All creatures great and small

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By Jean Evansearly years consultant and author

From spiders to sheep, inspire the children’s learning with nursery rhymes that feature a variety of animals

illustration of children with animals

1 Mary Had a Little Lamb

Play ‘Follow My Leader’

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Dispositions and Attitudes

Development matters: become aware of themselves as separate from others (8-20 months); show confidence in linking up with others for support and guidance (30-50 months).

Early learning goal: be confident to try new activities, initiate ideas and speak in a familiar group.

What you need

Group size: small groups.

Safe, indoor space.

What to do

Say the rhyme ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ together. Talk about how the lamb was Mary’s pet and went everywhere with her. Discuss the children’s experiences of pets. Do their pets follow them?

Suggest that the children play ‘Follow My Leader’, where everyone must follow behind and do the same as the child who is the leader. Encourage the children to repeat the rhyme as they walk around the room. Change ‘leaders’ at regular intervals.


Take on the role of the leader and choose simple movements that the children are able to easily copy.


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