While on holiday my folks taught Thomas, and reminded me, of two nursery rhymes that I had completely forgotten. He loves both of them because they are accompanied by physical movements. This means that not only do they meet a need for physical touch and action, but he can ask other people to say them to him very easily by miming the actions.
Round and Round the Garden
The first one goes like this:
Round and round the garden
Like a teddy bear
One step, two step
And tickle him under there.
As you say the first two lines you hold the child’s hand palm up and trace circles around his palm with your index finger. During this part Thomas invented his own step which was to close his hand so that we couldn’t continue with the rhyme. We had to ask him to open it before we could go on. For the third line you touch the inside of the child’s wrist when you say ‘one step’ and then the crook of the arm for ‘two step’. Finally, on ‘tickle him under there’ you tickle him under the armpit.
The problem with this nursery rhyme is that Thomas doesn’t seem to get bored of it. If you do it once you have to do it a hundred times. He decides which hand he wants you to do it on and holds it out for you. Alternatively, he will take your hand and, while you say the rhyme, he will do the actions.
Shake Hands Brother
The second rhyme is a bit more sinister. It comes from Ireland and goes a bit like this.
Shake hands brother
(You’re a rogue and I’m another)
You stole a cow and I stole another.
You’ll be hung in Ballinalime
And I’ll be hung in Ballinatother.
As you say this rhyme you have to shake the child’s hand to the beat. The second line (in brackets) is optional; my mother uses it but my dad doesn’t. The two place names are approximations because I was never actually sure of what was being said. ‘Ballin’ is a common prefix for towns in Ireland and can either mean ‘town’ or ‘mouth of a river’ depending on the original gaelic meaning.
Thomas loves both of these rhymes and I do to. I remember hearing them as a kid so I am determined to keep them alive with Thomas now. Not only do they help with language learning but they also provide a link to my childhood as well.
Hey Diddle, Diddle and other favourite nursery rhymes – happybeahbeah.wordpress.com
Importance of Nursery Rhymes – blossomnursery.wordpress.com