You were no doubt told the tale of Jack and Jill climbing up the hill when you were a child, and now you find yourself reciting it to your own preschooler. Give this timeless nursery rhyme a whole new lease on life with some activities that use the familiar words and characters to help your child's learning and development.
Break this classic nursery rhyme up into picture cards and encourage your preschooler to put them in the right order. Print your picture cards from the Internet, draw them yourself or help your preschooler draw them. The cards could show Jack and Jill climbing up the hill, then holding a pail of water, then Jack falling down, Jack with a bandage on his head and then Jill falling down. Ask her: "What happens next?"
Use the nursery rhyme to introduce your preschooler to some words and letters. Draw or print out pictures of Jack and Jill and write their names beside them. Talk about how the two names start with the same sound and show that they start with the same letter when written. Trace his finger in the shape of a letter J and draw a big J for him to trace over with a crayon. Tell him: "Jill and hill are two words that rhyme because they sound the same at the end." Help him think of a word that rhymes with his name.
Ask your toddler what she thinks happened to the water when Jack fell down: "Did it stay in the pail?" Try this yourselves in the garden with a cup or toy bucket of water -- but be prepared to get wet! Work out where the water goes when it comes out: "Does it stay in one piece?" You can do a smaller version of this experiment indoors with a cup of water over a bowl. Talk about why Jack fell down: "Was the water heavy?" Give your preschooler an empty cup or bucket and then one filled with water and talk about which one is heavier.
Take on the roles of Jack and Jill and act out the rhyme as you chant it together -- although it might be wise to use an empty bucket indoors! Do a marching action to pretend you are walking up the hill and then roll along the floor like a pencil to fall down. These actions are all helpful for developing a variety of gross motor skills -- your child's ability to control her limbs and muscles. Your preschooler may also enjoy having her head bandaged up with some toilet paper as if she has broken her crown like Jack.
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