Rhymes with…

As Elphie becomes a bit more obviously sentient, or at least is awake for more hours of the day, there is a greater need to entertain her for the few minutes of this wakeful time when she can be persuaded that eating is not the ultimate form of entertainment. Grandmama and Jocelyn have been busting some nursery rhymes to plug this gap, so much so normal, but the more exciting thing and more fun for Elphie is that some of these have actions for babies!

Humpty Dumpty

Not the most complicated of interpretations of this nursery rhyme classic – basically you bounce the baby up and down in your lap and on the “fall” line, you tilt the baby to the side.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses, And all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

You can also add an extra line at the end (“but I can!” giving the baby and big hug), if you feel your baby is traumatised by this dark and disturbing tale of a giant egg man (who was really a cannon).

The Grand Old Duke of York

This is my favourite of the Jocelyn school of action-packed nursery rhymes (she’ll probably tell me I’ve got it all wrong!). She lies Elphie on her back, takes her heels and does the following actions to the lyrics:

The Grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill [walks her little feet up in the air to about 70 degrees]
And he marched them down again. [Walks them down again backwards]
When they were up, they were up [Raises her heels to the 70 degree mark]
And when they were down, they were down [Brings them back down again]
And when they were only halfway up [Moves them halfway]
They were neither up [Moves them up] nor down. [Brings them down]

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

This one’s an easy one to do actions to – you can put your feet up and lay the baby on your bent up knees. Then you can move your knees back and forth and use your hands to move the baby’s hands in a rowing motion.

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

The Wheels on the Bus

With thanks to our Kiwi friends at Christchurch City Libraries for these actions:

The wheels on the bus go round and round [Move the baby’s leg in a bicycle motion]
Round and round [Repeat action],
Round and round [Repeat action],
The wheels on the bus go round and round [Repeat action]
All day long

The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish [Move the baby’s arms side to side]
Swish swish swish [Repeat action],
Swish swish swish [Repeat action],
The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish [Repeat action]
All day long

The ladies on the bus bounce up and down [Bounce the baby up and down]
Up and down [Repeat action],
Up and down [Repeat action],
The ladies on the bus bounce up and down [Repeat action]
All day long

Ride a Cock Horse

This is a Grandmama favourite – not least because she intends to take Elphie on an exciting visit to Banbury Cross!

Ride a Cock Horse [Bounce baby up and down as if cantering on a horse]
To Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady
Upon a white horse

With rings on her fingers [touch the baby’s fingers]
And bells on her toes [touch the baby’s toes]
She shall have music [Bounce again]
Wherever she goes

With thanks to the Fingerplays and Action Rhymes blog for the full action sequence!

There’s also Round and Round the Garden, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, If You’re Happy and You Know It and This Little Piggy, which I have never done without the actions and so I assume everyone knows them – although this could of course just be the false consensus effect (a psychological bias where people overestimate the number of people who agree with them).

Well just in case, here’s the advanced DIY version of Round and Round the Garden:

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