Fun ways to facilitate language development

As 'entertainment', nursery rhymes with actions can be used anywhere — whether it be during a nappy change, while getting dressed or going for a walk. There are no limits to your imagination.

toddler reading little book sitting on his mom's lap

Your baby's urge increases with age
to discover new things

The older your baby becomes, the stronger their urge will be to discover new things. Already within the second and fourth months, everything that rustles, is colourful or moves is inspected with great curiosity.

Not only your child's eyesight and hearing come into play with the exploration of their environment, their hands are also increasingly being put to good use.

After the initial stage of gripping as a matter of reflex, at the age of about four months, a baby can intentionally grasp and hold items.

If you, for example, move a soft toy or their special blanket from side to side about 20cm in front of their face, you can provoke your little sunshine to make a grab for it. Sometimes your baby simply observes their little hands, moving their fingers and trying to cram them into their mouth.

Not only do their own hands fascinate your little one, but also those of their Mommy or Daddy. With simple finger play you can thoroughly captivate your child.

For this, while you recite a nursery rhyme or song, you either use your fingers and hands as things, people or actions, or you use them to gently stroke the parts of your child's body that come up in the text. Older children can also join in with their own actions.

baby scribling with colour pencils on a paper

Nursery rhymes strengthens language skills & intellect

Nursery rhymes with actions aren't only a lot of fun for parents and children, and a chance to be affectionate, but they also strengthen your child's language skills and intellect naturally at the same time because:

  • fine motor skills with the fingers and language ability are closely associated. The regions of the brain responsible for dexterity and speech are located close to each other and are interconnected. Language development can only begin once the fine motor skills of the fingers have sufficiently developed. That means, by regularly playing with your child's fingers, you can accelerate the maturation of the area of the brain responsible for speech.
  • children learn the names of items faster when they are allowed to touch them at the same time; hence, their intellect develops faster.

There is now a considerable wealth of texts for action songs and nursery rhymes — from catchy classics for the little one to sophisticated rhymes for the older ones. We have put together a few examples for you.


baby grossed look

For little babies

Incy Wincy spider climbed up the water spout (Walk your fingers up your baby's arm)

Down came the rain (Drum your fingers on your baby's tummy like raindrops)

And washed poor Incy out (Stroke your baby's arm in the opposite direction to the spider's climb)

Out came the sunshine (Stroke your baby's tummy from one side to the other in a semi-circle)

And dried up all the rain (Drum your fingers on your baby's tummy going from their navel to their neck)

So Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again (Walk your fingers up the baby's arm again)

For older babies and toddlers

Incy Wincy spider (Touch your right index finger to your left thumb and your left index finger to your right thumb)

Climbed up the water spout (Release your right index finger and left thumb and swivel them to touch again at the top. Then do the same with the left index finger and right thumb. Keep alternating which pair is on top for the climbing action)

Down came the rain (Wiggle your fingers downwards to show the raindrops)

And washed poor Incy out (Shoot your hands out away from your body)

Out came the sunshine (Sweep your hand in a generous arch above your head to mimic the sun coming out)

And dried up all the rain (Wiggle your fingers and move your hands in an upward direction to show the rain evaporating)

So Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again (Repeat the climbing gesture from the beginning of the nursery rhyme)

baby playing in the house with sister


baby on bed

For little babies

My hands upon your head I place

On your shoulders, on your face

On your hips I place them — so

Then they go to touch your toe

Now I raise yours up so high

Make your fingers fairly fly

Now we clap them, one, two, three

Then we hold them silently

(Do the actions according to the lyrics, using your own hands in the first half and holding your baby's in the second half)

For older babies and toddlers

My hands upon my head I place

On my shoulders, on my face

On my hips I place them — so

Then bend down to touch my toe

Now I raise them up so high

Make my fingers fairly fly

Now I clap them, one, two, three

Then I fold them silently

(Do the actions as prompted by the lyrics)

baby walking in diapers

baby wearing a rain jacket is playing in a small puddle of water

Wind the Bobbin Up

For little babies: (Use your hands to guide your baby's to follow the actions)

For older babies and toddlers:

Wind the bobbin up, wind the bobbin up (Roll your hands one over the other)

Pull, pull (Move your hands away from each other in a pulling action)

Clap, clap, clap (Clap each time you say the word)

Wind it back again, wind it back again (Roll your hands in the other direction)

Pull, pull (Repeat pulling motion)

Clap, clap, clap (For this line and the ones below, do as directed by the lyrics)

Point to the ceiling 

Point to the floor

Point to the window

Point to the door 

Clap your hands together, one, two, three (Clap your hands with each count)

Put your hands upon your knees (As directed)