A Sailor Went to Sea
A sailor went to sea, sea, sea (hold hand palm down and move up and down like waves)
To see what he could see, see, see (hold hand palm down over eyes and move head back and forth)
But all that he could see, see, see (repeat previous gesture)
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea (repeat first gesture)
This is such a fun and deceptively simple little rhyme. Shifting between moving your hand like the ocean waves and holding it above your eyes as you scan the horizon is a lot harder than you might think. The concept that underlies the rhyme is equally complicated!
In the rhyme, "sea" and "see" are the two main words that we emphasize. It is surprising to little kids that these words can sound exactly the same but mean two completely different things. We call words like these homophones.
When you share this rhyme with older toddlers and preschool-age kids, you can explain how "sea" and "see" are two completely different words even though they sound the same. You can drive this point home by showing how we write the words. When you do this, you will be expanding their understanding of print awareness, or the idea that we use printed language to convey meaning.
When I share this rhyme, I sequentially replace the last words of each line with hand claps. This further complicates the rhyme for older kids. It turns it into a sequencing game. Understanding sequence is a critical part of the early literacy skill called narrative skills.
For babies and young toddlers, this rhyme makes for a fun little lap-bounce. Gently rock baby back and forth and then bounce on the last three words of each line.
Although extremely short, this rhyme is packed full of early literacy-boosting goodness!! Kids who understand that words can be spelled differently but sound the same will have an easier making sense out of what they read once the begin to lean how to read!