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Mother Goose Games!

To celebrate the Winter Olympics, I decided to do a nursery rhyme based track and field day for little kids. I was inspired primarily by the Westerville Library's Nursery Rhyme Olympics, and also paired in ideas from The Preschool Calendar teacher reference book, which had a suggestion for a Preschool Olympics. From there, I took the egg on a spoon race and turned it into a game based on Humpty Dumpty.

The first thing we did is go around the room and say all the nursery rhymes together to reinforce the rhymes for everyone. Nursery rhymes are a wonderful way to develop early literacy skills.

Jack Be Nimble Hurdles: I made candlesticks out of paper towel tubes saved by the maintenance staff and Christmas light Ellison die cuts. The die cuts are taped inside the tube using double stick tape.

 Wee Willie Winkie Town Tour (Pillowsack Race): I brought some spare pillowcases from home and the kids hopped from one side of the room to the other.

Humpty Dumpty's Challenge (Egg on a Spoon Race):  We used egg shakers and plastic spoons.  Again, from one side of the room to the other.

Jack and Jill Basketball: I used sand pails and these little Earth-shaped balls that we had in storage.

Ring Around the Rosy: I used traffic cones and discus-things we had already.

One idea that I did not do at this particular program, but that I do love from The Preschool Calendar was a Walking Backwards race, which would pair really excellently with Silly Sally and would be great fun to end a storytime. I also think it would be fun to do one of these games to end every storytime in a session (our sessions are 7 weeks, so I'd need 2 more games), but what a fun way to bring early literacy to life, right?

We did not have great attendance (around 10 kids) for this program, but it's hard to say why. Whether it didn't appeal to people particularly or because it was in a bad time of year for programming (winter in Michigan), I don't know. One thing I think of a parent of a young child myself, is that it is better to do this type of program once a week and give it a play-group type atmosphere. When programs are weekly, parents know when to expect something and work it in to their routine. If you have 4 weeks in a month: you could concentrate on different skills each week: art, music, literacy, and maybe large motor skills development. This could be a good combination of literacy and large motor skills (throwing, jumping, hopping, etc.)

This is a good program to demonstrate that you can put on a decent program just by using things that you have at home or at the library already, or that are readily and cheaply available. It's also a good example of how everything looks more professional if you take the time to whip up a quick sign in Publisher and stick it in a clear sign holder. All the clip art used for these signs is from Microsoft Office.

These Nursery Rhyme Printable Books from the State Library of Louisiana are really cute and would make a good take-home activity for families too. 


  1. I made the same sort of Jack Be Nimble candlestick props for jumping. The kids loved that activity. This is such a fun idea...great job!

  2. These are great ideas--thanks for sharing. I try to make nursery rhymes interactive in my story times, too, but I haven't set aside an entire program for them. I may try!

    Happy day,
    "Miss Lisa," NC

  3. Awesome!! Looks like fun

    Mickie @WPL

  4. Thank you so much for the program ideas! My library has done a mother goose Olympics the last 2 years, it is such a fun program to present. Check out my program here:

  5. This is great, thank you so much! It will be a great program for this summer's reading theme.


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