Finger Play...Sneaking in Lots with 10 Little Fingers
Everyone is lined up in the hallway outside the bathroom, hands washed and ready for snack, when you count heads: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11. One is missing. A quick calculation of boys and girls and you determine it’s a girl. A peek in the girl’s room and you can see it’s going to be a while. The line is getting restless and it won’t be long before the wild sillies come out and you’ve lost all control. Time to flip through the record bin in your head and come up with a quick time killer. Up goes your hand and you start to chant:
Apple Sauce Chant
(A fun quick Apple chant)
Pick it, peel it, slice it up
Make it really yummy.
Cook it, stir it, cool it down.
I got Applesauce in my tummy.
Half way through the first line a couple kids have joined in. By the second line the whole class is with you and you’ve just bought yourself another couple minutes of classroom control and a little girl a bit more time. You’ve also practiced body awareness, rhyming, auditory discrimination, muscle coordination, and self-confidence, all while having fun and all while standing in the hallway.
Finger play by definition is: “ A rhyme for young children consisting of a set of hand movements coordinated with a song or chant.” Finger play activities have been handed down from generation to generation. It didn’t start in a preschool classroom, it started on the laps of mothers, fathers, grandparents, and other caregivers long before parents were sending their toddlers to preschool. Our ancestors didn’t need to be told songs and rhymes accompanied by movement provided the child with a multi-sensory learning experience important to their development. They knew. Maybe not in those exact words, but they knew it was a way to bond with baby, to build language skills, to teach counting, rhyming, colors, and a multitude of other skills. And most importantly, it was fun!
Some of Our Favorite Finger Play Activities
Johnny Whoops Johnny!
This is a very simple finger play activity that can be played with very young children as well as older preschoolers. The older preschoolers can also play it with each other.
With the child’s hand showing all five fingers start at the pinky fingertip and say the child’s name. Touch the next fingertip (ring finger) and say the name again. Repeat until you touch the index finger. Slide down the index finger and up the thumb saying “Whoops” as you slide. Touch the tip of the thumb and say the child’s name. Do it all in reverse remembering to “Whoops” as you slide down the thumb and up the index finger.
“Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny whoops, Johnny whoops, Johnny, Johnny, Johnny Johnny.”
This Little Child
This little child is going to bed (show pointer finger)
Down on the pillow he lays his head (lay pointer across palm of their hand so it is resting on the thumb)
He covers himself with blankets so tight (bring the 4 fingers over the pointer finger)
And there he sleeps throughout the night.
When morning comes he opens his eyes, throws back the covers and up he rise (quickly open hand and bring pointer finger up)
He dresses himself from head to toe (point from head to toe)
And off to school he goes (walk across palm of hand with pointer and index finger)
This is Me!
(A fun quick chant for All About Me!)
This is me from Head to Toes,
I have 2 eyes and 1 little nose.
I can wiggle my ears and stamp my feet,
This is me, aren't I neat.
I'm a little acorn round, lying on the cold, cold ground
Everybody steps on me, that is why I'm cracked you see
I'm a nut (click tongue twice, fist tap head)
I'm a nut (repeat motion)
I'm a nut (repeat motion) I'm nutty!