- Books, Literature, and Writing
Mother Goose Rhymes
Hickory Dickory Dock
Not only are Mother Goose rhymes a part of our western cultural heritage, but Mother Goose has her own special holiday. May 1 is Mother Goose Day! Of course, these classic rhymes can be celebrated any day of the year!
How well do you know your nursery rhymes? Can you distinguish Old King Cole from Old Mother Hubbard? Does Little Boy Blue get confused with Little Jack Horner in your memory? Take an online quiz and see how familiar you are with these timeless poems!
Then keep reading for more Mother Goose fun.
Hey diddle, diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed To see such sport, And the dish ran away with the spoon
Your Mother Goose Book
What did your childhood Mother Goose volume look like? Was it a traditional one or a more modern one? For a bit of nostalgia, look through the books below and find your childhood version.
Mother Goose rhymes have been published in multiple formats over the years. They first appeared in England in 1780 in America in 1786. By nineteenth century America, Mother Goose had become a symbol of both children's literature and of childhood in general. Even today, nursery rhyme games are the staple of baby showers and Mother Goose rhyme art is still used to decorate a new baby's nursery.
Over time, the various images of Mother Goose and her nursery rhyme characters were used in advertising campaigns, such as the Jack and Jill Peppers seen here.
Eclipse offers a fascinating series of images of Mother Goose through the years. She is sometimes portrayed as a woman with a goose and other times as a goose herself.
A cultured, educated person generally is thought to be familiar with the canon of western literature -- including the Bible, Shakespeare, Greek myths, and Mother Goose rhymes! For example, A Treasury of Mother Goose is recommended by E. D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge Preschool Curriculum. The Poetry Foundation features Mother Goose on 3 lists of its Essential Children's Collection -- Anthologies, Contemporary, and Out of Print.
Make sure your children can recite some Mother Goose rhymes. They will love the silly images and musical language.
The Real Mother Goose - by Blanche Fisher Wright
This was my Mother Goose, and the one that I bought for my daughter.
More Traditional Mother Goose Titles
These options are all fairly traditional versions of the Mother Goose rhymes.
This is another version that I had in childhood. Those sentimental memories caused me to buy in for my daughter later in life.
Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie, Kissed the girls and made them cry;
When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away.
We all have a favorite one. Which is yours?
Your Favorite Mother Goose Rhyme
Why Read Nursery Rhymes?
Omitting nursery rhymes from your child's library not only leaves a gap in the cultural literacy foundation, but also robs them of some delightfully frivolous fun.
Most parents want their children to achieve in every way possible. But they may also wrongly expect everything the child does, sees, and hears to have an academic purpose. Even if they do see the value of rhymes for learning the patterns of language, Mother Goose may seem to them simply outdated poems that can be effectively replaced with Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, or Shel Sliverstein.
The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim is an academic explanation of the psychological value of fairy tales and nursery rhymes for a child's development. Bettelheim holds that these childhood stories have great value in teaching children that "a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinisc part of human existance--but that if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious."
Others have tried to dissect the historical backgrounds and hidden meanings of the nursery rhymes in an effort to give them a "value."
But the reality is that although Mother Goose has value as poetry and may give children a structure by which to playact their deepest fears, and may also have interesting historical connections, many of them are simply nonsense. But children need time to play, laugh, and speak the nonsense of these rhymes. If childhood is totally devoid of nonsense, where is the wonder and joy of those years? The magic of the rhymes is their simple ability to please the child who hears and recites them. And to please a child is really reason enough to read Mother Goose rhymes.
Mother Goose for Learning - lesson plans and teaching ideas
- RETAIL -- Nursery Rhymes Notebooking Pages
This is an online download, not free, but very inexpensive, created by a homeschooling mother of many children.
- ARTICLE --On Reading Nursery Rhymes With Children
Nursery Rhymes are not just for preschoolers. This article gives suggestions for how to use them with children of all ages.
- ARTICLE --Growing Readers and Writers with Help from Mother Goose
This is a more scholarly article along the same lines -- how older children can also benefit from studying Mother Goose rhymes.
- FREE --Rimes and Rhymes
A whole curriculum plan for teaching phonics skills to children through a new nursery rhyme each week. Includes PDF printables! A great resource!
