November 1st, 2017
The folklorist, Iona Opie died on October 23rd. She was 94 years old. Iona and her husband Peter compiled one of the most comprehensive books about English nursery rhymes called The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951). As a fellow collector of rhymes and songs, I have great respect for them. Their collection began when Iona […]
February 5th, 2015
"Boys and Girls Come out to Play" is a nursery rhyme song that dates back to the 18th century. Here’s a wonderful rendition by Dick Aven, in a gentle rock style. The ways to use traditional songs and rhymes need only be limited by your imagination! MP3 of Boys and Girls Come Out to Play […]
October 22nd, 2014
I’m so excited! I just discovered a major collection of online recordings of children’s singing games! Iona and Peter Opie are among the world’s top collectors of English nursery rhymes and kids songs. When working on Mama Lisa’s World, I refer to their research quite a bit. They published one of the most comprehensive collections […]
May 21st, 2014
Today is the 215th anniversary of the birth of British paleontologist, Mary Anning (1799 – 1847). Mary Anning collected fossils and contributed important information about prehistoric life to the scientific community. She supported herself selling fossils to geologists and to tourists. She was a seller of seashells! It’s believed that the tongue twister, "She sells […]
April 26th, 2013
Booktrust did a survey of over 2,500 people in the UK to determine the top nursery rhymes. Here they are with links to their lyrics (most of the links have mp3’s or videos too): 1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 2. Incey Wincey Spider 3. Round And Round The Garden 4. Baa Baa Black Sheep 5. […]
December 4th, 2012
Dick Aven sent me his musical rendition of the English nursery rhyme: Oh That I Were Where I Would Be! Dick wrote, "Hi, here is a tune I recorded for these traditional lyrics." You can hear it below… MP3 of Oh That I Were Where I Would Be! Oh That I Were Where I Would […]
November 28th, 2012
Here’s a sweet little Polish hand play that was translated so it can be recited in English. You can see the video below showing the actions to make with your hands along with the English version of the rhyme… The Guests are Coming! - Mummy, mummy! - What? What? What? - Guests are coming! - […]
October 11th, 2012
Hello! Bread and Butter can be used as a Hello or Goodbye Song. You clap along as you chant. You can find the lyrics below with 2 videos showing how to chant and clap to the song. In the first video it’s used as a Hello Song and in the second video it’s used as […]
August 17th, 2012
Here’s Inky Binky Bonky, a counting out rhyme with a video… Inky Binky Bonky Inky Binky Bonky, Daddy had a donkey, Donkey died, daddy cried, Inky Binky Bonky. When I was a kid we did with a similar counting out rhyme called Inka Binka. Enjoy! Mama Lisa
June 5th, 2012
Here’s a silly English Nursery Rhyme called The Man in the Wilderness with an mp3 recording… MP3 of The Man in the Wilderness Check out Mama Lisa’s The Man in the Wilderness page for more renditions.
May 30th, 2012
Here’s a little riddle for kids… the answer is in the picture below so I won’t bother hiding it from you! Riddle: Pretty painted bridges, Baby cannot get ‘em. Never mind the shower, Water cannot wet ‘em. Answer: A Rainbow
May 17th, 2012
Paul Simon’s song April Come She Will seems to be loosely based around the rhyme The Cuckoo and an English ballad called Cuckoo Song. You can read both below… The Cuckoo In April, Come he will. In May, He sings all day. In June, He changes his tune. In July, He prepares to fly. In […]
April 1st, 2012
Rhiannon Daymond-King sent me a counting-out rhyme called “Zinty Tinty” with this note: “I was taught a counting rhyme by my father, who said it came from his mother. Her mother was Swedish, so he thought it was in Swedish (or possibly Norwegian given that the part of the country she was from used to […]
March 27th, 2012
The last three days of March are said to be "borrowed from April." March said to April. I see 3 sheep upon a hill; And if you’ll lend me three days I’ll find a way to make them die. The first of them was wind and wet, The second of them was snow and sleet, […]
March 11th, 2012
Here’s a fun little tongue twisting rhyme with an mp3 recording…. MP3 of Betty Botter Bought Some Better Butter Betty Botter Bought Some Better Butter Betty Botter bought some butter But she said the butter’s bitter, "If I put it in my batter It will make my batter bitter, But a bit of better butter […]
January 3rd, 2012
Keith wrote asking for help with a rhyme. Here’s what he wrote: My Grandmother and mother use to say a Rhyme that goes something like this: Wibitsy Wabitsy woof woof woof ….. ? Any ideas? Thanks, Keith If anyone can help with this rhyme, please let us know in the comments below. Thanks in advance! […]
December 8th, 2011
The man in the moon came down too soon and asked his way to Norwich; He went by the South and burnt his mouth with eating cold plum porridge.
