23 Popular Nursery Rhymes and Songs for Babies With Lyrics

Welcome to our list of children’s songs and nursery rhymes. We’ve compiled a selection of the most popular, classic, and funny nursery rhymes, complete with lyrics and simple actions to sing along with your little one. These nursery rhymes are not only fun but also educational, making them an invaluable resource for your baby or older child’s learning and development.

What Is a Nursery Rhyme?

A nursery rhyme is a short, rhymed poem, song, or tale that is primarily used for entertaining and educating children. These rhymes are usually filled with simple, expressive language and often feature repetitive structures, making them easy for little minds to absorb and remember. Nursery rhymes have been an important part of children's literature for centuries. They often tell a story or teach a moral lesson, and serve as a tool to teach children about rhythm, rhyme, history, and tradition.

What are the Benefits of Nursery Rhymes for Babies and Kids?

Teaching nursery rhymes to babies and young children has a host of benefits that go beyond mere entertainment. These timeless verses stimulate language development and cognitive function, as they introduce children to the sounds and rhythms of language. Nursery rhymes also encourage early literacy skills, paving the way for smooth transitions into reading and writing. The repetitive structures and catchy melodies aid memory retention, teaching children how to anticipate language patterns. Moreover, nursery rhymes foster social skills as kids often recite or sing these rhymes in groups, nurturing a sense of community. Lastly, nursery rhymes often encompass universal life lessons, instilling in children a moral compass from a young age.

Nursery Rhymes for Babies and Toddlers

Are you searching for easy nursery rhymes for the smallest members of your family? These classic nursery rhymes for babies and toddlers, including the serene melody of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, and the adventurous tale of the Itsy Bitsy Spider, are fun and also play a crucial role in your child’s early learning and development.

1. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, (Open and close your hands to imitate the twinkling of a star) How I wonder what you are. (Shrug your shoulders and open your hands) Up above the world so high, (Point up to the sky) Like a diamond in the sky. (Make a diamond shape with your fingers) Twinkle, twinkle, little star, (Repeat the opening hand gesture) How I wonder what you are. (Shrug your shoulders and open your hands) This classic nursery rhyme song is perfect for newborns, infants, and toddlers as it has a simple melody and repetitive structure. It’s also the perfect lullaby to help your baby fall asleep.

2. “Pat-a-Cake”

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man (Clap your hands together) Bake me a cake as fast as you can. (Pretend to mix ingredients in a bowl) Roll it, and pat it, (Roll your hands together and then clap them) And mark it with B, (Make the letter “B” with your fingers) And put it in the oven for baby and me. (Pretend to put a cake in an oven) This chant-like rhyme not only teaches hand-eye coordination but also introduces children to basic vocabulary words like “cake” and “bake.”

3. “Itsy Bitsy Spider”

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout. (Use your hands to mimic a spider climbing up a waterspout) Down came the rain and washed the spider out. (Flutter your hands downwards like falling rain) Out came the sun, And dried up all the rain. (Make a circle with your arms to represent the sun) And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again. (Repeat the climbing motion with your hands) This cute and easy nursery rhyme teaches little ones about perseverance and overcoming obstacles in a fun and playful way. It also introduces them to the concept of nature and insects.

4. “This Little Piggy Went to Market”

This little piggy went to market. (touch big toe) This little piggy stayed home. (touch next biggest toe, and so on) This little piggy had roast beef. This little piggy had none. And this little piggy cried, "Wee, wee, wee!" All the way home. (tickle him all over) Chant this classic nursery rhyme song while changing your newborn’s diaper. Touch each toe as you go, starting with the biggest and moving down the row. When you get to the word “home,” tickle your baby all over, and watch them squeal with delight.

Nursery Rhymes for Preschoolers and Older Kids

Check out our charming list of nursery rhymes, carefully curated for both preschoolers and older children. These timeless tunes, including the rhythmic adventure of Row, Row, Row Your Boat and the warm melody of You Are My Sunshine, are more than just a joy to listen to. They play a crucial role in your child’s cognitive and emotional development. So, let’s embark on this whimsical musical journey, fostering a love for rhymes and songs in your kids, while creating unforgettable moments together.

5. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Row, row, row your boat (rock back and forth) Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily Life is but a dream. This fun and easy nursery rhyme teaches preschoolers about teamwork and cooperation, as they pretend to row a boat together. You could also vary the tempo for a fast boat ride or a slow one, or change the lyrics to get everyone giggling. Try substituting the last two lines for “If you see a crocodile, don’t forget to SCREAM!”

