Family favourite rhymes for The Big Welsh Rhyme Time

Published on: 10 February 2020 Author: Simon and Zoe Fisher of Family Bookworms

Our children, aged 12, 11 and 7 are enthusiastic readers. They love books from Wales - encouraged by the ones received from BookTrust Cymru’s Pori Drwy Stori programme when they were in Reception.

Before books came rhymes: Nursery rhymes, nonsense poems, silly songs, action games and chants in English and Welsh. The memories we made, bouncing our children on our knees to 'This is the way the gentleman rides' or 'Dau gi bach yn mynd i’r coed' remain fresh as the day they were made.

We never tire of the rhythms of rhyme

We look forward to The Big Welsh Rhyme Time every year as a chance to embrace rhyming as a family. We share the ‘hwyl’ of rhyming games - on a recent car journey we were all in hysterics at the 'nun having fun with her hot cross buns'. The experts will tell you that rhymes are good for speech development, readiness to read and language development, but we’re here to vouch for the bond it creates between parent and child and the sheer joy and pleasure it brings.

At last year’s Hay Festival we had individual favourite events but the whole family was united in glee watching Michael Rosen split sides with his repetitive rhymes ('No Breathing in Class' was a revelation), and Roger McGough sing silly (but clever) songs with the LiTTLe MACHiNe band.

Some of our favourite books of the past year feature rhymes that delight, question and illuminate.

We’d like to particularly recommend to you the poetry of Powys-based author Nicola Davies in A First Book of the Sea - a treasure trove of rhyme and rhythms mixing word play, nostalgia and wonder. Gavin Puckett’s Fables from the Stables series is hilarious highly illustrated horseplay written in rhyming verse (groovy illustrations by Tor Freeman). Jason Korsner’s I Like to Put Food in My Welly is a laugh out loud picture book that plays brilliantly with rhyme, word-order and nonsense, incredibly illustrated by Max Low and published by Graffeg.

A whole load of fun with language

There is no doubt that sharing these rhymes and stories together helps us to support and widen our children’s vocabulary. By reading aloud we can model expression and support their understanding. We can also help them to access texts and concepts that stretch their cognition. But more than anything (and the real reason we do it) is that we are having a whole load of fun with language and spending close family time together.

Twitter - @bookwormswales
Website - familybookworms.wales

The Big Welsh Rhyme Time

Over 22,000 children in schools, nurseries, libraries and early years settings from across Wales took part in the Big Welsh Rhyme Time 2020. There are still lots of fun activities, rhymes and songs on our Big Welsh Rhyme Time web pages for the children that you work with.

Find out more