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Nursery Rhymes: A Thematic Unit

Sheldon, The Sharing Sheep Kit

Let nursery rhymes take hold of your preschool or kindergarten class for a week this school year.  Instead of worrying about finding activities, try the ideas we have for you below.  They are sure to keep your students engaged and make your lesson planning a lot easier.

Theme:  Nursery Rhymes

Objective:  To learn five different nursery rhymes.


Monday – “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

Language Arts:  Read and recite “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in large group

Math:  Use Google Earth to map out a path from each child’s address to school and record the distance.  Make a class graph of how far each sheep would have to travel.

Science:  Discuss sheep’s wool and ow many items are made of wool.  Bring in samples of items for students to touch and feel.

Social Studies/Community:  Talk about sharing with Sheldon the Sharing Sheep.

Crafts:  Make Cotton Ball Sheep.


Tuesday – “Humpty Dumpty”

Language Arts:  Read and recite “Humpty Dumpty” in large group.

Math:  Cut out six large eggs from card stock or a manila folder.  Cut each one into smaller pieces to create a puzzle.  Label the back of each piece with the same number or cut them all out of different colored paper to avoid confusion.  Use the eggs in a puzzle center.

Science:  Discuss the differences and similarities between a hardboiled egg and a raw egg.

Social Studies/Community:  Even though all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again, talk with your students about some of the things that they could do to help and record their answers on a white board or chart paper.

Crafts: Create Composite Eggs.


Wednesday – “The Farmer in the Dell”

Language Arts:  Read and recite “The Farmer in the Dell” in large group.

Math:  Draw and count each character mentioned in the nursery rhyme.

Science:  Plant a bean in a clear plastic cup.

Social Studies/Community:  Visit a local farm or have a traveling farm representative come visit the class.

Crafts:  Create a farmer from the rhyme using a Blank Cardboard Kid.


Thursday – “I’m a Little Teapot”

Language Arts:  Read and recite “I’m a Little Teapot” in large group.

Math:  Measure and record heights of your students on a bar graph.  Have students problem solve to line up from shortest to tallest.

Science:  Experiment with tea by observing changes to a tea bag when it is put into cold water vs. hot water.  Record predications, observations, and conclusions.

Social Studies/Community:  Have tea and scones in the afternoon while discussing the British tradition of afternoon tea.

Crafts:  Make a Teapot with your students.


Friday – “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Language Arts:  Read and recite “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in large group.

Math:  Have toy boat races in the water table by blowing on the boats to see which one gets to the end the fastest.  Time each student and graph the results.

Science:  Discuss the differences between moving water (such as a stream) and still water (such as a pond).  Talk about what animals you might find in each and how their habitats are both similar and different.

Social Studies/Community:  Look at a map of the area around your school and point out water bodies.  Have students color in a map of the local area or the state, paying particular attention to waterways.

Crafts:  Make a tinfoil boat.

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What a great idea. I would live to have these thematic boxes with books in Spanish. There are so few materials for elementary foreign language.


These are great ideas! Our literacy program starts out with nursery rhymes! I can use some of these ideas for the unit. I especially like the science suggestions.


I love this idea!! My kindergarteners always loved learning about things they had a concrete understanding of (such as a nursery rhyme) - talk about balanced literacy!! I can't wait to dive deeper into this thematic unit!!


Cute ideas! These could even be used with first graders for the first few weeks of school. :)