Sunday, January 2, 2022

"The Cat and the Fiddle": A Read-Aloud-Rhyme

Click to see Vol. I, Issue 10 of the newsletter in which this article first appeared.

Listen to the audio of this article!

Parents and teachers can read these rhymes aloud, and encourage little ones to repeat and even memorize them (I did when I was a kid!) Many people have tried to find "meaning" in this old rhyme--but most agree there is none! It's just nonsense, something fun to say. Enjoy!

Hey diddle, diddle!
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.


Some words to talk about:

  • fiddle: a violin, a type of musical instrument
  • sport: something fun to do


Let's do some more pretending! First, ask your kid how he or she would "pretend" each of the lines. Then you can suggest doing the following things as you say the poem:

  • Hey diddle, diddle!
       [do a little dance step, or just "wiggle"!]
  • The cat and the fiddle,
       [play a fiddle, while saying "meow!"]
  • The cow jumped over the moon;
       [make a big leap, over a ball if you have one]
  • The little dog laughed to see such sport,
       [hold your sides and move like you're laughing; maybe bark a little]
  • And the dish ran away with the spoon.
       [run away, holding hands with a friend if one is with you]

Discussion: Does the rhyme say the cat is playing the fiddle? What do you think he's doing with it? Can a cow really jump over the moon? (Look at the picture for an idea; see the moon in the water?) Can dogs laugh? Can dishes and spoons run? Why does the rhyme say all these silly things?

Please leave a comment - I can't WAIT to hear from you!