toddlers and preschoolers
Find all of our Nursery Rhyme Play Ideas for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers in 1 place.

We have put together all of our Nursery Rhyme Activities into one place so you can easily find them again. Don’t forget to Pin or bookmark.

Row your boat imaginative play for toddlers and babies that can sit unaided
Simple Imaginative Play for the Baby Rhyme Row Your Boat


  1. This looks like you all had great fun. I love pretend play.

  2. Kate @ Puddles and Gumboots says:

    Oh this looks like great fun, my girls are really starting to get into imaginative play too 🙂

  3. Kim @ Little Stories says:

    This is so much fun! He’ll look back at these pictures and enjoy them forever. Will be sharing, thanks!

  4. Looks like great fun.

    Emmy has recently discovered pretend play – its great fun

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