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The 25 Best Children’s Nursery Rhymes With Actions

Teach your kids these awesome nursery rhymes with actions, including some of the most popular, traditional rhymes as well as newer songs.

Nursery rhymes are educational and you should expose your young child to different types of rhymes and songs to reap all the benefits.

In fact, exposing your child to regular music activities is vital for their development.

Below you will find these five types of nursery rhymes for children, including the actions for all those that have movements.

  • rhyming songs
  • finger rhymes
  • action songs
  • hand-clapping songs
  • number songs

Nursery rhymes develop your child’s:

  • vocabulary and sentence construction
  • sound awareness (auditory perception)
  • understanding of rhyming patterns
  • concentration and listening skills
  • memory (in repetition)

Finger plays go a step further and develop 

Action rhymes also build:

  • gross motor coordination
  • body awareness
  • following instructions in sequence
  • remembering repeated actions (memory)

Clapping games are great for developing:

  • bilateral coordination (getting both sides of the body to work together)
  • midline crossing
  • concentration while remembering the sequences
  • hand-eye coordination

Throw in some number rhymes and you’ll also be working on:

  • Order and sequencing
  • Number concept
  • Ascending and descending (counting forwards and backwards)

Here are 25 of the best nursery rhymes for children, with lyrics and actions.

Rhyming Songs

Here are some traditional rhymes for children.

1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are

2. Are You Sleeping

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing
Morning bells are dinging
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

3. Muffin Man

Oh, do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Oh, do you know the muffin man,
That lives on Drury Lane?

Oh, yes, I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Oh, yes, I know the muffin man,
That lives on Drury Lane.

4. Hey Diddle Diddle 

Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

5. Baa Baa Black Sheep

Baa, baa, black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir
Three bags full

One for the master
And one for the dame
One for the little boy
Who lives down the lane

Baa, baa, black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir
Three bags full

Here are 12 more great songs for preschoolers.

Finger Rhymes 

Exercise those little fingers with these finger plays.

6. Little Bunny Foo Foo

Little Bunny Foo Foo
(make bunny ears with your fingers and make them hop around)
Hopping through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice
(pretend to scoop up a mouse with your fist)
And bopping them on the head.
(smack the top of your fist with your other hand)
And down, down, down came the Good Fairy, and said:
“Little Bunny Foo Foo
I don’t want to see you
(wag your finger as if to say ‘no’)
Scooping up the field mice
(pretend to scoop up a mouse with your fist)
And bopping them on the head.
(smack the top of your fist with your other hand)
I’m going to give you three chances,
(show the number of chances with your fingers)
And if you don’t behave,
I’m going to turn you into a…goon!”

Little Bunny Foo Foo
(make bunny ears with your fingers and make them hop around)
Hopping through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice
(pretend to scoop up a mouse with your fist)
And bopping them on the head.
(smack the top of your fist with your other hand)
And down, down, down came the Good Fairy, and said:
“Little Bunny Foo Foo
I don’t want to see you
(wag your finger as if to say ‘no’)
Scooping up the field mice
(pretend to scoop up a mouse with your fist)
And bopping them on the head.
(smack the top of your fist with your other hand)
I’m going to give you two more chances,
(show the number of chances with your fingers)
And if you don’t behave,
Then, I am going to turn you into a…goon!”

Little Bunny Foo Foo
(make bunny ears with your fingers and make them hop around)
Hopping through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice
(pretend to scoop up a mouse with your fist)
And bopping them on the head.
(smack the top of your fist with your other hand)
And down, down, down came the Good Fairy, and said:
“Little Bunny Foo Foo
I don’t like your attitude
(wag your finger as if to say ‘no’)
Scooping up the field mice
(pretend to scoop up a mouse with your fist)
And bopping them on the head.
(smack the top of your fist with your other hand)
I’m going to give you one more chance,
(show the number of chances with your fingers)
And if you don’t behave,
I am definitely going to turn you into a…goon!”

