Bookbug Detective: Modern Nursery Rhymes and Songs

The Bookbug Detective is here to help you with any questions you have about books, reading, songs and rhymes for your little one. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a question to answer below. If you'd like some book recommendations or advice, send the Bookbug Detective an email or post your question in the comments below.

My 1-year-old son loves nursery rhymes but we end up doing the same ones over and over because I only really know the ones I learnt as a child (e.g. Round & round the garden, Little Miss Muffet, Humpty Dumpty). Could you recommend some more modern songs and rhymes?

Yes, of course! It’s great that you’re already doing songs and rhymes with your son and don’t worry about using the same ones over and over – repetition is really beneficial for young children as it gives them a chance to catch all the words and really learn them.

However, it’s also good to introduce some new ones every now and then (for your own sanity more than anything else!). Don’t introduce them all at the same time though; it’ll be comforting to your little one if you intersperse them amongst the old favourites.

Before I list some suggestions, can I recommend you have a wee look at the Songs & Rhymes pages on our website? There are lots of songs and rhymes on there, many with a video too so that you can see the actions. And if you’re ever stuck for the words or tune to a song, YouTube is very handy. Or you can always call the Bookbug office - we will be happy to sing down the phone to you!

You can always call the Bookbug office - we will be happy to sing down the phone to you!

Anyway, here are some of my favourites:

Roon Aboot Moose – this is a Scots version of Round & Round the Garden. Try and hold off the tickle at the end for as long as possible. The anticipation will make it all the more fun. Try it on each hand, and even tummies and feet.
Mmm, mmm, went the Little Green Frog – this is a really silly one and always causes much hilarity.
Cross, cross, line, line – a huge favourite at Bookbug Sessions, this rhyme involves various different types of touch, and a squeeze at the end. Babies and toddlers love it!
Sleeping Bunnies – starts off quiet and sleepy, but then when the bunnies wake up there’s loads of hopping around. A great action song.
Eyes, nose, cheeky, cheeky chin – a great way to learn different parts of the face. You could take it in turns and get your son to do it to you too.
Mum and dad and uncle John – a great horsey rhyme. Bounce your little one on your knee and sway gently to either side when Mum and Dad fall off. You could try going faster and slower with this one.
Row, row, row your boat – definitely a classic this one, but I wondered if you knew the other verses? (...gently down the river, if you see a polar bear don’t forget to shiver; ...gently to the shore, if you see a lion don’t forget to roar). And you could always make up your own verses too.
I Have a Little Spider – another great tickly song. You can make a spider by wiggling your fingers about. Quite a nice soothing song as well.


And why not pop into your local library to see if they run Bookbug Sessions? Most libraries do and you’ll learn loads of songs and rhymes there. 

Most of the songs and rhymes feature on our Bookbug Session Songs page on the website, and you can also download a transcript of most of the songs and rhymes.


Catch up on the previous Bookbug Detective blogs for advice on everything from sitting still for stories to reading with children of different ages.