Best 40 English Songs for Kids to Help Explore England

The south of the U.K. has given us so many great English songs for kids!

40 English Songs for kids

It’s surprising to find out that good old nursery rhymes, songs we all grew up with, have references to historical events which are often hard to discern or even imagine. Even more, songs that were supposedly written for kids sometimes contain lyrics that are bleak and harsh, making us wonder if there’s a hidden context that is almost impossible to understand.

Whether political or even a bit cruel, English nursery rhymes date back to the 17th century and were adopted by the entire English-speaking world, or sometimes even translated to other languages to finally become a global legacy. This is our list of the best children’s songs from England. Note that we give you an instrumental version of all of these songs for free, so watch out for the links under the videos.

Table of Contents

Top 10 English Songs for Kids

1.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

“Rain, Rain, Go Away” is a nursery song about driving away the rain, so the children can play outside. The lyrics are known at least from the 17th century, included in a collection of proverbs.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable Rain Rain Go Away lyrics, click here.

2.

Hickory, Dickory, Dock

“Hickory, Dickory, Dock” is a often sung as a counting-out song. The words to this 1744 rhyme is thought to have been based on the astronomical clock at Exeter Cathedral, in Devon, South England. The clock has a small hole in the door below the face for the resident cat to hunt mice.

Hickory, Dickory, Dock Karaoke | In...
Hickory, Dickory, Dock Karaoke | Instrumental Video with Lyrics

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable Hickory Dickory Dock Lyrics, click here.

3.

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

As times and social concepts change, this rhyme’s reference to black sheep caused some concern and debate over its political correctness. In reality, many tried to explain its meaning in several ways, which still remain purely hypothetical. However, both the title and its lyrics have been referred to in literature (Rudyard Kipling) and popular culture.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable Baa Baa Black Sheep lyrics, click here.

4.

Pop! Goes the Weasel

In Britain, “Pop! Goes the Weasel” has been played as a children’s game since at least the late 19th century. That would look like a common story if only this rhyme (with lyrics of a vague meaning) hadn’t started to become popular as “an old English dance” performed on stage and in dance-halls according to a music sheet acquired by the British Library in 1853.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable Pop Goes the Weasel lyrics, click here.

5.

London Bridge is Falling Down

Matilda of Scotland, Henry I’s consort, and Eleanor of Provence, consort of Henry III, had the responsibility of building or repairing works on early 11th and 13th century respectively and are two of the candidates for the “fair lady” of the chorus to this English classic.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable London Bridge is Falling Down lyrics, click here.

6.

Humpty Dumpty

The rhyme of this English nursery rhyme, expressing probably a riddle, dates from the late 18thcentury and the tune from 1870, but there is no specific information about its origins. Humpty Dumpty is a figure usually illustrated as an anthropomorphic egg. As a character it is most known from Lewis Carroll’s novel “Through the Looking-Glass”.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable Humpty Dumpty lyrics, click here.

7.

Jack and Jill

In “Jack and Jill”, an 18th century English rhyme, the phrase of the two names suggests, possibly, a romantically attached couple, as in the proverb “A good Jack makes a good Jill”.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable Jack and Jill lyrics, click here.

8.

The Muffin Man

Victorian households had many of their fresh foods delivered, such as muffins, which were delivered door-to-door by a muffin man, in this case from Drury Lane, a street on the eastern boundary of the Covent Garden area of London. The “muffin” in question was the bread product known in the United States as English muffins.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable The Muffin Man lyrics, click here.

9.

Ring a Ring o’ Roses

Known as “Ring Around the Rosie” in the United States, this is a popular English playground singing game.

Concerning the meaning of lyrics and game, folklorists believe they are of pagan origins, while more recent readings, which appeared in the mid-twentieth century, associate the context with the Great Plague which happened in England in 1665, or with earlier outbreaks of the Black Death in England – although this is still considered speculation.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable Ring a Ring o’ Roses lyrics, click here.

10.

Oranges and Lemons

Another traditional nursery rhyme and singing game from England, which makes reference to the bells of several churches located near or within the City of London. In the game, the players file, in pairs, through an arch made by two of the players (made by having the players face each other, raise their arms over their head, and clasp their partners’ hands). On the last word, the children forming the arch drop their arms to catch the pair of children currently passing through.

For free instrumental download, click here.

For printable Oranges and Lemons lyrics, click here.

30 More kids’ Songs from England

England is full of great kids songs, nursery rhymes and lullabies. Browse through our entire collection of songs from that part of the U.K.

English Songs for kids Playlist

Watch all 10 songs presented in detail in this article on this video playlist:

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