Little Bunny Foo Foo
(make bunny ears with your fingers and make them hop around)
Hopping through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice
(pretend to scoop up a mouse with your fist)
And bopping them on the head.
(smack the top of your fist with your other hand)
“That’s it.”
Then the Good Fairy came down,
And she turned Little Bunny Foo Foo into a…goon!

[Listen to the tune on youTube]

Here are some more fun animal songs for preschoolers.

7. The Itsy Bitsy Spider

black spider

The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the water spout.
(wiggle fingers like a spider walking up a spout) 
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.
(wiggle fingers from top to bottom with palms forward)
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,
(make a circle over your head, move side to side) 
and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again
(wiggle fingers like a spider walking up a spout again) 

8. Little Peter Rabbit 

Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose, (repeat twice)
And he flicked it ’til it flew away.

rabbit = hands up on head like rabbit ears
nose = point to nose
flicked = flicking motion with fingers
flew = flap hands like wings

[Listen to the tune on YouTube]

9. This Little Piggy

This little piggy went to market.
(hold up thumb) 
This little piggy stayed home.
(hold up index finger) 
This little piggy had roast beef.
(hold up middle finger) 
This little piggy had none.
(hold up ring finger) 
And this little piggy went “wee, wee, wee all the way home.”
(hold up baby finger and wiggle it)

10. Where is Thumbkin 

(Start with hands behind back)
Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?
Here I am.
(bring right hand to front, with thumb up)
Here I am.
(bring left hand to front, with thumb up)
How are you this morning?
Very well, I thank you.
(Wiggle thumbs as if they’re ‘talking’ together)
Run away.
(hide right hand behind back)
Run away.
(hide left hand behind back)

(Repeat rhyme with each finger: Pointer, Tall Man, Ring Man, and Pinkie)

[source]

Enjoying these? Here are more finger rhymes for preschool kids.

Action Songs

Get your kids moving with these action-packed songs.

11. Shake My Wiggles Out

Gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
And wiggle my waggles away
(shake body for entire verse) 

I gotta clap, clap, clap my crazies out
Clap, clap, clap my crazies out
Clap, clap, clap my crazies out
And wiggle my waggles away
(clap through entire verse) 

I gotta jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
Jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
Jump, jump, jump my jiggles out
And wiggle my waggles away
(jump through entire verse) 

I gotta yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out
Yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out
Yawn, yawn, yawn my sleepies out
And wiggle my waggles away
(yawn through entire verse) 

I gotta shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
Shake, shake, shake my sillies out
And wiggle my waggles away
And wiggle my waggles away
(shake entire body for verse) 

[source]

12. Do as I’m Doing 

Do as I’m doing;
Follow, follow me!
Do as I’m doing;
Follow, follow me!
If I do it high or low,
If I do it fast or slow,
Do as I’m doing;
Follow, follow me!
Do as I’m doing;
Follow, follow me!

Actions: you can make any action you want and have your child follow. For example, clapping hands, rolling hands, jumping up and down, etc. 

[source]

13. Mrs. Sally Walker

(Mr. Wally Walker for boys) 

Have all the kids stand in a circle. Choose one person to be either Sally or Wally.

Mrs. Sally Walker
Walking down the street, 
(walk around the circle)
She didn’t know what to do
So she stopped in front of me
(stop in front of one person and start to dance)
She said, “Hey girl, 
Do your thing,
Do your thing, 
Do your thing,
Hey girl do your thing
Do your thing and switch!”
(switch spots and start over again)

[source]

14. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

friendly big bear

We’re goin’ on a bear hunt,
(march in place) 
We’re going to catch a big one,
(hands make a huge circle) 
I’m not scared
(shake your finger back and forth) 
What a beautiful day!
Oh look! It’s some long, wavy grass!
(wiggle fingers upward like waves)
Can’t go over it,
(hand motion for over) 
Can’t go under it,
(hand motion for under) 
Oh, no! 
(cover eyes with hands)
Got to go through it!
Swishy, swashy, 
Swishy, swashy! 
(act like you’re going through the grass) 

