Learning and Development: Rhymes for birth to threes - Jack in a box

Judith Stevens, early years adviser
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jack in a box

Jack in a box

Open the lid and up he pops!

Nursery rhymes, finger rhymes and word plays are a very important part of the lives of babies and young children. Practitioners need to develop rhymes that can be shared with babies and that can continue to be explored as babies grow into more mobile toddlers.

Rhyme time

- At its simplest level, you can chant the rhyme softly to the baby. Make sure that you are both comfortable while you share the rhyme. You could sit on a sofa or comfy chair, holding or cuddling the baby gently. Alternatively, the baby can be lying on a soft rug, in a bouncy chair or propped up safely on cushions. Wherever you choose to settle yourselves, it is essential that you maintain eye contact with the baby and exaggerate your facial expressions as you sing the rhyme.

- With babies who are familiar with, and who like, 'peek-a-boo' games, you can extend the rhyme by hiding your face behind your hands and then moving both hands away quickly as the Jack-in-a-box 'pops up'.

- Of course, you can also chant the rhyme as you open and close a real Jack-in-abox.

Older babies and toddlers

As babies become more mobile they will begin to travel and to explore. As we all know, babies and young children often spend more time playing with boxes and packaging than the contents!

It is important to tune in to this interest and give toddlers large boxes and cartons to investigate. This will often mean 'getting inside' or 'crawling through'. So, revisit the rhyme as the children hide in the box and then 'pop up' just like a Jack-in-a-box.

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