Social and emotional development is crucial in helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others. In the classroom, using a nursery rhyme, like Humpty Dumpty, can promote healthy child development through a series of engaging activities. Humpty Dumpty can provide children with the opportunity to learn about key social and emotional skills, such as understanding and expressing different emotions and how to interact with and work alongside others.
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After reading or listening along to Humpty Dumpty as a class, ask students to identify what happens to Humpty in the rhyme. After children answer that Humpty broke, ask them to describe how they feel about Humpty's misadventure. Encourage children to use descriptive words, like sad or upset. Extend this discussion with a role-play activity where children act out Humpty Dumpty. Allow children to play different roles, such as the King's men, and ask children to describe how they feel from the perspective of different characters.
Humpty Dumpty can be an excellent way to teach children about bullying. Start by talking to children about how nice it feels to be included and to be part of a group. Explain to children that, as an outsider, Humpty may have felt very sad to be excluded and left on the wall. Next, make a list with children of examples of bullying, such as name-calling and punching. Have the children brainstorm a list of strategies to help stop bullying in your school.
Circle Time Activities
At circle time, have children reflect on and discuss their feelings when something is broken, like a favourite toy. Encourage children to discuss personal experiences and highlight that importance of looking out for and protecting our belongings. Alternatively, use circle time to brainstorm a list of possible ways that the king's men could have mended Humpty Dumpty. Explore some of the ideas in an art project.
Create your own finger puppets to dramatise the story of Humpty Dumpty with children retelling the story in their own words. Alternatively, make a story sequence where children illustrate each part of the story, like Humpty falling down or the struggle to mend him. On sheets of printer paper, draw large faces with a different emotion, like happy and sad. Laminate the faces and ask children to match the face to the most appropriate scene. For example, the happy face correlates to Humpty sitting on the wall, while the sad face relates to his fall.
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