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Three Little Kittens Nursery Rhyme For Kids

Three little kittens is an interesting children’s rhyme as it talks about a very sophisticated way of conduct through the story of these kittens. It is an American rhyme that has its origin in the British folk tradition and has been absorbed into the Mother Goose collection over the passage of time. It was first published in its modern form in 1833 anonymously and about 10 years later, under the signature of the writer Eliza Lee Cabot Follen.

Lyrics Of The Rhyme Three Little Kittens

Here are the English lyrics of the poem Three Little Kittens


Three little kittens
they lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear,
we sadly fear
Our mittens we have lost.
What! lost your mittens,
you naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow
No, you shall have no pie.


The three little kittens
they found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear,
see here, see here,
Our mittens we have found!
Put on your mittens,
you silly kittens,
And you shall have some pie.
Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r,
Purr-r, purr-r, purr-r,
Oh, let us have some pie.


The three little kittens
put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie;
Oh, mother dear,
we greatly fear
Our mittens we have soiled.
What! soiled your mittens,
you naughty kittens!
Then they began to sigh,
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
Then they began to sigh.


The three little kittens
they washed their mittens,
And hung them out to dry;
Oh! mother dear,
do you not hear,
Our mittens we have washed!
What! washed your mittens,
then you’re good kittens,
But I smell a rat close by.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
We smell a rat close by.

Three Little Kittens Nursery Rhyme

What Will Your Child Learn From The Rhyme Three Little Kittens?

The song about the Three Little Kittens is fun and catchy for children to recite. Besides, it offers a lot to learn. One most valuable learning that children take away from this rhyme is to honestly and truthfully let your parents know everything. When the kittens lost their mittens, they did not try to hide it from the mother for the fear of facing punishment, rather they confessed the truth.


Children also learn about the sophisticated code of conduct from this rhyme through the mother’s expectations from her kittens. Don’t lose your nice things, keep your hands clean, and take responsibility of your actions are a few lessons that this rhyme teaches children through the actions of the kittens.

Theme Of The Rhyme Three Little Kittens

The full rhyme Three Little Kittens is based on a day in the life of three kittens, presumably siblings. Interestingly, these are not typical stray cats, rather they are highly sophisticated cats who wear mittens, talk respectfully, obey their mother, eat pie and behave in an orderly manner. The mother pursues to teach them various lessons like taking care of their belongings and keeping their clothes clean while also pampering them with delicious pies.


The rhyme describes several mistakes that the kittens make throughout the day like losing their mittens and soiling them later, but also describes how they take responsibility and rectify their mistakes by finding the mittens and washing them. The good old concepts of punishments, rewards and reinforcements are also talked about in this rhyme.

Rhyming Scheme Of Three Little Kittens

The Three Little Kittens has a very catchy rhyming pattern. In every 3-line verse, you can observe the AAB pattern. However, when you sing it together, in every 4-verse paragraph you can notice the AAB CCD AAB EEB rhyming pattern. Moreover, the rhyme has four such paragraphs, each of which starts with the titular line “Three Little Kittens” making use of the repetition device of rhyming.
Similarly, every fourth line of the paragraph repeats with the lyrics “Oh! Mother dear”.


There are several such patterns that you can notice in this rhyme, in the way the conversations take place between the kittens and their mother, making it catchy and easy to memorise for kids.

Words That Your Child Will Learn From The Three Little Kittens

Children will get to learn several words as well through this rhyme.

  • Rhyming Words: The poem uses several rhyming words that are listed below
    – Kittens-mittens
    – Cry, pie, dry, by
    – dear, fear, here, hear
  • Adjectives: little, naughty, silly, good
  • Adverbs: sadly, soon,
  • Verbs: lost, cry, fear, have, found, put, ate, soiled, washed, hung, smell
  • Sound words: purr-purr, mee-ow, sigh,
  • Nouns: kittens, mittens, pie, rat

Suggested Activities

As your child learns this rhyme, you can involve them in some fun activities to make them memorise the poem better.

1. Put On A Play!

  • Gather your children with their siblings or friends and make them memorise this rhyme.
  • Once they’re well-versed with it, let them recite it in the form of dialogues.
  • Assign characters to each child and let them recite their lines when it is their turn.
  • Teach them the appropriate actions as the events unfold, and you have a little play that your kids can put up at home at the next large gathering or even prepare to perform on stage at school!
  • This will help them memorise the poem, visually understand it better, and gain confidence in performing a musical!

2. Draw and Colour!

  • Let your children draw various elements talked about in the rhyme and let their visual creations come to life on paper. They can draw kittens, mittens and pies.
  • You can also make an elder sibling draw various scenes from the rhyme, and ask the younger one to arrange them in the correct sequence. DIY flashcards, anyone?


1. Is Three Little Kittens an American or British poem?

This rhyme has been credited to Eliza Lee Cabot Follen, who was an American writer, however, some words and concepts in the poem, like address the mom as “Oh! Mother” and expressions like “We sadly fear” give away the poem’s English origins. The rhyme for kids was born out of the British folk tradition with its exact roots not clearly known.


2. Are the kittens projected as naughty or good?

The kittens in the rhyme represent young kids who are still learning right from wrong. They keep making mistakes throughout the rhyme, for which they receive scolding and punishments from their mother. However, their honesty in owning up to their mistakes and their actions to correct them make them good little kittens.

Also Read: 

Early To Bed Rhyme for Kids
The Ants Go Marching Nursery Rhyme for Children
London Bridge Is Falling Down Rhyme with Lyrics for Nursery Children

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