Nursery Rhyme Activities Theme for Preschool

This Nursery Rhyme Activities Theme page is filled with preschool activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom- enough to get you started on a one or two week theme!

There are so many Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Rhyme Activities for preschool!  Contact me if you have some preschool lesson plans that you'd like me to add to this preschool theme!

You'll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.

Nursery Rhymes Activities

Let the Nursery Rhyme Activities Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see each of the Nursery Rhymes or click each link below to go to the specific Nursery Rhyme Activities section for each rhyme.

Looking For a Fairy Tales Theme?


Baa Baa Black Sheep Nursery Rhyme Activities

Baa, baa, black sheep,

Have you any wool?

Yes sir, yes sir,

Three bags full;

One for my master

And one for the dame,

And one for the little boy

Who lives down the lane.


Nursery Rhymes Activities Cotton Ball Painting

Cotton Ball Painting

Materials Needed: black paint, white construction paper, cotton balls, pincher clothes pins, googly eyes, glue

The children use the clothes pins to hold the cotton balls. Dip the cotton in the paint to use on the white paper. Add googly eyes with glue.

You can, if you like, pre-cut the paper into sheep shapes! I have the children use scissors to cut the paper into their best oval shape (possibly pre-drawn on the paper with a white crayon) for the children to practice their cutting skills. They then use the scraps to cut out four legs and glue them onto their sheep shape.

EXTENSION: Glue a large craft stick on the back and use them while reciting Baa Baa Black sheep!


Add cotton balls and straws to your block area. The children can build a farm for their sheep or sheep pens with blocks and then use the straws to blow their cotton ball sheep around their farm!



What songs do we know about sheep? Sing Baa Baa Black Sheep, Mary Had a Little Lamb and any others you may know!


Add sheep costumes (or white shirts and sheep masks) and farmer costumes.


Add cotton balls, colored pompoms, cotton batting, spoons and cups for the children to try and scoop up! Different weights will eventually sink...add some science questions! Why did some of the cotton sink but not the pompoms?!


Sheep Shapes: Add sheep shape paper to your writing table. Encourage the children to write notes or draw pictures for one another about their sheep!

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Hey Diddle Diddle Nursery Rhyme Activities

Hey Diddle Diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon.

The little dog laughed

To see such a sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.


Dish and Spoon Painting

Materials needed: Paper plates, paint, googly eyes

The children paint their plate and plastic spoon how they want. Add googly eyes to each. When dry, glue them together.

Character Paper Bag Puppets

Have eyes, ears and paws precut along with brown or white lunch bags; markers; glue

Encourage the children to make a puppet from the nursery rhyme such as a cow, cat, dog


Add cows, cats and dogs to your block area today.


Provide different colors of paper plates, plastic spoons and plastic forks. Encourage the children to think of ways they could be sorted (by color, by type, one of each for a group).

Set up a few patterns for them to copy. For instance, have 3 place settings: a plate, spoon and 2 forks; a plate a spoon and a fork; a plate and 2 spoons--have them copy what they see.


Add small plastic bowls and spoons to the water table. How many spoons of water does it take to fill the bowl?

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Itsy Bitsy Spider Nursery Rhyme Activities

Nursery Rhymes Activities Art Activity

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.

Down came the rain and washed the spider out.

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain

And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.


Spider Webs

Materials needed: Black paper, yarn or string, white paint, paint brush

In advance: Attach each clothes pin to a length of yarn or string.

Place paint in shallow trays.

Have children "dip" the string in the paint tray (it does not have to be soaking wet!)

They then drag the yarn across the paper to make a cool spider web!

If they have a difficult time getting the string wet, try brushing some paint on the end of the string with a paintbrush.

EXTENSION: Have children glue googly eyes onto a large pom pom (craft glue works best for the eyes to stay on) and glue their "spider" onto the web!

ANOTHER EXTENSION: Cutting skill practice: Instruct the children to choose a small-ish piece of paper to make a spider. They just cut, cut, cut, cut round and round and whatever shape they have left is their spider.

Then show them how to "fringe" a piece of paper and cut off their fringes. Help them to count out 8 fringes and glue them on their cut out spider for legs!


Recite this poem several times. Then try changing it up:

One of my co-teachers does this with the children, and they LOVE it! Get dramatic--it will catch on!

Use a small, squeaky, quiet voice.

Change "itsy bitsy" to "medium" in the rhyme and use a regular voice.

