Readers of this blog know I promote reading and singing stories with children. I also love rhymes like Mother Goose. As May 1st is Mother Goose Day, it seemed timely to highlight this wonderful source. There are a wealth of resources on-line for sharing Mother Goose in school settings as demonstrated by this Sguidoo page. For that reason, this post will focus on sharing four of these rhymes found in songs in a manner appropriate for intergenerational groups of older adults and preschoolers. Some of these ideas may also work with just preschoolers. 

Blanche Fisher Wright's cover artwork for the ...

Wright’s cover artwork for the Rand McNally 1916 book The Real Mother Goose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a child, I sang many Mother Goose rhymes. Though it is not the book from which my mother played, many of the old tunes can be found in The Project Gutenberg eBook, “The Baby’s Opera” by Walter Crane, Illustrated by Walter Crane. (Sorry, the link won’t share for this one, but you should be able to get it through Google.)  Non-musician  and musicians alike will appreciate the recordings, sheet music and many other resources on Mother Goose Club.

As the rhymes have been around for hundreds of years some might argue they are no longer relevant. There are cultural literacy reasons for sharing these rhymes. For me, the most important reason to share them is their playful, simple rhyming nature.

Hickory Dickory Dock

  • Equipment: sticks or wood block; bells or chimes
  • Sharing: Grandfather clocks are no longer familiar items nor are ticking clocks. Have grandfriends help share there memories of clock care (winding them, setting weights). Some may have a clock the children can visit.

Jack and Jill

  • Equipment: small xylophone, assorted small percussion for sound effects such as a flexitone, clatterpiller, vibraslap, shakers, etc.
  • Sharing: Have the group determine instruments to play for various words in the song. There are lots of phrases children may not fully understand including:
    • “fetch a pail of water” – Why do the need to get water in a pail? Is that something the grandfriends had to do (get water)?
    • “broke his crown” – What is Jack’s crown?

Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross

  • Equipment: small plastic containers or cups for the trotting horse, jingle bells
  • Sharing: Have the group figure out what a cock horse is.

Rock-a-bye Baby

  • Equipment: enough scarves for each set of partners to have one
  • Sharing: Coordinating the movement

Here’s a video describing simple ways to use with these songs in an intergenerational group. 


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