- FREE -- Mother Goose
Teaching ideas for many Mother Goose rhymes -- coloring sheets, mazes, crafts, activities, recipes, and more.
- FREE -- Little Books
This is a fun resource with printable minibooks! Mother Goose rhymes include Hey Diddle Diddle, Little Miss Muffet, and One Two Buckle my Shoe.
- IDEAS --Nursery Rhymes Preschool Activities
Activities and crafts for preschool and kindergarten for many of the most popular rhymes-- Baa Baa Black Sheep, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, Jack and Jill, etc.
- IDEAS--Family Math and Literacy Night
Plans and printables for creating a family math and literacy night for a school. This could be adapted for a homeschool coop group as well!
- FREE -- Mother Goose Numbers on the Loose
Harcourt Publishers offers some freebies to accompany the picture book by Leo and Diane Dillonmain.
- FREE --Carl's Corner
Each featured nursery rhyme has * a planning matrix * sequencing activity * word search (high frequency/sight words) * stationery and worksheet for word family rime * shape book to use for nonfiction writing
Mother Goose Math
Mother Goose Vintage Paperdoll
Mother Goose Free Coloring Pages - and other papercraft
- Mother Goose Coloring Book
This is a PDF coloring book with beautiful images and the rhymes below!
- Kiz Club Nursery Rhymes
These PDFs are fantastic resources for creating puppets, paperdolls, or just coloring sheets for many of the most popular nursery rhymes. Each rhyme has several pages of images to accompany the text.
- Nursery Rhyme Coloring Pages
Humpty Dumpty, Jack be Nimble, Rock a Bye Baby, and more!
- DLTK's Nursery Rhyme Page
Baa Baa Black Sheep, Hey Diddle Diddle, Little Miss Muffet, and more.
- Mary Engelbreit's Coloring Pages
Select from the Full Illustration Archive dropdown menu one of these adorable black and white line drawings in PDF format: Mother Goose Baker Man, Hey Diddle Diddle, Little Miss Muffet, and Old Woman in a Shoe.
- Friends Across America
Look for the POEMS/NURSERY RHYMES coloring pages. Pages include: Hey, Diddle, Diddle!, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, Rub-A-Dub-Dub, The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe.
- Nursery Rhymes from Story It
Storybook nursery rhymes to print and color.
- Mother Goose Storyboard Printables
A nice assortment of Mother Goose black and white images for making your own storyboards, puppets, or coloring pages.
- Vintage Little Bo Peep Paperdoll
A freebie from Judy's Place.
Use the Mother Goose rhymes to teach basic phonic skills.
If you prefer an instant download, this book is also available at CurrClick in Ebook format.
Mary Had a Little Lamb Vintage Paperdoll
Mother Goose Online
Because Mother Goose has been around for so long, many editions of the rhymes have passed into the public domain. These links are some of the most beautiful digital versions.
- Mother Goose Gems
Beautiful color scanned images from Mother Goose Gems published by McLoughlin Bros. in 1904. Pages with text have accompanying MP3 files that read it aloud to you!
- Mother Goose Melodies
by Willis P. Hazard. Full color scanned pages from yet another version of the classic rhymes.
- The True Mother Goose
Scanned black and white images from the book The True Mother Goose - Songs for the Nursery. Notes and Pictures by Blanche McManus. Published by Lamson, Wolffe and Co., Boston. 1895.
Mother Goose Board Books - for toddlers and babies
Early education professionals all recommend reading or singing nursery rhymes to your children. These board books are a great place to start.
Mother Goose Tools
Mother Goose on the Web
- Mother Goose Society
The Official website. You can find Mother Goose performers in your area through this website.
- Karen Whimsey's Mother Goose Clip Art
Royalty free images in the public domain of Mother Goose Rhymes. Many of them are decorating this very page.
- Celebrating Mother Goose Day
Several ideas for how to celebrate this holiday on May 1 or any day!
- Annual Mother Goose Parade
The official homepage of the Mother Goose Parade in San Diego County, CA.
- Kids Craft Weekly - Nursery rhymes
Directions and pictures for a Humpty Dumpty craft and for a Little Miss Muffet craft. Also an idea for playing along with the Pat-a-cake rhyme.