November 20th, 2011
Marianne wrote asking for help with a Canadian song her grandma sang to her. Here’s her note: Dear Mama Lisa, My cousin and I are trying to find the words to a song (possibly a nursery rhyme) that our grandmother use to sing to us. My grandparents were from Nova Scotia, Canada. Here’s what we […]
November 9th, 2011
Wendy wrote about a cool Scottish rhyme. It’s a type of rhyme called a counting-out rhyme. Counting-out rhymes are used to choose in games… generally you count-out players who leave the game. Whoever’s left at the end is "It". Here’s what Wendy wrote: My grandfather was from Scotland and taught my brother and I this […]
October 6th, 2011
Here’s a nice spider rhyme to do with young kids… just in time for Halloween! The words are as follows: Spider Crawling Up Your Arm Spider crawling up your arm, Ooh ah, ooh ah! Action: "Crawl" fingers up kid’s arm. Spider crawling down your neck, Ooh ah, ooh ah! Action: "Crawl" fingers onto kid’s neck […]
July 10th, 2011
Adults used to tell kids to sit "Indian Style" when asking them to sit cross-legged on the ground. You don’t hear that phrase used so much anymore. According to my 4th grader, now they tell you to sit "Criss-Cross Applesauce" in pre-school. In grade school, they tell you to "Sit Pretzel Style". Here’s a video […]
June 29th, 2011
Jo wrote asking about a Lucy Locket Circle Game: Hi I remember the Rhyme… Lucy Locket Lost her Pocket Kitty Fisher found it Not a Penny was there in it But a ribbon round it. But as a child I can remember playing a game where we recited this with one person walking round her […]
June 1st, 2011
How is the old nursery rhyme "See Saw Sack-a-day" connected to a recent royal groom? Find out on Mama Lisa’s House of Nursery Rhymes!
May 29th, 2011
"What’s the news of the day, Good neighbor, I pray?" "They say the balloon Has gone up to the moon." -Traditional English Nursery Rhyme Drawing by Lila
May 24th, 2011
What are the names for ladybugs in your language? Ladybugs belong to the Coccinellidae family, from a Latin word meaning "scarlet". But they also have many other names: in English, they’ve been called ladybug, ladybird, lady beetle, lady clock, lady cow and lady fly. The name ladybird was originally "Our Lady’s bird" in England. This […]
January 23rd, 2011
I did the illustration below for one of the first pages of Mama Lisa’s World, about 15 years ago. At the time, the site was just Mama Lisa’s House of Nursery Rhymes. Everything in the frame above was larger and took up the whole screen… since then we redesigned to add more navigation. There is […]
December 27th, 2010
Can you figure out this old riddle? Highty-tighty, Paradighty, Clothed all in green. The King could not read it No more could the Queen. They sent for a Wise Man out of the East, Who said it had horns but was not a beast. Note: Highty-tighty is a variation of Hoity-toity. In the US, at […]
November 4th, 2010
Mandi Robinson wrote: I spent 2 years in Tanzania with my children, we used to sing baa baa mbuzi, unfortunately I only know a little bit of it could someone help me with the words tafadhali, :D I found this version by Sajida on Youth Community: Baa baa black sheep in kiswahili goes: Baa Baa […]
November 1st, 2010
I was talking with my British friend Chris on Halloween. He told me that Halloween isn’t really celebrated through most of Great Britain. Guy Fawkes Day is the most important holiday at this time of year. It’s celebrated on November 5th. People make barn fires and light fireworks. Kids also pull pranks which is why […]
October 16th, 2010
The Talking Tom iPhone app is available free on the iPhone. It records what you say and repeats it back in the form of a high pitched Talking Cat. My daughter has been playing with it throughout the week. You can even record on it and upload to YouTube. I made two cat rhyme videos […]
October 13th, 2010
Old Abram Brown is an old nursery rhyme. In some versions, he’s called Old Grimes. Some people sing this rhyme as a song for Halloween. Here are the lyrics and a YouTube video… Old Abram Brown is Dead and Gone Old Abram Brown is dead and gone, You’ll never see him more; He used […]
April 20th, 2010
Robin Sereghy wrote: Hi I found this site, because I have an amazing memory, for songs from so long ago, but as a 4 year old in kindergarten so long ago 1966 my memory is not clear for names or how to find the songs I am looking for. I typed in “When I was […]
April 15th, 2010
Sasha sent me the note below with some nursery rhymes about cats. I linked them to their corresponding rhymes on my nursery rhyme pages so you can read the other versions, see pictures, and hear mp3’s that go with them. Here’s what Sasha wrote… You are the most sweetest woman i have ever met and […]
March 15th, 2010
Alison is translating traditional English nursery rhymes into Chinese on her blog. Check it out! -Mama Lisa
February 2nd, 2010
“Little Things” is a poem written by Julia A. F. Carney (1823 – 1908). Here it is followed by a recording by Kaylee Kay: LITTLE THINGS By Julia A. F. Carney Little drops of water Little grains of sand, Make the mighty ocean, And the pleasant land. So the little moments, Humble though they be, […]
November 12th, 2009
Here’s a rain rhyme from Northumberland that reminds us that rainy weather is a good opportunity to stay indoors and cook! Rain, rain, go away, And come again another day, When I brew and when I bake, I’ll give you a little cake. Stay dry! Mama Lisa PS You can tell it’s raining where I […]
