Day 3 World Nursery Rhyme Week: I Hear Thunder

Us British do have a reputation for talking about the weather, especially rainy weather! Now why would that be I wonder! We have quite a few nursery rhymes about it too. Rain, Rain, Go Away; Incy Wincy Spider and I hear Thunder to name a few. I am no exception, every year I introduce the weather to my English students and every time we meet I point out of the window and chant "What's the weather like today?". More often than not the response is "it's rainy, it's rainy, that's the weather today!"

I Hear Thunder

This nursery rhyme would be best introduced after or during a real downpour or thunder storm. It would make it so much more meaningful to them. Cup your hand to your ear and encourage the children to listen. "I can hear THUNDER? Can you hear it?" "I can hear the rain? Can you hear it?" "Pitter, patter, pitter, patter"

Draw a cloud on the whiteboard and add the lightening bolts and the raindrops, describing what you are doing as you draw. "A grey cloud with lots of raindrops and a lightening bolt." Cover your ears "The thunder! it's so LOUD!" "Do you like thunder?"

Start singing the rhyme, tapping your thighs at first and then add some actions on the third or forth time you sing. Encourage the children to join in when they can. The tune is easy to remember for my French students as it is to the tune of Frère Jacques. It has a simple repetitive melody which makes it easy to learn too.


I hear thunder, I hear thunder

cup hand to ear


Hark don‛t you, hark don‛t you?

cup hand to ear


Pitter patter raindrops

wiggle fingers above head downwards


Pitter patter raindrops,

wiggle fingers above head downwards


I‛m wet through so are you.

wipe hands in hair as if brushing off raindrops

then point to someone

Find a BBC version of the rhyme here

Once older children have sung it a few times and they are familiar with it, introduce it as a round. Split the class into two groups. One group starts singing the first line. When they begin the second line, get the second group to start the rhyme from the beginning. They may need a lot of practice!! Try again splitting the class into four groups.

Making a thunderstorm

This is an activity I learned and used in my primary school teaching days and one that all children seem to enjoy. Have your students stand in a circle. Start tapping one finger on your opposite hand. Pass the action to the left. One by one the students copy the action until it comes back round to you. Now tap four fingers on the opposite hand and pass the action one by one around the circle. Continue with clapping hand, slapping thighs then stamping feet. The children will try to copy you but they need to wait and copy just the person to their right. You have gone from a single raindrop to a loud thunderstorm! Now do the activity in reverse until just one person is tapping their finger. They stop on your signal. This activity is great for listening and concentration.

Please do check out the I Hear Thunder story massage over at Story Massage UK. To do this massage in a class, have your children either sitting in pairs or in one big circle (conga style). Always encourage your children to ask permission before starting a massage " May I give you a massage?"  You do the massage stroke in the air while the children copy the action onto their partners back. Repeat it a few times. When they have finished they thank the person for letting them give a massage "Thanks for letting me give you a massage" Then, swap over and repeat.

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