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Preschool Activities for the Nursery Rhyme "The Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe"

by Mary Davis , studioD

Why is it that kids can remember songs and rhymes from a very young age but can't remember something as simple as flushing the toilet? Songs and rhymes are fun, while flushing the toilet -- well, not so much. Mother Goose rhymes like the "Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe" are fun to say, and it's easy to create children's activities to correspond with them. While you decide on preschool-aged activities for your child, remember that some words have been changed in more modern versions. For example, "She whipped them all soundly" also appears in some versions as "She kissed them all gently."

Fill the Shoe

Invite your preschooler to create an easy game. All you need are some leftover plastic Easter eggs, magazine or coloring book pictures of children's faces, white craft glue, scissors, a shoebox and a picture of a shoe. She can cut out and glue a picture of a child's head onto each plastic Easter egg to represent each child from the nursery rhyme. Glue the picture of a shoe onto the side of the shoebox. Gently place the kids into the shoebox and then kiss them good night. Show your preschooler how to blow a kiss.


Help your preschooler make a simple drawing of the inside of the Old Lady's Shoe. Cut out an outline of the sole of a fairly large shoe from plain paper. She can use colored pencils and a ruler to draw a floor plan of rooms. Then encourage her to draw furniture and toys for the children. If the drawing looks less than perfect, remember that she'll improve quickly once she's in elementary school. Reinforce this lesson by repeating the nursery rhyme as she's making the map. Ask, "Who does this shoe belong to?" or "Did she have one or two kids, or a lot?" and "What did she do with the children?"


Provide some practice with words that rhyme. A preschooler can draw a face on 10 or more craft sticks. Then, help him spell some real or made-up names that rhyme with words in the verse. Get him started with easy names like Sue or Lou to rhyme with shoe, and Red or Ned to rhyme with bed. Then watch his face light up with a big smile when he realizes what silly fun it is to say, "There was an old woman who lived in a "Sue" who had so many children she didn't know what to do, so she kissed them all soundly and put them to "Ned."


Your preschooler will love creating a rebus story, where some of the words have pictures to demonstrate the word. Print the rhyme with lots of space between words and lines. The child can cut out pictures of shoes, a lady, children, bed, and cups of broth. She can then glue the appropriate pictures to cover the words. The story will read similar to this, "There was an (picture of an old lady), who lived in a (picture of a shoe).

Wrecked Rhyme

Spark some imagination fun with substitute words in the rhyme. Preschoolers can use familiar words in place of some others in the rhyme. The words do not have to rhyme, but your child will need to reason which words would work well to tell the story. Give her some examples to begin the activity, if you want. For example, "There was a young zookeeper who lived in a slipper. He had so many giraffes, he didn't know what to name them. So he called them all Charlie and sent them to Grandma's house.

About the Author

Since 1992, Mary Davis has sold numerous articles and stories, greeting cards, calendars and novelty items. She also has sold Christian education reproducible books and Christian children's journals. She writes Sunday school curricula and teacher ideas and tips for both Christian and secular markets. Her topics include everything from children's stories to OSHA/safety topics.

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