Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
He went to bed to mend his head,
With vinegar and brown paper.
The story of Jack and Jill is an English Rhyme dating back to the 1700s. Today, the verse is one of the most well known nursery rhymes in the world, but there are many different ideas about the meaning. The words are mostly interpreted as nonsense, but we can make easily make the story our own and teach a valuable lesson along the way. First, we want to make sure the child understands what is happening in the story. The scenarios below involve you acting out the story with your child, but you can also be creative with other ways to recite the verse. For example, you may want to use your fingers as legs and walk up a leg or knee to simulate going up the hill. Second, we want to incorporate a positive message. Since the story leaves off with Jack and Jill laying at the bottom of a hill, there is an opportunity to provide a constructive ending. See below for our interpretation.
Start by acting out the story with your toddler while you sing the rhyme. You can relate the characters of Jack and Jill to mommy and daddy, daddy and daughter, or whatever combination fits your family that your child will understand. As you recite the first line, raise your child slowly as you walk forward to simulate going up a hill. Now is an excellent time to teach or reinforce the differences between “up” and “down.” Then, gently bring your child back “down the hill” by going back the way you came. This will provide the up and down movement for your child to relate to the actions in the story. You can substitute “broke his crown” with “bumped his head” and ask your toddler to point out their (or your) head to show understanding. You can then repeat the “down the hill” motion in a more dynamic way (like swaying side to side) to mimic Jill tumbling down as well.
Given the movement and interaction in this exercise, your child may want to repeat the motions. This motion is great for entertainment and engagement, but you can take this opportunity to teach a lesson about getting back up again when we fall. You can emphasize the fact that Jack bumped his head by stressing he “got a boo-boo” just like what happens when your child falls. Then you can say that Jack and Jill went back up the hill to try again. For example, you may say, “Jack got a boo-boo, but he was a big boy and tried again” as a lesson for your child.
Another idea for a small departure from the original text is the idea of Jack or Jill helping each other get back up and go up the hill. Again, the original story does not provide a resolution, so it is important to tie in a moral to the story. You can act out this version of the story by encouraging your child to help you back up off the ground, or bring in another adult if your child is unable. The goal is to create a visual and interactive example of the rhyme.
Jack and Jill is not necessarily a positive or uplifting rhyme, but through some creativity, we can take these very popular stories and turn them into something interactive and educational.
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