Using Nursery Rhymes for Teaching the Preposition “Over”

Working with preschoolers, I try to use nursery rhymes as much as possible in therapy.  I use them for a couple of reasons. 

  1. They are quick and engaging. You can do lots of repetitions in a short time period.  
  2. There is more and more research out there saying that exposing young children to book and literacy activities are very important for later reading success. I read somewhere (I wish I could find it again) that the more nursery rhymes a child can recite by memory, the better their reading proficiency in later years.  Now, I’m not proposing that you sit down and make children memorize nursery rhymes.  It’s more about exposing them to a variety of books and stories and all the exposure to important pre-reading skills (such as rhyming) that nursery rhymes provide.
Now back to talking about the preposition “over” and nursery rhymes. I use “Jack be Nimble” and “Hey Diddle Diddle.”

I like for children to experience prepositions with their bodies.  I tend to use”Jack be Nimble” for that. I will have a “candlestick” that the children can jump over as I (or we) recite the rhyme, 

“Jack be nimble, 
Jack be quick, 
Jack jumps over the candlestick.” 

It’s fun to challenge the kids and have candlesticks of various heights and see how high the kids can jump (then you can also work on “tall” and “short”).  The physiotherapists I work with also love this activity because it works on jumping skills and they seem to always be working on jumping. 

Once they have experienced jumping over the candlestick, I use “Hey Diddle Diddle.” The rhyme goes, 

“Hey diddle diddle, 
the cat and the fiddle, 
the cow jumps over the moon,
  the little dog laughs to see such fun 
and the dish runs away with the spoon.” 

I mainly use felt board activities or using the characters with a whiteboard and a magnet on the back such as what you see in the picture.  I then have the children use the characters to re-enact the whole rhyme. Later I also encourage the children to use their imagination and create stories with the characters. The children I work with love these activities and I hope you have an chance to try them.
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