November 9th, 2009
Dragon fly! Dragon fly! Dragon fly! dragon fly! fly about the brook, Sting all the bad boys who for the fish look; But let the good boys catch all they can, And then take them home to be fried in a pan, With nice bread and butter they shall sup up their fish, While […]
September 10th, 2009
Which one do you say? First is the worst, Second is the best, Third is the one with the… a) wedding dress, b) hairy chest or, c) treasure chest ? My kids and their friends were debating this one. They disagreed over which answer is the most popular… a, b, or c. Google seems to […]
August 24th, 2009
The poem below by Jane Taylor (1783-1824) is about a child telling how gently she will handle her little pussy-cat. The 1st two verses can be found in many collections of nursery rhymes. If you read the whole poem, you can see how it could be a good one to read to children with pets… […]
August 21st, 2009
Karla wrote: Hi, My name is Karla Wass. Recently my grandmother has passed, and as a child she would place us (15 grandkids + 10 great grandkids) on her knee and sing to us. Unfortunately, none of us could remember the name and she left so suddenly we were unable to ask her it. I […]
August 6th, 2009
I’ve embedded this lovely book of nursery rhymes for you to enjoy! It’s A Collection of Nursery Rhymes… Nurse Lovechild’s Legacy (1916). Many of the illustrations are from the 18th and early 19th century Chapbooks. The book has been embellished by one of my favorite nursery rhyme illustrators: C. Lovat Fraser (1890 – 1921). You […]
May 20th, 2009
Rebeca Garcia Mendoza wrote Hi! I’m a Spanish girl who is preparing resources to teach English to Spanish children. I’m looking for rhymes about seasons and I have a problem. I cannot find a short one of Spring. If anybody knows one, please, tell me! Thanks. If anyone can help out Rebeca, please let us […]
Young nursery rhyme lovers will enjoy this little story featuring Mother Goose characters. Kids who aren’t familiar with a lot of nursery rhymes can learn new ones. I made each character linkable to a page where you can read that character’s rhyme. At the end of the story is an illustration that includes many of […]
May 13th, 2009
Uly sent me a handclapping rhyme called “Quack Dilly Oso” which she said many people actually know as “Stella Ella Ola”. Here are the words to “Quack Dilly Oso” that Uly sent me: Quack Dilly Oso Quack dilly oso, quack quack qua-ack, Saaaanyorita*, rita rita rita, velo! Velo! Velo, velo, velo, velo! One two three […]
May 8th, 2009
I’ve loved the image of the old woman living in the shoe since I was a child. (So much so, that it inspired the Mama Lisa logo!) Of course, the rhyme itself leaves something to be desired… There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know […]
April 5th, 2009
Here’s a sweet little nursery rhyme about April, that can be found in The Only True Mother Goose Melodies (c. 1843)… In April’s Sweet Month Nursery Rhyme In April’s sweet month, When the leaves ‘gin* to spring, Little lambs skip like fairies And birds build and sing. *begin Enjoy the delights of Springtime! Mama Lisa
February 11th, 2009
Lynda wrote looking for help with a rhyme… I hope that you can help me with an old rhyme of sorts. It is spoken softly as to calm a child said while making small circles on a child’s skin and then traveling up and starting all over. We can only remember part of it, this […]
November 6th, 2008
In my last blog post, I gave a couple of variations of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe that go up to the number twenty. It’s rare that this rhyme goes past that. When it does, it seems to be to play it as a ball bouncing game… how high can you go bouncing the ball? […]
November 5th, 2008
Most people know One, Two, Buckle My Shoe up to the number 10. Here’s a well-known version… One Two, Buckle my shoe. Three, Four, Open the door. Five, Six, Pick up sticks. Seven, Eight, Lay them straight. Nine, Ten Do it again. Some people know One, Two, Buckle My Shoe up to 20. Below is […]
October 24th, 2008
I recently read “Games for Hallow-e’en” by Mary F. Blain (1912). In her book, Blain tells how to throw a Halloween Party. Though you must keep in mind that it’s from the perspective of almost a century ago. I like her description of Halloween: Hallow-e’en or Hallow-Even is the last night of October, being the […]
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People everywhere love Christmas - but we don't all celebrate it the same way. Mama Lisa's Christmas Around The World is a celebration of the diversity and love with which many different cultures mark this joyful time of year.You'll read about traditions and songs from many different nations. The songs are given in their original languages and with English translations.What makes the book really special is the many comments from Mama Lisa's correspondents who have shared stories and memories from their own lives. The memories of childhood touch us forever!
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In Kid Songs Around The World we've gathered 100 of our favorite songs and rhymes from all the continents of the globe.
Each song includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation, and most include sheet music. All include links to web pages where you can listen to recordings, hear the tune or watch a video performance. Each includes a beautiful illustration.
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