Change the words to "big huge spider" and use a louder and deep voice!

Another change:

Replace the word spider to each child's name: "Itsy bitsy Miss Cheryl, went up the water spout...".


Add tubes or PVC piping to the water table (or simply use plastic cups with the bottoms cut out!) and plastic spiders to use while reciting Itsy Bitsy Spider for this water table nursery rhyme activity!


Are there harmless spiders where you live? If you can, catch some and put them in bug jars for the children to observe. Discuss the importance of being careful with living creatures and set them free at the end of the day. Provide non fiction books for the children to check out about spiders!

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Jack Be Nimble Nursery Rhyme Activities

Jack be nimble.

Jack be quick.

Jack jump over the candlestick.



Provide red, yellow and orange tissue paper, glue and construction paper. The children glue these on the paper to make a paper flame.


Tape red paper on the top of a block and provide little people for the children to have "Jack" try to jump over their block candlestick.


Ingredients needed: Pineapple rings, bananas, cherries

Have the children help to peel and cut the bananas in half. They place half a banana in the circle of the pineapple ring and place a cherry on the top. You've just made Jack's candlestick!

VARIATION: Most teachers use canned pineapple rings. It is VERY fun to peel and core a fresh pineapple with the kids (OK, YOU will do it!) but many children have never seen an actual pineapple at this age!



Bring in a real candle (do NOT light it!!!) for the children to jump over.

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Little Bo Peep Nursery Rhyme Activities

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep,

And doesn't know where to find them;

Leave them alone,

and they'll come home,

Wagging their tails behind them.


Puffy Sheep

Little Bo Peep won't lose THIS sheep!

Materials needed: equal amounts of shaving cream and white school glue, precut sheep ears and wiggle eyes; black paper, paint brushes

The children paint the mixture onto their paper. They add ears and eyes. This dries with a puffy texture!


Add cotton batting and plastic sheep to your block area. Also, add some people to find the lost sheep!


Recite this nursery rhyme several times. Bring a stuffed sheep to circle time (or a sheep puppet!). Ask the children to describe where the sheep is (or the sheep can ask where it is if it is a puppet!).

Example: Is the sheep next to or under the chair? Is it on or off the table? Then, ask the children to place the sheep somewhere using these directional words! Work on these spatial relationship words with your preschoolers today.


Hide and seek! Even preschoolers LOVE this game. And they hide in places we would think are so obvious but they just enjoy the game!


Little Bo's Staff

Make mini staffs using pipe cleaners and pony beads. Encourage the children to make color patterns with the beads. Bend them to make a staff shape.


Add plastic sheep and people to your sand box for them to play Hide and Seek with the sheep!

Provide different types of cotton and wool for the children to investigate with magnifying glasses.


Sheep Shapes

Encourage the children to make an oval shape with wavy lines. It will make their oval look like a fluffy sheep while practicing fine motor control.

EXTENSION: Ask them what they know about sheep and write their answers on their "sheep"

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Little Boy Blue Nursery Rhyme Activities

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn.

The cow's in the meadow,

The sheep's in the corn.

But where is the little boy

Tending the sheep?

He's under the haystack fast asleep.

Will you wake him?

No, not I,

For if I do,

He's sure to cry.


Kazoo Horns

Materials needed: paper towel tubes-cut in half* (you need one half tube for each child), stickers and markers, wax paper-cut into approximately 4 inch squares, rubber bands

The children decorate their tubes with markers, crayons and stickers. Help them to place a square of wax paper on one end and secure it with a rubber band.

The children blow and hum into the other end. This makes the wax paper vibrate and hum!

Use these while reciting this nursery rhyme!

*I don't use toilet tissue tubes for any art projects--the possible sanitary issues with them frighten me! ;)


Provide blue and white finger paint and watch the different shades of blue that they can create!


Add some hay, farm animals and little people to your block area!


Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Materials needed: muffin tin (or mini muffin tins!), non stick spray, 2 bowls, spoons to mix with.

This recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF degrees. Spray muffin tins with non stick spray.

You will need:

3/4 cups low fat milk 1/2 cup natural applesauce 1 egg

1 cup all purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup fresh blueberries

Have the ingredients separated so that each child can add something to the batter! For example, if you have 12 children, split the 1 cup of each type of flour into 1/2 cup measurers and the 1 cup of blueberries into 2 half cup measurers. You now have 12 items to be put in!