We’re goin’ on a bear hunt,
(march in place) 
We’re going to catch a big one,
(hands make a huge circle) 
I’m not scared
(shake your finger back and forth) 
What a beautiful day!
Uh-uh! 
A river!
(hands making waves like a river)
Can’t go over it,
(hand motion for over) 
Can’t go under it,
(hand motion for under) 
Oh no!
Got to go through it!
(cover eyes with hands)
Splash, splash!
Splash, splash!
(act like you’re swimming) 

We’re goin’ on a bear hunt,
(march in place) 
We’re going to catch a big one,
(hands make a huge circle) 
I’m not scared
(shake your finger back and forth) 
What a beautiful day!
Uh-uh! Mud. 
Thick oozy mud. 
Can’t go over it,
(hand motion for over) 
Can’t go under it,
(hand motion for under) 
Oh, no! 
We’ve got to go through it!
(cover eyes with hands)
Squelch squerch! 
Squelch squerch!
(act like you’re walking in deep mud) 

We’re goin’ on a bear hunt,
(march in place)
We’re going to catch a big one,
(hands make a huge circle) 
I’m not scared
(shake your finger back and forth) 
What a beautiful day!
Uh-uh! A forest! 
A big dark forest. 
We can’t go over it. 
(hand motion for over) 
We can’t go under it. 
(hand motion for under) 
Oh no! We’ve got to go through it! 
(cover eyes with hands)
Stumble trip! 
Stumble trip!
(pretend to stumble) 

We’re going on a bear hunt,
(march in place)
We’re going to catch a big one.
(hands make a huge circle) 
What a beautiful day!
I’m not scared.
(shake your finger back and forth) 
Uh-uh!
A snowstorm!
A swirling whirling snowstorm.
We can’t go over it.
(hand motion for over) 
We can’t go under it.
(hand motion for under) 
Oh no!
We’ve got to go through it!
(cover eyes with hands)
Hooo wooo! Hooo wooo! 
(act like you can’t see walking through a storm)

We’re going on a bear hunt
(march in place)
We’re goin’ catch a big one.
(hands make a huge circle) 
What a beautiful day!
I’m not scared.
(shake your finger back and forth) 
Uh-uh!
A cave!
A narrow gloomy cave.
We can’t go over it.
(hand motion for over) 
We can’t go under it.
(hand motion for under) 
Oh, no!
We’ve got to go through it!
(cover eyes with hands)
Tiptoe! Tiptoe! 
(quietly tiptoe)

What’s that?
(act like you’re feeling the bear) 
One shiny wet nose!
Two big furry ears!
Two big goggly eyes!
IT’S A BEAR!

Hurry through the snowstorm,
(run through the snowstorm) 
Back through the forest,
(stumble) 
Back back through the mud,
(big steps in the mud) 
Back through the river,
(swim)
Back through the long grass
(move your hands through the grass) 
Run in the house and lock the door.
(run and pretend to shut a door)
Phew! That was close!
(swipe your hand across your forehead)
I’m not afraid!
(shake finger back and forth)

[Listen on YouTube]

15. The Dinosaur Stomp

Dinosaurs have great big feet that stomp, stomp, stomp
(stomp around) 
Dinosaurs have great big teeth that chomp, chomp, chomp
(clap hands together like big jaws)
Stomp, stomp, stomp
(stomp around) 
And chomp, chomp, chomp
(clap hands together like big jaws)
Stomp, stomp, stomp
(stomp around) 
And a chomp, chomp, chomp
(clap hands together like big jaws)

Stompasaurus, stomp, stomp
(stomp around) 
Chompasaurus, chomp, chomp
(clap hands together like big jaws)
I’m a saurus, stomp, stomp 
(stomp around) 
You’re a saurus, chomp, chomp
(clap hands together like big jaws)

Dinosaurs have great big claws that crunch, crunch, crunch
(clap hands together)
Dinosaurs have great big jaws that munch, munch, munch
(clap your fingers to palms)
Crunch, crunch, crunch
(clap hands together)
And a munch, munch, munch
(clap your fingers to palms)
Crunch, crunch, crunch
(clap hands together)
And a munch, munch, munch
(clap your fingers to palms)

