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What is the red sun rhyme?

What is the red sun rhyme?

The red sun rhyme refers to a popular nursery rhyme that has been passed down through generations. It involves describing the color and appearance of a red sun through rhyming verses. This rhyme is commonly taught to young children and has many variations throughout different cultures and languages.


The exact origins of the red sun rhyme are unknown but it has been traced back to 19th century American and British nursery rhyme compilations. The most common English version goes:

Red sun, red sun, up so high
In the blue, blue sky

Big and bright, what a sight
To start the day just right

The rhythmic nature and simple vocabulary make it easy for young children to memorize and repeat. The rhyming pattern helps children identify basic colors and learn early literacy skills.

Similar rhymes about the sun can be found across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The consistency of a red sun in the rhymes suggests it may have origins in shared human perceptions of the rising sun’s distinct red-orange glow in the morning sky.


On the surface, the red sun rhyme seems to be a simple descriptive verse about the appearance of the morning sun. But when analyzed more closely, deeper meanings can be extracted.

The color red evokes feelings of warmth, energy, and positivity. Referring to the sun as “red” connects it to these qualities. This injects an uplifting spirit into the rhyme and emphasizes the sun as a life-giving force.

Positioning the sun “up so high” depicts its towering presence over the earth. This conjures up imagery of the sun’s immense size and power. Yet it remains calm and inviting in the “blue, blue sky.”

The lines “big and bright, what a sight” further highlight the sun’s vibrant and glorious nature. As the source of natural light, the sun lights up the world and turns darkness into daylight.

The concluding line “to start the day just right” cements the sun’s role in beginning each new day on a bright note. This paints the sun as a positive guiding force to be appreciated.

So while on the surface a mere description of the sun, deeper analysis uncovers how the red sun rhyme uses poetic techniques to elevate the sun as a warm, welcoming source of energy and light.


Many versions of the red sun rhyme have emerged across different cultures over time. The colors, descriptive words, and sequence of verses may differ, but the red sun remains a central theme.

A common Spanish language version is:

Sol, sol, redondito
Cálido como un cojín
Arriba en el cielo azul

Mirándonos juntitos

Which translates to:

Sun, sun, round one
Warm as a cushion
Up in the blue sky
Watching over us nearby

An Arabic variant follows:

Shams, shams, hmar hmar

Ft alkudra’a alkubar
Tbswm walkhbz wal’usr
Byjr ‘ala alkayf hasan

Translating to:

Sun, sun, red red
In the big blue

Smile and give bread and bliss
To live in the good way

And a Russian version:

Krasnoye solnyshko
V nebe golubom
Ulybnis nam priyatno
Teplim svoim luchom

Translating to:

Little red sun
In the blue sky
Smile at us nicely

With your warm ray

These versions demonstrate how the red sun rhyme has been reinvented across cultures while retaining its core imagery. The different languages add regional flair through distinctive words and phrasing.

Use in Culture

The red sun rhyme remains a popular teaching tool for young learners. The song-like verses and vibrant theme help make language acquisition engaging.

Many children’s books and cartoons also incorporate the rhyme into their narratives. The rhyme may be included to represent morning time or accompany illustrations of a rising sun.

Here are some examples of the red sun rhyme appearing in culture:

  • Children’s books – “Rise and Shine” by Claire Freedman, “Good Morning Sun” by Michael Sammul
  • Cartoon theme songs – “Bob the Builder”, “The Wonder Pets”
  • Movies – The rhyme is referenced in Toy Story 3 and Dead Poets Society
  • Music – Donna Lewis’ song “I Love You Always Forever” includes the lyrics “Oh the red sun is shining”

The rhyme has become a cultural motif representing dawn, new beginnings, and the start of a sunny day. It conjures nostalgia in those who learned it in childhood.

Many parents pass on the rhyme to their own children, ensuring its place as a popular nursery rhyme for generations to come.

Educational Value

Due to its simple structure, vibrant imagery, and pleasing rhythm, the red sun rhyme is frequently used to teach young children critical language and literacy skills.

Here are some of the educational benefits:

  • Vocabulary – Teaches basic descriptor words like red, blue, big, bright
  • Colors – Reinforces color recognition for red and blue
  • Rhyming – Rhyming pattern promotes phonological awareness
  • Literacy – Supports print motivation and reading readiness
  • Memory – Easy to memorize through repetition
  • Oral Language – Opportunities to recite and perform build speaking skills
  • Engagement – Fun rhythms and imagery promote student engagement

Educators, speech therapists, and child development experts often recommend nursery rhymes like the red sun rhyme as fun tools for nurturing early literacy abilities, especially for ages 2-5 years.

The rhyme can be incorporated into lessons on colors, weather, space, poetry, performing arts, and more. Students may enjoy inventing their own rhyming verses about the sun as creative writing exercises.

Overall, the classic red sun rhyme offers an engaging and developmentally enriching experience for young learners.


With its catchy rhythm, vibrant imagery, and global reach, the red sun rhyme has cemented itself as a cherished children’s nursery rhyme. It originated as a simple descriptive folk rhyme but has gained deeper meaning and significance across cultures over time.

This cheerful little rhyme continues to capture children’s imaginations while helping build critical language and literacy skills. Its timeless, sunny theme ensures the red sun rhyme’s place as a staple of nursery rhyme tradition for generations to come.