Have each child put in their ingredient as needed:

Pour milk, applesauce and egg in a bowl and mix until blended.

In a separate bowl, pour in flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir to mix.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir with a spoon just until the flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy).

Fold in blueberries.

Divide batter among muffin tins. (Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measurer will be easier for the children to do this)

Bake until golden brown. Regular size muffins bake in about 18 to 20 minutes. The mini-muffins bake in about 10 minutes. Immediately remove from pan.

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Mary Mary Quite Contrary Nursery Rhyme Activities

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells

And cockleshells,

and pretty maids all in a row.


Grow Your Name!

Materials needed: Shallow trays, potting soil, grass seed, pencils

Have the children fill the tray halfway with soil. Help them to trace their name in the soil.

They sprinkle the grass seed in their traced letters and then lightly cover with more soil. Water gently (I use a spray bottle) so as not to disturb the seeds.

When the grass grows, their names will show (hey, that rhymes!)

Garden Collage

Using seed and flower catalog pages (see Circle Time activity below), the children cut out the flowers or seeds on their page(s) and then glue them onto a large piece of paper for a class Garden Collage!


Our Garden

Bring seed and flower catalogs to circle. Have the children tear out pages they like and take turns describing the flowers (small, large, the color, leaves, no leaves). Put their name on their page and use it for the Garden collage activity above under art.

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Old Mother Hubbard Nursery Rhyme Activities

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard,

To get her poor dog a bone;

But when she got there, the cupboard was bare

And so her poor dog had none.


Fill the Cupboard Collage

Materials needed: Magazines (food and pet magazines are perfect!), scissors, glue sticks, construction paper

On the top of the paper, encourage the children to write their names as best they can.

Have them search for the types of food they would have in their cupboard for themselves and their dogs and fill their cupboards!


Add small dog counters/sorters and pretend kitchen food to add to their block cupboards.


Who is the Dog?

Each child should get a turn guessing the dog!

One child sits in a chair with their back to the rest of the children.

One child stands or sits behind the chair and says "I want a bone!" or some other line that might relate to this nursery rhyme activity!

The sitting child tries to guess which child's voice they hear.

VARIATION: Have one child leave the group and hide (where YOU can see him or her though!) and the child sitting in the chair tries to guess who is missing.


Add dog bones to your sand table. Give the children large paintbrushes to uncover the bones!


Provide a balance scale and some Scoobie snack cookies (they are in bone shapes). Give each child 5 or 6. Have them explore how the scale works with the cookies.

What happens when 1 cookie is on one side and 2 are on the other? Continue with these types of questions and, of course, they can eat their cookies for snack!


Doggie Tac Toe

Make a Tic Tac Toe game board on paper. Give the children different sorters (perhaps large and small dogs, different color dogs, etc.).

They take turns placing their dogs on the board trying to get 3 in a row. Or, they work together making a pattern (still taking turns placing one dog on the board)

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There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe Nursery Rhyme Activities

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children, she did not know what to do.

She gave them some broth without any bread.

She hugged them all soundly and tucked them in bed.


How Many Children?

Bring a large shoe or boot to circle with a dozen or so small little people. Count all the children into the shoe after reciting this rhyme!


Shoe Matching

Have the children take their shoes off. They place one in a big pile and hold the other. Send a few children at a time to the pile to find their other shoe!

Practice teamwork by giving one shoe to a pair of children and they help each other find the match.



In advance, make shoe and boot shapes out of construction paper and laminate them. Hole punch holes around the edges. Provide the children with laces to practice lacing.

How Many Children?

Place old shoes on the floor with a number taped to each one. Provide toy people for the children to count out the number of "children" they need to place in each shoe.

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This Little Piggy Nursery Rhyme Activities

This little piggy went to market.

This little piggy stayed home.

This little piggy had roast beef.

This little piggy had none.

And this little piggy when "wee, wee, wee" all the way home

OK, who is NOT thinking of the little Piggy GEICO commercial right now?!!!


Spray Paint Pigs

Materials needed: Several small spray bottles (from a dollar type store), red and white tempera paint, white paper

Mix red and white paint with water in the spray bottles. The children then spray their paper. When dry, add googly eyes to their pigs!

Group Pig

Materials needed: coffee filters, red markers, spray bottles with water

The children draw, color, make designs etc. on the coffee filters with red markers.

They spray the coffee filter with water and the colors run and spread!

The children in our class make several of these each!