Crunchasaurus, crunch, crunch
(clap hands together)
Munchasaurus, munch, munch
(clap your fingers to palms)
I’m a saurus, crunch, crunch
(clap hands together)
You’re a saurus, munch, munch
(clap your fingers to palms)

Stompin’ and a chompin’
(clap hands together)
Crunchin’ and a munchin’
(clap your fingers to palms)
Stompin’ and a chompin’
(clap hands together)
Crunchin’ and a munchin’
(clap your fingers to palms)

Stompasaurus, stomp, stomp
(stomp around) 
Chompasaurus, chomp, chomp
(clap hands together like big jaws)
Crunchasaurus, crunch, crunch
(clap hands together)
Munchasaurus, munch, munch
(clap your fingers to palms)

I’m a saurus, stomp, stomp 
(stomp around) 
You’re a saurus, chomp, chomp
(clap hands together like big jaws)
We’re a saurus, crunch, crunch
(clap hands together)
Dinosaurus, munch, munch
(clap your fingers to palms)

Dinosaurs have great big feet that stomp, stomp, stomp
(stomp around) 
Dinosaurs have great big teeth that chomp, chomp, chomp
(clap hands together like big jaws)
Dinosaurs!

[Listen to the tune on YouTube]

Here are more action songs to teach your kids.

Hand Clapping Songs

Hand-clapping songs have been around forever and are heaps of fun. Try these basic ones. 

16. A Sailor Went to Sea

young sailor with boat wheel

Clap your hands together for one count and then clap one hand with your partner, then clap the other hand with your partner. When you repeat the words three times, clap your partner’s hands three times. Then repeat for the entire song. 

A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,
To see what he could see, see, see.
But all that he could see, see, see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.

A sailor went to chop, chop, chop,
To see what he could chop, chop, chop.
But all that he could chop, chop, chop
Was the bottom of the deep blue chop, chop, chop.

A sailor went to knee, knee, knee,
To see what he could knee, knee, knee,
But all that he could knee, knee, knee,
Was the bottom of the deep blue knee, knee, knee.

A sailor went to sea, chop, knee,
To see what he could sea, chop, knee,
But all that he could sea, chop, knee,
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, chop, knee.

Check out these other ocean songs for preschoolers.

17. Miss Lucy

(clap own hands
clap right hand with partner
clap own hands
clap left hand with partner
clap own hands
clap partner’s hands
clap own hands.
Repeat for the entire song.)
 

Miss Lucy had a baby,
She named him Tiny Tim.
She put him in the bathtub,
To see if he could swim.

He drank up all the water,
He ate up all the soap,
He tried to eat the bathtub,
But it wouldn’t go down his throat.

Miss Lucy called the doctor.
Miss Lucy called the nurse.
Miss Lucy called the lady.
With the alligator purse.

In came the doctor.
In came the nurse.
In came the lady,
With the alligator purse.

Mumps said the doctor.
Measles said the nurse.
Hiccups said the lady,
With the alligator purse.

Miss Lucy punched the doctor.
Miss Lucy kicked the nurse.
Miss Lucy thanked the lady,
With the alligator purse.

[Watch on YouTube]

18. Double This, Double That

As you are saying the rhyme, make fists and bump them with your partner whenever you say “double”. Whenever you say “this,” both hands clap with your partner. Whenever you say “that,” your palms face away from you and clap your partner. 

Double, double, this, this.
Double, double, that, that.
Double this, double that.
Double, double, this, that.

19. Down Down Baby

(clap own hands
clap right hand with partner
clap own hands
clap left hand with partner
clap own hands
clap partner’s hands
clap own hands.
Repeat for the entire song.)

Down, down baby, down by the roller coaster.
Sweet, sweet baby, I’ll never let you go.
Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop, shimmy, shimmy, pow!
Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop, shimmy, shimmy, pow!

