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Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Poetry

Do you want to remember the rhymes handed down through generations for your own children? Begin with our collection of classic English and American nursery rhymes, and then go on to choose one of our recommended books of poems for kids. The other links below with take you to more online collections of nonsense rhymes, traditional songs, Mother Goose rhymes and their derivations, and all kinds of poems for children.

Classic Nursery Rhymes
A collection of classic English and American nursery rhymesthe lullabyes, counting games, riddles and rhymed fables that are childrens earliest experiences of poetry.

Nursery Rhymes All Kinds
“Nursery rhymes” is really a generic term. It covers a whole variety of poems for kids—the lullabyes, counting games, riddles and rhymed fables that introduce us to the rhythmic, mnemonic, allegorical uses of language in songs sung to us by our mothers and other elders. Here’s an annotated list of some of the varieties of nursery rhymes, with linked examples.

Guide Picks – Poem Collections for Children
One of the best things you can do for your children is to read to them and with them from a very early age. And some of the best things you can read with them are poems. Here’s a selected shopping list of some of the best poem collections for kids.

The First Poem I Ever Knew
Share your first nursery rhyme, the first poem you ever knew by heart.

“Aphrodite, Hecate, Witch — Mother Goose?!”
Maeschilde’s footnoted tracing of the connections between Mother Goose and mythological figures, pre-Christian symbols and witches, is reprinted in a few different pagan journals and Web sites.

“The Bread of Life”
Subtitled “Children & Poetry in Non-Traditional Places,” M.L. Liebler’s essay appeared in Rattle’s special issue on children and poetry which is no longer available online, but you can still read his musings on the importance of poetry in our lives at his own Web site.

BusSongs Nursery Rhymes
BusSongs is a large collection of children’s songs with lyrics, videos and music for more than 2,000 songs, including traditional nursery rhymes, lullabies, and rounds.

Chansons populaire et enfantines
Thierry Klein has gathered all the French songs and traditional rhymes you’ll ever want to know, in text and midi files.

A Child’s Garden of Verses
No directory of children’s favorite poetry should be without Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic volume, published online in its entirety at Poets’ Corner.

Children’s Poetry Archive
The Poetry Archive, founded by British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion and recording producer Richard Carrington, is a great collection of audio files of poets reading their own work. The children’s section is searchable by poet, poem form and theme, everything from fathers to sports to memory to morning. Bravo!

English Rhymes
The vast India Parenting site has this very useful because it’s searchable collection of more than 80 English nursery rhymes, plus smaller collections of rhymes in various Indian languages: Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Bengali & Kannada.

Giggle Poetry
From Bruce Lansky and Meadowbrook Press, Giggle Poetry is a bundle of fun with funny poetry for kids: collections of favorite poems and school poems, tongue-twisters, poetry theater, fill-in-the-blank poem games, poems to read and rate, poetry class and poetry contests.

Steven Herrick, Children’s Poet
Steven Herrick is a wonderful Australian writer who began his poetry career writing poems for adults and travelling the world—now he writes poems for children, young-adult novels, and spends most of his time giving performances and workshops at Australian schools.

The Hunting of the Snark
Lewis Carroll’s classic is at Poets’ Corner: “Inscribed to a dear Child: / in memory of golden summer hours / and whispers of a summer sea.” Also here are the poems from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

It’s A Small World: International Nursery Rhymes
A project of New Zealand’s Diversity Action Programme, It’s A Small World collects nursery rhymes from around the world and finds English translations for them.

From Emmi Tarr, “for kids of all ages,” here are poems of all shapes and sizes, everything from “Critter ABC’s” to Ogden Nash to “Homegrown Poems” from schools and from the Web.

KidzSing Garden of Songs
Emmi Tarr’s site has a large collection of nursery rhymes and other traditional songs for kids, with music to sing along to.

Mama Lisa’s House of Nursery Rhymes
Some of Mama Lisa’s rhymes are old standards like “Hey Diddle Diddle” and “Pop Goes the Weasel,” some are not so well known, but all are accompanied by delightful illustrations and those with drawings marked “click me” are accompanied by wav sound files.

Mother Goose on the Web
The Internet Public Library’s youth collection has read-along versions of “Three Little Kittens,” “Mother Hubbard” and “Little Red Riding Hood” narrated in RealAudio by Trudy Bulkley.

The Mother Goose Pages
An extensive alphabetized list of nursery rhymes, plus advice about reading rhymes to children of various ages and an alphabet coloring book you can print.

Nursery Rhymes at Zelo.com
This large collection of rhymes includes all the old standards plus many traditional songs like “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad,” “Knick Knack Paddy Whack” and “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”

Nursery Rhymes - Lyrics, Origins & History
Did you know that Humpty Dumpty was a 17th century English cannon, or that “Ring Around the Rosie” originated as a way of skirting Protestant bans on dancing? Rhymes.org (UK) has gathered the words and secret histories of hundreds of English nursery rhymes.

Nursery Rhymes for Our Times
Complaining that traditional nursery rhymes are “so archaic as to appear to be nonsense,” Douglas Crockford offers a series of updated rhymes replete with tech references.

Poetry for Kids
Kenn Nesbitt is a Spokane, Washington software engineer who also writes funny poems for kids and gives entertaining performances in schools. His site is a rich resource, full of poems and how-to ideas about rhyming.

World of the Child: Poetry
Mostly Victorian children’s poetry collections from the University of Delaware Library’s special exhibit, “200 Years of Children’s Books.”

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