A List of Popular Nursery Rhymes

Nursery rhymes have been a part of our lives for centuries. The first major volume was Tommy Thumb’s Song Book, followed by Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book, both of which were published in 1744. Many of the songs in this book are recognizable to English speakers and non-English speakers around the world today. Some use nonsense language and fantastical images to engage young singers’ and listeners’ imaginations in new and creative ways. Others have mysterious origins that have led to a variety of wide-ranging and sometimes outrageous interpretations.

In fact, numerous volumes have been written in which writers from all sorts of backgrounds argue for hidden meanings in these childish songs. For example, London Bridge is Falling Down‘ is sometimes associated with quite dark beginnings and deaths during the bridge’s construction. Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary‘ might, some say, be about either Mary Queen of Scots or Mary I of England. Check out more possible interpretations below in our collection of popular nursery rhymes.

Alice the Camel

by A List of Popular Nursery Rhymes

‘Alice the Camel’ is a fun nursery rhyme and counting song. It describes Alice the camel and depicts her losing humps through the six stanzas until a surprising punchline ends the song. 

As I Was Going

by A List of Popular Nursery Rhymes

‘As I Was Going by Charing Cross’ was first recorded in the 1840s. But, it likely dates to an early decade. It’s thought that this nursery rhyme was likely shared through street cries or chants.

Bob

by A List of Popular Nursery Rhymes

‘Bobby Shafto’s Gone to Sea’ is a traditional English folk song and nursery rhyme. It describes a speaker’s longing for her love, Bobby Shafto, who is out on a sea voyage.

Fee-fi-fo-fum

by A List of Popular Nursery Rhymes

‘Fee-fi-fo-fum’ is a well-known chant from the story of “Jack the Giant Killer.” Dating back to at least the early 1700s, the compelling and entertaining story tells of a young boy’s daring feats and his bravery.

Jack Sprat

by A List of Popular Nursery Rhymes

‘Jack Sprat’ is a popular English nursery rhyme that was published in Samuel Arnold’s children’s songbook “Juvenile Amusement” published in 1797. This rhyme was an English proverb from the mid 17th century.

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