What Are Some Nursery Rhyme Songs?

nursery-rhyme-songs Credit: Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images

Some of the most popular and well-loved nursery rhyme songs include "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" and "Humpty Dumpty." While some of these songs are intended as pure singalongs, others may be more interactive.

While broader entertainment culture changes quickly with the times, English nursery rhymes tend to remain constant. Many of the best-known nursery rhymes today date back to the 17th and 18th century, relics of British childhood games. As such, many of these rhymes carry with them coded historical narratives, some of which comment on the politics of their times. For example, today's "Ring Around the Rosie" is derived from the 18th-century song "Ring a Ring O' Roses." "Georgie Porgie" is another contemporary nursery rhyme based on British politics, though its specific object is unknown.

Whatever the origins of these rhymes, psychologists have long argued that they may be instrumental to children's development. Nursery rhymes facilitate memory processes and aid in the development of linguistic skill. Additionally, these rhymes often include a visual or physical component, so that all of the child's senses and physical faculties are engaged. Nursery rhymes can even foster social development: when multiple children sing nursery rhymes together, the parallel interactions help to form social bonds.