6. “BINGO”

There was a farmer who had a dog, And Bingo was his name-O. B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O! B-I-N-G-O! And Bingo was his name-O! There was a farmer who had a dog, And Bingo was his name-O. (Clap)-I-N-G-O! (Clap)-I-N-G-O! (Clap)-I-N-G-O! And Bingo was his name-O! There was a farmer who had a dog, And Bingo was his name-O! (Clap x2)-N-G-O! (Clap x2)-N-G-O! (Clap x2)-N-G-O! And Bingo was his name-O! There was a farmer who had a dog, And Bingo was his name-O. (Clap x3)-G-O! (Clap x3)-G-O! (Clap x3)-G-O! And Bingo was his name-O! There was a farmer who had a dog, And Bingo was his name-O. (Clap x4)-O! (Clap x4)-O! (Clap x4)-O! And Bingo was his name-O! There was a farmer who had a dog, And Bingo was his name-O. (Clap x5) (Clap x5) (Clap x5) And Bingo was his name-O! This fun and interactive rhyme teaches children about spelling, phonetics, and animal names. It’s also a great way to practice counting and learning numbers.

7. “The Grand Old Duke of York”

Oh, the grand old Duke of York, He had ten thousand men. He marched them up to the top of the hill, And he marched them down again. And when they were up, they were up, And when they were down, they were down, And when they were only halfway up, They were neither up nor down. This marching nursery rhyme teaches children about rhythm, coordination, and following instructions. Plus, they’ll have lots of fun standing up when the soldiers march up the hill and sitting down when the soldiers march down.

8. “You Are My Sunshine”

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away. This sweet and sentimental rhyme is perfect for singing to your child as a lullaby (because even older kids need soothing to sleep sometimes) or during quiet time. It’s also a great way to express your love and affection towards them. You can also try singing this song in different tempos and volumes, or using funny voices to make it fun and interactive.

9. “This Is the Way”

This is the way we brush our teeth, Brush our teeth, brush our teeth. This is the way we brush our teeth, Early in the morning. This is the way we wash our face, Wash our face, wash our face. This is the way we wash our face, Early in the morning. Repeat with more of your morning routine activities, for example, combing your hair, getting dressed, and eating breakfast. This fun and catchy nursery rhyme teaches children about daily routines and personal hygiene. It’s also a great way to introduce them to the importance of taking care of their teeth.

10. “Five Little Speckled Frogs”

Five little speckled frogs, (Hold up five fingers) Sat on a speckled log (Use your hand to mimic sitting on a log) Eating the most delicious bugs. Yum, yum! (Rub your tummy) One jumped into the pool, (Make a jumping motion with one finger) Where it was nice and cool. (Fan yourself with your hand like it’s hot) Then there were four green-speckled frogs. (Hold up four fingers) Repeat but with four frogs, and so on until there are no more frogs. This nursery rhyme is a popular one in preschool as it’s fun for a group of children. You can pick five children to act as the frogs instead of using your fingers. This fun nursery rhyme introduces your child to the concept of subtraction in a playful way. It also gives them an opportunity to learn about animals such as frogs, their behavior, and their habitat.

Classic and Famous Nursery Rhymes

These well-known and traditional English nursery rhymes have been part of childhoods for generations. From the jovial farm of Old McDonald to the adventurous story of Jack and Jill, they’re more than just common and popular; these nursery rhymes form a versatile and dynamic foundation for early learning.

11. “Old McDonald Had a Farm”

Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O! And on this farm he had a cow, E-I-E-I-O! With a moo, moo here And a moo, moo there. Here a moo, there a moo Everywhere a moo, moo. Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O! You can continue with whatever animals you like, such as duck (“quack, quack”), dog (“woof, woof”), cat (“meow, meow”), sheep (“baa, baa”), and horse (“neigh, neigh”). This popular nursery rhyme is engaging, the sounds are enjoyable to mimic and the lyrics can help your baby learn the names of different animals. You can sing it while taking your child to the zoo or a farm, or when you’re reading a picture book that features animals. You can also make the animal sounds whenever you see them. Your child will be delighted to find that everything is so familiar.

12. “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

Mary had a little lamb, Little lamb, little lamb. Mary had a little lamb Its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, Mary went, Mary went, Everywhere that Mary went The lamb was sure to go.

13. “Humpty Dumpty”

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. (tip baby back slightly) All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Couldn't put Humpty together again.

14. “Jack and Jill”

Jack and Jill went up the hill To fetch a pail of water; Jack fell down and broke his crown, And Jill came tumbling after. Up Jack got, and home did trot, As fast as he could caper; He went to bed to mend his head, With vinegar and brown paper.

15. “Baa Baa Black Sheep”

Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, Three bags full! One for the master, One for the dame, And one for the little boy Who lives down the lane. This well-known, classic nursery rhyme is perfect for introducing children to the concept of colors, sharing, and caring for others. It’s also a great way to practice counting and learning numbers.

