What makes a rhyme?
Rhymes have lots of the benefits of songs but while songs are sung, rhymes are spoken or chanted. Rhymes tend to be shorter than songs, and usually have a strong rhythm with lots of repetition which makes for easy learning.
Children’s rhymes generally have sounds which 'match' in the final syllables or final words and at the end of a line. For example:
Round and round the garden like a teddy bear
One step two step, tickly under there!
Rhymes have been around for centuries and we humans love them!
Why share rhymes with babies and young children?
Rhymes Are FUN!
Far and away, the best thing about rhymes is that they are great fun! Rhymes often involve tickling and laughing which give us a boost of 'happy hormones' (or oxytocin).
Go bananas in Bananas Uniteor build up to the tickle in Round and Round the Garden to get the oxytocin flowing!
We all love rhymes because their rhythm and sound patterns are so pleasing to the ear and enjoyable to join in with. This makes them easier to remember too. For those families who feel inhibited by singing, rhymes can allow them to let go of that fear and have some fun.
Rhymes help brain development
Even while having fun, children’s brains are working hard. When you share a rhyme with a child they are learning lots of the building blocks for communication:
- You will be making eye contact, creating opportunities for turn-taking, helping them to listen and pay attention, and of course, understand language too
- Rhyming helps children start to work out how sounds are put together to create words, which helps with speech development and with reading as a child gets older
- Rhythm can help children hear the syllable structure of words as well as separating words in sentences
- Lots of the best rhymes have actions too. These are useful for us all when trying to remember words, but also encourage children’s motor skills and coordination
Think about how many of these benefits are included in a simple rhyme like, One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato Four. It’s impressive how even the simplest of counting rhymes can have so much going on behind the scenes!
Rhymes are interactive
Little ones can’t stop themselves joining in with the rhyming words in rhymes and stories. When you say a rhyme, you naturally slow down and leave a gap which allows them to jump in with the rhyme:
Two fat sausages sizzling in a pan, one went POP and the other went…
Unleash your creativity and adapt or make up a simple rhyme to share in your Bookbug Sessions. It’s a sure-fire way to keep a wee one’s attention and get families involved.
Two little butterflies sitting by the shed
One called Mia and one called Fred?
You can even help wee ones learn new ideas by including them in a rhyme. Children are guaranteed to join in with 'LOUD' in this simple rhyme:
Two little dickybirds sitting on a cloud
One called quiet (shhh!) and one called... LOUD!
We hope you’ll be inspired to share more rhymes in your Bookbug Sessions - we’ve done some of the work for you and created some Bookbug Session Plans featuring some of our favourite rhymes and a fun rhyming story to share. They are bursting full of action and counting rhymes, tickle and touch rhymes and a calming rhyme near the end.