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For Want Of A Nail Nursery Rhyme For Kids

The For Want Of A Nail song dates back to the 14th Century. The nursery rhyme or proverb has numerous variations over many centuries. It reminds us that insignificant acts or mistakes can have grave and unseen consequences. For example, something so insignificant as a nail could cause big troubles like the loss of a kingdom. The first mention of the proverb was during King Richard III’s death during the Battle of Bosworth. The story was illustrated in William Shakespeare’s historical play, ‘Richard III’ in 1591. The proverb has since been used and readapted throughout literature, music and cinema. It is a very popular proverb and preschool nursery rhyme!


Lyrics Of For Want Of A Nail In English

Here are the lyrics of poem For Want Of A Nail: 


For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.     
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.  


What Will Your Child Learn From For Want Of A Nail?  

The nursery rhyme teaches us that no matter how insignificant or small something may seem, it can have a big consequence on us or others. As we see in the nursery rhyme, a horseshoe nail causes the downfall of an entire kingdom. Similarly, we must teach our children that even the smallest of our words or actions can have massively negative consequences on our lives. We must choose our actions and words very carefully and be ready for the consequences of those actions and words.

Theme Of The Rhyme For Want Of A Nail  

The theme of the For Want Of A Nail nursery rhyme is understanding and taking responsibility for our actions and words. The poem talks about how the loss of a nail caused the downfall of an entire Kingdom. The poem describes the entire chain of how everything is connected. Let us understand it here:


Because there was lack of a nail, the shoe was lost.
Because the horse did not have shoes, the horse was lost.
Because the horse was not there, the rider could not move.
Because the rider could not move, the message was not be delivered on time.
Because of missing out on that crucial message, a battle was lost
Because of losing this battle, the entire kingdom was lost.
This whole situation took place only because of a nail that was lost from a horseshoe.

Rhyming Scheme Of For Want Of A Nail  

The rhyming pattern of the For Want Of A Nail is: AAAAAAAB


The first seven lines of the rhyme end with the same word, and the last sentence ends with a different word. Hence, the rhyming scheme is AAAAAAAB.  

Words That Your Child Will Learn From For Want Of A Nai

  • Want
  • Nail
  • Shoe
  • Lost
  • Horse
  • Rider
  • Message
  • Battle
  • Kingdom
  • Horseshoe  

Suggested Activities  

The key to teaching your little one new concepts is to make the learning process fun and exciting. You need to mentally and physically engage them in new activities and encourage the process of learning new things. Below are a few activities you can do with your little one to encourage and engage them in learning new things.  


1. Play  

  • Play a game of Chinese Whispers with your little one.   
  • You will need at least three players for this game. However, the more players, the merrier!  
  • Pick up an easy sentence such as ‘The dog jumped over the fence in a hurry’ and whisper it to the person next to you.  
  • You can whisper it only once, and the person next to you must whisper what they heard to the person next to them.  
  • In the end, the last person must say what they heard out loud.   
  • You will see that the sentence has completely morphed into something else.  
  • Explain to your child how even minor changes or misheard words completely changed the meaning and structure of the sentence.  
  • Consequences to actions, too, work in a similar way.  

2. Create

  • Take a piece of chart paper or an A3-sized sheet.   
  • Take printouts of the objects (nail, shoe, horse, rider, etc) in the rhyme.   
  • Let your child sing the rhyme and accordingly paste the corresponding pictures onto the chart paper.   
  • This will be your rhyme poster!  


1. How do I get my child interested in nursery rhymes?

A. Make the process fun and exciting for your little one. This will encourage them to learn!  

2. Why should I teach my child nursery rhymes?

A. Nursery rhymes teach children a lot and form the foundation of learning. From morals to vocabulary, they teach children the basics of important things they must know. Hence, it is important to teach them nursery rhymes.


Also Read:

Jack Be Nimble Rhyme for Kids
A Tisket A Tasket Nursery Poem for Children 
After A Bath Rhyme with Lyrics for Kids

Shraddha Mishra
Writer, journalist and content creator, she has worked across several publications. She takes a keen interest in travel, food and culture. A new mother, she loves talking about her parenting journey and watching her toddler play, learn and grow. When not working, you will find her watching a movie or web series, or reading a novel, chasing a good story everywhere.
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