Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again

What is YOUR favorite Nursery Rhyme? 

One of my all time favorites, hands down, is Humpty Dumpty! 

I remember when I was about five or six and I bought a stuffed Humpty Dumpty doll at a small store in Kentucky.  I played with that doll for YEARS!!!  He climbed many walls and somehow managed to come out still in one piece!  My love for that "cracked up egg" has never changed! In fact, it continues to impact me to this day!     

So, let's get "cracking" with some multisensory ideas for you to use as you build knowledge and make memories with your little ones using our beloved friend, Humpty Dumpty!

There are many ways that Nursery Rhymes can boost social/emotional, cognitive, language, and physical development and include lots of fun science, cooking, and fine art activities that are sure to keep children interested and learning!

Did you know?  

“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” ~Mem Fox

Of course we always start with great children's books!  One of my favorites is Mother Goose Neighborhood!  The author puts a fun twist on over 40 rhymes with unique photos taken all around Brooklyn!  Learn more by following the link below! (*Amazon Affiliate Link)

Dave Horowitz has this fun and unique version of Humpty Dumpty that was a staple on my bookshelf.  In Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again this daring little Humpty just loves to climb...will he learn his lesson?

March is the perfect time to play with Humpty Dumpty since Spring is just around the corner and good ole' Humpty lends himself well to "spring things" such as birds, chicks, and eggs!

I usually get things rolling (pun intended) with some REAL eggs! 

This activity is best when introduced to the large group, but then broken up into smaller groups to decrease waiting time.  Bring in a WHOLE dozen eggs (or more) so everyone gets a turn!  The kids decide how tall they want the wall and whether they want Humpty Dumpty to fall on a hard surface or a soft surface!  Just look at all those language and math concepts would you!!!

Depending on the group of kids I have, either I use a permanent marker to make a face on the egg or I let the kids do it!  We make sure to discuss what Humpty Dumpty's face would look like when he sits on the wall.  Would he feel scared?  What do YOUR eyes and mouth look like when you feel scared?

The kids love doing this over and over as each child gets a turn to put their egg on the wall and recite the traditional rhyme with the group as we see what happens when he falls!

There is lots of new vocabulary involved in this lesson such as: yolk, shell, egg white (albumen), hard, soft, high, low, king's  horses and men, bricks, mortar...This would be the perfect time to have older children go back to the table and draw or write about what happened to Humpty Dumpty!

We also talk about all the other things that Humpty Dumpty could sit on that might rhyme with fall.  Some examples might be ball, mall, doll, or a stall.  Bring in or make some of these items and experiment to see what happens!  Rewrite the rhyme to include the new words and illustrations!  

As an extension, we always use the I Love You Ritual by Dr. Becky Bailey.  It goes like this:

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kings horses,
And all the queen's men.
Could put Humpty together again."

This connecting activity has motions that go with it that help you make connections with and among children.  They include eye contact, touch, presence, and playfulness.  The underlying message of this I Love You Ritual is Safety.  You are reminding children that no matter what happens YOU will keep them safe!

Here is a short video clip of me enjoying the ritual with one of my students with special needs.  It was especially fun for him since he really enjoyed intense sensory experiences!  There are so many fun ways to modify this ritual to fit your needs!

We also made a class book with the ritual by taking photos of children doing the activity with a partner.  We added the words and then each child had a turn to take the book home to share this loving ritual with their family!  Once everyone had a turn, we added it to our classroom library and children enjoyed it over and over again!  

They also had the opportunity to illustrate their own individual books!

AND they practiced their visual motor skills by cutting apart a Humpty Dumpty puzzle and then gluing him back together again on a printed wall that included the rhyme for them to take home. 

You can also do this with a brown paper sack and let them use rectangular sponges dipped in red paint to sponge paint bricks on the bag and put their Humpty Dumpty puzzle inside the bag so they could "fix" him over and over again!

I have had these little Humpty Dumpty finger puppets for years!  I think they came from Mailbox Magazine.  Super simple!   

The kids loved having the opportunity to practice using the Skill of Empathy with Humpty Dumpty when he fell down!

Using items from the Wish Well bag they helped Humpty Dumpty regulate his sadness after his fall by offering comfort and well wishes.  Some helped him breathe by using a pinwheel.

Some gave him Band aids and kissed his boo boos.

Others rubbed Boo Boo Cream on him as they sang:
"Bye, bye boo boos!  Bye, bye boo boos!  Bye, bye boo boos!  It's time for you to heal."
(From I Love You Rituals, By:  Dr. Becky Bailey)

They even comforted Humpty Dumpty with this cozy warm heart while wishing him well!

We used these healing rituals based on the idea that "what you offer to others, you strengthen in yourself."  When the children offer Empathy to Humpty Dumpty, they are strengthening their ability to do the same for themselves.

Since I have many children in my classroom with special needs, I  try to include lots of sensory experiences along with our lessons.  This is always a real favorite!

We get out lots of shaving cream and several different sizes of wooden blocks.  The kids use the shaving cream as the "mortar" to help them build walls for Humpty Dumpty.  We give them a plastic egg and let them explore their senses as they continue to enjoy the Nursery Rhyme.

Children learn in so many different ways.  Whenever you are teaching the Nursery Rhymes it is about so much more than just the words on the page.  They need many different opportunities to interact with the materials and experience them using all of their senses!

Some other extension activities we enjoy with Humpty Dumpty include cracking and eating hard boiled eggs.  We decorate and dye eggs and we even bring in live chicks whenever we have the chance!!!

For more great ideas check out my Nursery Rhyme Pinterest Board or this great website!


I look back on my childhood and smile when I think of all the ways I experienced learning.  I'm sure that's why I chose to be a preschool teacher!  I want to give children the opportunity to have rich childhood experiences that not only make them lifelong learners, but also experiences that will perhaps impact them as a parent or caregiver someday!  What will children remember about the lessons YOU plan?  

I hope this gets your imagination "cracking" as you plan some fun Spring activities that are sure to include Nursery Rhymes! 

What are some of your favorite Humpty Dumpty activities? 

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