Through the ages, every culture has had their own special lullabies, nursery rhymes and finger plays handed down from generation to generation. Some of these we sing to calm babies and help them to sleep. Others we sing to play with and stimulate babies, so that they laugh and giggle.
Rhymes, lullabies and finger plays are amazing teaching tools. Finger plays and action rhymes are actually short stories, paired with finger or body movements. As children listen and pair words with actions, they learn about language, rhyming words and poetry. The more you talk and sing to children, the more words they will know and use.
Rhymes, lullabies and finger plays are great tools for face-to-face, social interaction with babies. They can be used for play and turn taking. As your child comes to know the rhyme, they are able to predict what comes next. When children practice finger plays, they learn to control the small muscles in their hands and fingers ~ which will help them hold crayons or pencils.
Children who know songs and rhymes have a head start in life. Knowledge of songs and rhymes by age 3 is a strong predictor of success in reading and comprehension.
Do you have fond, but vague memories of rhymes and songs from your childhood? You can go to youtube.com and enter in the first line of most rhymes to refresh your memory of the tunes and finger plays that go along with them.