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Finger Play Songs and Activities

written by: Kendra Dahlstrom • edited by: Jonathan Wylie • updated: 9/11/2012

Young children learn concepts and fine motor skills with preschool songs, fingerplays, and rhymes. Here are some simple fingerplays based on general concepts and popular themes.

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    phaewilk at morguefile preschooler Preschool songs, fingerplays, and fun little chants help children learn concepts like counting. Fingerplays incorporate hand gestures and movement during a song. These help children develop their fine motor skills, and sometimes their gross motor skills as well. Although there are many popular pre-designed fingerplays, preschool teachers can make up their own hand actions to songs they want their students to learn as well. Adding hand motions to words helps children learn songs and rhymes. If you want to get your feet wet before designing your own fingerplay rhymes, here are several popular songs to get your class started.

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    Religious Preschool Fingerplay

    Some fingerplays teach the alphabet, counting, shapes, or colors. Others focus on rhyming. Learning to rhyme is an important skill for preschoolers to learn and master. Understanding rhymes helps kids learn to read once they reach that scholastic milestone. This particular fingerplay example has a religious theme and probably works best in the home or religious education setting.

    1. Here's the church. (Children interlock their fingers facing down and bring the insides of both wrists together. The fingers should be hidden underneath the hands.)
    2. Here's the steeple. (The two index fingers come up to a point to look like a steeple.)
    3. Open the door (Separate the thumbs like an opening door.)
    4. And see all the people. (Flip hands over, still intertwined, and wiggle all the fingers.)
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    Halloween Fingerplay

    Kids love using preschool songs, fingerplays, and rhymes to celebrate holidays and special occasions. What better way to celebrate than with a pumpkin theme. This chant helps kids learn counting and rhyme.

    1. Five little pumpkins sitting on a vine. (Hold up five fingers on one hand. This hand holds up all fingers throughout the whole fingerplay.)
    2. The first one said, "It's about that time." (First, the opposite hand touches the thumb to indicate the first pumpkin. Then, point to the wrist to indicate checking the time.)
    3. The second one said, "There are ghosts in the air." (First, the opposite hand touches the index finger to indicate the second pumpkin. Then, swish the hand back in forth for the ghosts in the air.)
    4. The third one said, "But I don't care." (First, the opposite hand touches the middle finger to indicate the third pumpkin. Then, shake head back and forth.)
    5. The fourth one said, "Let's have some fun." (First, the opposite hand touches the ring finger to indicate the fourth pumpkin. Then, it gives a "thumbs-up" sign.)
    6. The fifth one said, "Let's run and run." (First, the opposite hand touches the pinky finger to indicate the fifth pumpkin. Then, the index and middle fingers move back and forth like running legs.)
    7. Wooooooo went the wind, (Slowly move both hands and arms up over the head.)
    8. And out when the lights, (Quickly move hands and arms down by your sides.)
    9. And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight. (Make hands into fists and roll hands and arms in circles around each other.)
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    Body Identification Fingerplay

    Younger children learn a lot from preschool songs. Fingerplays sometimes teach kids the names and locations of their body parts. This chant also incorporate rhyming words. Have the older children point out which words rhyme while they do the hand actions.

    1. Open and shut them, open and shut them. (Open hands and close them into fists with the words.)
    2. Give a little clap. (Clap your hands once.)
    3. Open and shut them, open and shut them. (Again, open and shut hands along with the words.)
    4. Put 'em in your lap. (Place your hands in your lap.)
    5. Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, (Walk the fingertips of each hand up the body.)
    6. Right up to your chin. (Touch your chin.)
    7. Open wide your little mouth, (Open mouth after chanting this line. Then hesitate before saying the last line.)
    8. But do not let them in. (Run the fingertips to the mouth, but don't let them inside.)
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    Incorporating fingerplays and songs into the preschool learning day helps kids learn while still having fun. Children love acting silly and most chants allow controlled silliness. Use these fingerplays to help children memorize useful concepts and develop valuable motor skills used later for handwriting and scissor use.