Grandma, Grandma, sick in bed.
She called the doctor and the doctor said.
Let’s get the rhythm of the head, ding-dong.
Let’s get the rhythm of the head, ding-dong.

Let’s get the rhythm of the hands 
(clap hands twice)
Let’s get the rhythm of the hands 
(clap hands twice) 

Let’s get the rhythm of the feet
(stomp twice) 
Let’s get the rhythm of the feet
(stomp twice)

Let’s get the rhythm of the hot dog.
Let’s get the rhythm of the hot dog.

Put it all together and what do you get?
Ding-dong (clap twice and stomp twice)  hot dog
Put it all backwards and what do you get?
Hot dog (stomp twice and clap twice) ding-dong!

[source]

20. Miss Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back

She asked her mother, mother, mother
For fifty cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants (or hippos or cows)
Jump the fence, fence, fence.

They jumped so high, high, high
They reached the sky, sky, sky
And didn’t (or never) come back, back, back
Till the 4th of July ly ly.

She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 5 cents more, more, more
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump the door, door, door.

They jumped to the flow, flow, flow
They stubbed their toe, toe, toe
And that was the end, end, end
Of the elephant show, show, show.

[Listen to the tune on YouTube]

Try these fun clapping games for kids.

Number Songs:

Get some fun counting practice in with these favourites.

21. Five Little Ducks Went Swimming

5 little ducks

Five little ducks went swimming one day
Over the hills and far away
The little duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
And only four little ducks came back

Four little ducks went swimming one day
Over the hills and far away
The little duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
And only three little ducks came back

Three little ducks went swimming one day
Over the hills and far away
The little duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
And only two little ducks came back

Two little ducks went swimming one day
Over the hills and far away
The little duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
And only one little duck came back

One little duck went swimming one day
Over the hills and far away
The little duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
And then no more little ducks came back

[source]

22. This Old Man

This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on my thumb;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played two,
He played knick-knack on my shoe;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played three,
He played knick-knack on my knee;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played four,
He played knick-knack on my door;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played five,
He played knick-knack on my hive;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played six,
He played knick-knack on my sticks;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played seven,
He played knick-knack up in heaven;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played eight,
He played knick-knack on my gate;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played nine,
He played knick-knack on my spine;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played ten,
He played knick-knack once again;
With a knick-knack paddywhack,
Give the dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

23. Hickory Dickory Dock

grandfather clock

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck two
The mouse turned blue
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck three
He drank his tea
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck four
Look at him snore
Hickory dickory dock. 

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck five
He went to hide
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck six
He licked his lips
Hickory dickory dock.

24. There Were Ten in the Bed

There were ten in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over and
one fell out.

There were nine in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were eight in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were seven in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were six in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were five in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were four in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were three in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were two in the bed
And the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There was one in the bed
And the little one said,
“Alone at last!”
“Good Night!”

[Listen to the tune on YouTube]

25. Three Little Kittens

Three little kittens they lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear
Our mittens we have lost.
What! lost your mittens, you naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
No, you shall have no pie.

The three little kittens they found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear, see here, see here,
Our mittens we have found!
Put on your mittens, you silly kittens,
And you shall have some pie.
Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r,
Oh, let us have some pie.

The three little kittens put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie;
Oh, mother dear, we greatly fear
Our mittens we have soiled.
What! soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens!
Then they began to sigh,
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
Then they began to sigh.

The three little kittens they washed their mittens,
And hung them out to dry;
Oh! mother dear, do you not hear,
Our mittens we have washed!
What! washed your mittens, then you’re good kittens,
But I smell a rat close by.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
We smell a rat close by.

[source]

Here are 10 more counting songs your kids will love, or why not sing some nursery rhymes about sleep tonight.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these songs. Ready to keep teaching your child through music? Try these fun and simple music games.


Would you like a year of done-for-you, ten-minute activities to teach your 3-5-year-old through play? Get your copy of the Learning Through Play Activity Pack for only $27.

Activity Pack for preschoolers

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