Funny Nursery Rhymes

Bring a smile to your child’s face with our list of funny nursery rhymes! Among these classic rhymes, you’ll find the amusing tale of Hey Diddle Diddle, where the cat plays the fiddle and the cow makes an astounding leap over the moon, and the humorous rhyme Down by the Bay, where you’ll meet many silly sights. These nursery rhymes and songs are not only enjoyable but also stimulate your child’s imagination while helping them develop language skills.

16. “Hey Diddle Diddle”

Hey diddle diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon; The little dog laughed To see such fun, And the dish ran away with the spoon. This funny and popular nursery rhyme for infants and children is perfect for introducing them to the concept of imagination and creativity.

17. “Little Miss Muffet”

Little Miss Muffet Sat on a tuffet, Eating her curds and whey; Along came a spider, Who sat down beside her And frightened Miss Muffet away. This humorous rhyme is also perfect for introducing children to the concept of fear and facing it, to help with their emotional development.

18. “Down by the Bay”

Down by the bay, Where the watermelons grow, Back to my home, I dare not go. For if I do, My mother will say: “Did you ever see a cat earing a hat? Down by the bay.” Repeat this as many times as you like but replace “cat” and “hat” with other fun rhyming words. For example, “Did you ever see a bear combing his hair?” or “a snake eating a cake?” Encourage your little one to come up with their own silly combinations. This funny nursery rhyme for kids is perfect for introducing children to the concept of rhyme and creativity.

19. “Five Little Monkeys”

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, One fell off and bumped his head. Mama called the doctor, And the doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” Repeat with four little monkeys jumping on the bed, until there are no more little monkeys jumping on the bed. This entertaining song teaches children about behavior and provides a fun way to learn counting. It’s also an excellent way to introduce them to the concept of following instructions.

Spanish Nursery Rhymes

Whether your child is a native Spanish speaker, bilingual, or a beginner to the language, we’ve created a list of delightful Spanish nursery rhymes to introduce to your little one. These classic tunes offer a fun and engaging way to immerse your children in the vibrant Spanish language and culture.

20. “Cucú Cantaba la Rana”

Cucú, cantaba la rana, Cucú, debajo del agua. Cucú, pasó un caballero, Cucú, con capa y sombrero. Cucú, pasó una señora, Cucú, con traje de cola. Cucú, pasó un marinero, Cucú, vendiendo romero. Cúcú, le pidió un ramito, Cúcú, no le quiso dar Cúcú y se echó a llorar. This catchy Spanish nursery rhyme is about a little frog and the people that pass by each day. This will not only make learning fun but also help with their language development.

21. “A Mi Burro”

A mi burro, a mi burro le duele la cabeza; y el médico le ha dado una gorrita gruesa. Una gorrita gruesa, mi burro enfermo está mi burro enfermo esta. A mi burro, a mi burro le duelen las orejas; y el médico le ha dado jarabe de frambuesa jarabe de frambuesa Una gorrita gruesa, mi burro enfermo está. Mi burro enfermo esta A mi burro, a mi burro le duele la garganta; y el médico le manda una bufanda blanca. Una bufanda blanca Jarabe de frambuesa Una gorrita gruesa mi burro enfermo está Mi burro enfermo esta. You can continue with more verses as shown in the video below. This song about a sick donkey, teaches children about different body parts and the importance of looking after yourself when you’re not well.

22. “Un Elefante”

Un elefante no es elegante no usa sombrero corbata ni guantes La trompa muy larga, la panza gigante, las patas muy gruesas y orejas muy grandes Pero eso, ya sabes, no es lo importante pues ya es especial ser un elefante. This cute Spanish nursery rhyme teaches children that it’s important to be themselves and embrace their unique qualities, just like the elephant with its long trunk and big ears. After singing this song, talk about how everyone is special in their own way. This will not only make learning enjoyable but also promote self-acceptance.

23. “Sol, solecito”

Sol Solecito Sol solecito caliéntame un poquito. Por hoy, por mañana, por toda la semana. Lunes Martes Miércoles Jueves Viernes Sábado Domingo Luna lunera cascabelera, mañana volaré porque el mundo me espera. This lovely Spanish nursery rhyme teaches children about the days of the week and also encourages them to embrace each day with excitement. Sing this rhyme and encourage your child to act out the movements of a warm sun, a playful moon, and yourself flying.

Our Favorite Nursery Rhyme

From our list of famous and classic nursery rhymes, we’ve picked one of our favorites: Itsy Bitsy Spider. This easy, short, and cute nursery rhyme is perfect for babies, toddlers, and older kids, and even has some fun actions.

The Bottom Line

These nursery rhymes serve as a wonderful tool to entertain and educate your child. They offer an engaging way to introduce early learning concepts, while also fostering a love for music and language. Remember, it’s not just about the rhymes; it’s the joy, the laughter, and the learning experiences they bring. So, go ahead and introduce these classics to your little one and watch them learn and grow through the enchanting world of nursery rhymes.