When dry (they dry quickly), have the children work together to glue the now pink filters onto a large piece of paper to make a pig shape (yes, it can be abstract!). Add 2 large googly eyes, fold some pink coffee filters and glue as legs, cut one as a curly-q tail and VOILA! Group Pig!

Pigs    Thank you Barb from Gilbert, AZ for this idea!

Use pink construction paper. Have children cut out a circle for the head, an oval for the body, rectangles for the legs and triangles for the ears. You can pre cut as much as needed for different age levels. When complete, take a waded up paper towel and lightly dip in brown paint and make the pigs "dirty". Great to review shapes,cutting and following directions.


Recite this nursery rhyme and then ask for 5 volunteers to act it out. Preschoolers are more apt to do this with props! So, in advance, make 5 Pig masks out of paper plates! Or, give each pig their own identifying prop:

shopping carriage to go to market

keys to stay home

pretend food for roast beef

empty basket for "had none"

a musical whistle or other instrument to "wee wee wee" home

Repeat this nursery rhyme activity enough times for each child to have a turn being a Piggy if they want!


Pig Pink Milk

Make this a pink day! Make strawberry milk with your kids! Also, bring some extra milk for the science experiment listed below!

Pig Cookies  (Thank you, Phyllis, for this idea!)

Give each child a plain, round, sugar cookie or tea cake.

Place a small dollop of pink icing on.  The child spreads the icing iwth a popscile stick.

Cut a pink marshmallow in half to make a circular nose.

From the remaining marshmallow half, cut two triangular ears (I usually snip with scissors across the top rim so there is one cut edge).

Add these pieces and blue M&M eyes.


Pig Mud

You'll need: whole milk (not low fat or skim!), different colors of coloring, dish detergent, shallow bowl

Pour in enough milk to cover the bottom of the bowl.

Place drops of food coloring, one at a time, into the middle of the bowl. Keep adding drops of different colors into the middle while you talk with the children about what they see. Some of the milk will turn color as it spreads a bit, but this is not the COOL part!

As you are talking with the children, explain that pigs roll in mud, not because they are messy, but because they are hot! They do not sweat like people when they are hot, so they have to cool off in the mud. Tell them you are now going to make colorful mud!

Drop VERY CAREFULLY just ONE DROP of dish detergent in the middle of the food coloring. Wait a few seconds and watch what happens. It is so cool!

Click here to see the Milk Experiment in Action!

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Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Nursery Rhyme Activities

Nursery Rhymes Activities Sponge Painting

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the the world so high

Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle little star.

How I wonder what you are.


Sponge Painting

Materials needed: sponges in star and moon shapes, yellow and white paint, blue paper

EXTENSION: Add a little bit of glitter to the yellow paint!


Star Dough

Mix together 3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of water and 3/4 cup of vegetable oil. Add some yellow food coloring as well. Knead into a dough.

Provide star shaped cookie cutters for the children to make and count stars with.

If you leave them out to dry, the children could also paint them! If you do this, use a pencil to make a hole in the star so that you can place yarn in it and hang it up when painted and dried!


Musical Star Chairs

In advance, program stars. Make 2 of each type of star. You can program them to go along with any concept you are working on: letter recognition, number recognition, color recognition, name recognition.

Place chairs in a circle facing out. Place a different star on each chair. Give each child a chair. Play or sing the song Twinkle Twinkle. When it is done, the children should find the chair that has the matching star.

In musical chairs with preschoolers, do NOT remove one chair and have a child out. Competitive games do not help develop teamwork and problem sharing or development in any way.


Provide star, cloud and planet stampers for the children to make a Star gazing picture and tell you a story about their picture!

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Miscellaneous Nursery Rhyme Activities


Which Rhyme?

Wrap up your Nursery Rhyme Activities theme with this activity:

Place one prop from each rhyme you've covered in a box or bag (such as a candle, a sheep, a fork, etc.). Have the children take one out. Have each child name what they have. Ask them if they know which rhyme goes with that item.

VARIATION: Instead of passing the items out, pull one out at a time and ask the group if they know which rhyme it is.

VARIATION: Have the children (one at a time) reach into the bag or box and, without looking at the item--only by touching it--guess what it is. (They may not know, that's ok! Have them take the item out, look at it and tell you what it is). Then ask the group if they know what the rhyme is that goes with it.

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Looking For a Fairy Tales Theme?


Go to the MAIN THEMES page from the Nursery Rhyme Activities Theme 

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