5 Fingerplays to Sing With Your Children

My children LOVE fingerplays. Even before they can actually move their hands and fingers, they are engaged to sit and watch me sing a song that has matching tiny movements.

What is a Fingerplay?

A fingerplay is a song or chant that has gestures that correspond with the words. Some examples are This Little Piggy and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I mean, what little one isn’t obsessed with at least one of these fingerplays at one point of their little lives.

Not only are fingerplays fun and engaging, but they help children practice fine motor skills. (tiny movements that will hopefully translate to holding a fork/pencil, sewing, or playing the piano) My young babies, 0-18 months, love trying to mimic the actions. They really respond to the fact that they can do an action and I can understand what they are trying to do. “Way to roll your arms!” “Wow, look at you wiggling your fingers!” The older children enjoy the trickiness of some of the actions and especially appreciate the chants that utilize fingers and hands to tell/act out a story.

Teaching a fingerplay

As you teach your children these fingerplays you can do the actions yourself and have them watch. Another option is to help them by moving their hands and arms for them. I have a found a little mix of both is the most effective. My girls haven’t really loved when I move their hands for them, and would prefer to watch until they can do it on their own.

A little helpful parenting hint, these little fingerplays can work during a time your child needs to be calm or quiet, like church. I do the little actions down low and mouth the words. They still smile and follow along just as if I am singing it out loud.

In this post I have included five, tried and true, fingerplays that both my little girls have loved. I have included the lyrics for a quick refresher, as well as a video to give you a view of the songs in action… and to show you how crazy adorable my littles are.

Singing “One Little Finger”

5 Fingerplays to Sing With Your Children

1. Open Shut Them

-This is literally every child’s favorite! I chant this to my kids the minute they open their eyes. There are so many different versions, however, this is the one that my family loves.

“Open shut them, open shut them
give a little clap clap clap
open shut them, open shut them
lay them in your lap lap lap”

“creep them creep them creep them creep them
right up to your chin chin chin
open wide your little mouth…..
but do not let them in”

“wave them wave them wave them wave them
just like this this this
roll them roll them roll them roll them
give a little kiss”

2. Round and Round the Garden

– This chant tells a story and includes animals. Win win for all young ages! It even includes a little sensory as they tickle their palm.

“Round and round the garden
goes the little mouse
one step, two step
in his little house”

“Round and round the garden
goes the teddy bear,
tip toe, tip toe
tickle under there”

3. 12345

-Here is a little song that tells a simple story. It is a newer one I came across. I really like that this one doesn’t have your same typical clapping and rolling actions.

“One, two, three, four, five
once I caught a fish alive
six, seven, eight, nine, ten
then I let him go again”

“Why did I let him go?
because he bit my finger so
which finger did he bite?
this little finger on my right”

4. One Little Finger

-My little girl’s friend’s grandma sang this song to him. I thought it was a bit weird at first, but my girls became obsessed. It teaches a few body parts and helps the kids to isolate a finger. You can insert anything you want in the body part.

“One little finger
one little finger
one little finger
tap tap tap
point your finger up
point your finger down
put it on your [insert own body part]”

5.Big Big Big

-These actions are your typical actions in a fingerplay, however, I really like that this song teaches measurement vocabulary.

“This is big big big
this is small small small
this is short short short
this is tall tall tall”

“This is fast fast fast
this is slow slow slow
this is yes yes yes
this is no no no”

There you have it! 5 simple fingerplays you can start singing and chanting today. These chants and songs will be  winners in even the toughest of toddler crowds.

Sharing is Caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *