Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes for Children (And Parents)

All the best nursery rhymes ever parent should know.

Artwork Jonathan Hobin|CC

Looking for a Mother Goose nursery rhymes list, with a twist? Our list has a little EDGE, for artistic parents wanting a refreshing look on the classic nursery rhyme favorites.

Remember the one about the space cow who heads to the moon? Or, how a spout is really hazardous place for an arachnid?


Definitive List of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes

1Humpty Dumpty

An adventurous egg meets his demise.

Humpty Dumpty
Sat on a Wall
Humpty Dumpty
Had a Great Fall
All the King’s Horses
And All the King’s Men
Couldn’t Put Humpty
Together Again


2Little Jack Horner

Artwork Loren Braun|CC

A good boy, gets put on time out, and eats a pie.

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating his Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”


3Old King Cole

Artwork Eden Lewis|CC

A spoiled King demands some random things.

Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler he had a fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Oh there’s none so rare, as can compare,
With King Cole and his fiddlers three.


4Hey Diddle Diddle

A space cow heads for the moon.

Hey Diddle Diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed,
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.


5Little Miss Muffet

Artwork Alice Wang|CC

A hungry girl really dislikes spiders.

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.


6Old Mother Hubbard

A dog goes without reward.

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
But when she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.


7Higgledy, Piggledy

Artwork Eden Lewis|CC

A hen impresses high-end XY clientele.

Higgledy, piggledy, my black hen,
She lays eggs for gentlemen;
Sometimes nine, sometimes ten;
Higgledy, piggledy, my black hen.


8Rub-a-Dub-Dub

Three men, of diverse occupations, go on a sea adventure.

Rub-a-dub-dub,
Three men in a tub,
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker,
And all of them out to sea.


9Ring-a-Round The Rosie

Artwork Matt Huynh|CC

Children go round-and-round, then inexplicably fall down.

Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.

Cows in the meadows
Eating buttercups
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all jump up.


10Mother Goose

Artwork Livy Long|CC

An imaginary writer rides on a imaginary goose.

Old Mother Goose,
When she wanted to wander,
Would ride through the air
On a very fine gander.


11Wee Willie Winkie

Artwork Julie Park|CC

A boy wrecks havoc in his pajamas.

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?


12Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

A little girl decorates her garden with sea shells.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.


13London Bridge is Falling Down

Artwork PIZZA CHANG|CC

An infrastructure problem plagues a fair lady.

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Take the key and,
Lock her up, lock her up.
Take the key and, lock her up,
My fair lady.


14Polly Put the Kettle On

Polly and her friend Sukey work together to make tea.

Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
We’ll all have tea.

Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
They’ve all gone away.


15Sing a Song of Sixpence

Singing birds get baked in pastry.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
To set before the king.


16Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

A sheep gives up his fleece to appease many patrons.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.


17Itsy Bitsy Spider

Artwork Rianna Lane|CC

A spout is a hazardous place for an arachnid.

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.


18This Little Piggy

This pig visits a market, while the other pigs do not.

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy cried “wee wee wee” all the way home.


19There was an Old Woman

A single mom, living inside footwear, is overrun by kids.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then kissed them all soundly and put them to bed.


20The North Wind Doth Blow

A robin faces an uncertain future in cold-weather climate.

The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then?
Poor thing.

He’ll sit in a barn,
And keep himself warm,
And hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing.


21I See the Moon

A celestial object is a blessing.

I see the moon, the moon sees me,
God bless the moon and God bless me:
There’s grace in the cottage and grace in the hall;
And the grace of God is over us all.


22Three Blind Mice

Fleeing rodents, lacking visual competency,  lose their tails.

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?


23Star Light, Star Bright

Artwork: Nathalie Jomard

A celestial object takes requests.

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.


Who Was Mother Goose?

Mother Goose wasn’t a real person. She was a fictional author whose name first appeared in 1695 Tales of My Mother Goose by Charles Perrault, in a collection of fairy tales, not nursery rhymes.

For more nursery rhyme fun,  The Truth About Mother Goose is a little-known Disney short-film from 1957 where a trio of jazz singers croon about the history of three classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes.