“Mary, Mary Quite Contrary” is a popular nursery rhyme that has been engaging children for hundreds of years. The rhyme, with its images of silver bells and pretty flowers, can be used as a theme for fun activities that will help to develop your preschooler’s skills and imagination.
Paper Flower Crafts
Make tissue paper flowers using rectangles of tissue paper and chenille stems. Put about 10 rectangles of tissue paper in a pile and then pinch them together in the middle. Wind the end of your chenille stem around the pinched tissue and then fan the flower out on either side. Flowers can also be created using paper plates. Get your child to color his plate and then help him cut around the edges to create petal shapes, or stick pieces of tissue paper around the edges to create a petal effect.
Drawing and Coloring
Draw some pictures from the nursery rhyme or print some from the Internet for your child to color in, and use this opportunity to talk about the colors she chooses. Use these pictures to introduce your preschooler to some simple written words and sounds such as bell, flower and Mary by writing them alongside the images. Encourage your child to create her own picture of Mary’s garden by drawing her own flowers or sticking on cut-out shapes.
Plant Mary’s Garden
Help your child create his own mini garden in a tray. Fill a tray with soil and show him how to plant some fast-growing seeds such as mustard and cress. Explain why he needs to water the seeds to help them grow. Use sequins, foam flower shapes, shells, shiny buttons and small stones to decorate the rest of the garden. Aluminum foil makes a good pond and small plant cuttings can be used to create trees.
Singing and Instruments
Create your own music to play while singing the nursery rhyme. The triangle makes a wonderful sound to accompany the song, but if you don’t have one, improvise. Give your preschooler a tin or a saucepan lid to hit with a metal spoon and encourage him to bang it in time to the rhythm of the nursery rhyme.
Try making your own shakers by filling a plastic container with dried rice, beans or pasta.