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10 Finger Plays for Preschool Kids

Try these awesome finger plays with your preschool kids. They are not only fun but also great for development.

Here are 5 reasons finger play songs are a must for kids, followed by 10 of the best fingerplays for preschool kids (and toddlers!)

Why Are Finger Plays Important for Child Development?

Fingerplays are an important part of a child’s early years. Children learn through play and this is a great way to stimulate your little one’s brain.

Let’s take a quick look at how your kids are growing and learning when you do finger rhymes with them.

Image of Fingerplays for preschoolers post

1. Listening Skills

Parents enjoy doing fingerplays with their babies and before they know it, their little one starts listening intently and giggling away as he anticipates the words and actions. This is part of the early stage of developing listening skills.

As your baby grows and develops he starts learning to listen and pay attention, long before learning to speak or join in on the rhyme. He recognizes sounds and words and remembers parts that are humorous or have actions that make him laugh.

2. Vocabulary

In order to develop receptive and expressive language children need to be exposed to language in many formats and contexts. Listening to fingerplays is the perfect way for children to build their vocabulary and understanding of the structure of language.

3. Fine Motor Skills

Finger rhymes are one of the best ways to start developing your child’s fine motor skills. Fine motor refers to the small muscles of the body – such as the fingers and toes.

Babies, toddlers and preschoolers need lots of opportunities to build these small muscles. Without these, children will not develop the control to hold a pencil and write when they begin formal schooling.

A simple activity such as doing finger rhymes will therefore prepare your child for learning to write in the grades.

4. Auditory Perception

The wonderful thing about play is how many formal learning skills are actually learnt through it. One example is learning to read. It may seem logical that children learn to read by learning the 26 letters of the alphabet but this is one of the last pieces of the puzzle.

One important pre-reading skill is developing auditory perception – the ability to hear, distinguish, remember, focus on and break up sound. This is not built through memorizing letters, but through playing with sounds in ways such as listening to stories, singing songs and playing sound games – for years before learning to read.

Listening to the rhyming patterns, sounds and words in fingerplays is just one way to prepare your child for reading.

5. Cognitive Understanding

Listening to, memorizing, understanding, predicting the next movement – all these are thought processes that are stimulating your child’s cognitive development.

The more your child is actively learning through play, the more the brain is expanding and becoming better at learning. Play is more important for brain development than any kind of formal activity.

These are just a few of the many benefits of learning finger rhymes.

10 Fun Finger Plays for Preschool Kids

Here are 10 fun, fabulous preschool finger play songs!

1. My Rabbit

My Bunny

My rabbit has two big ears,
(hold up two fingers to make ears)
And a funny little nose.
(join all fingers together into a pointy nose)
He likes to nibble carrots,
(make nibbling motions with fingers)
And he hops wherever he goes.
(make hopping movement with entire hand)

2. Grandmother’s Glasses

Grandmother's glasses rhyme

These are grandmother’s glasses,
(hold the fingers around the eyes in the shape of glasses)
And this is grandmother’s hat.
(make a hat shape with both hands above your head)
Grandmother clasps her hands like this,
(clasp hands together)
And folds them in her lap.
(fold hands in your lap)

These are grandfather’s glasses,
(hold the fingers around the eyes in the shape of glasses)
And this is grandfather’s hat.
(make a hat shape with both hands above your head)
This is the way he folds his arms,
(fold arms)
And has a little nap.
(cock head to side with eyes closed and pretend to sleep)

For this rhyme, use a high-pitched voice for the first verse (grandmother) and a deeper voice for the second verse (grandfather).

3. Two Little Dickey Birds

Two little dickey birds sitting on a wall,
(both index fingers in air, wiggle both of them)
One named Peter,
(wiggle one index finger)
One named Paul.
(wiggle the other finger)
Fly away Peter,
(draw the hand with “the Peter finger” behind you and hide it)
Fly away Paul.
(draw the hand with “the Paul finger” behind you and hide it)
Come back Peter,
(bring the “Peter finger” back to the front)
Come back Paul.
(bring the “Paul finger” back to the front)

Here are some more fun animal songs for preschoolers.

4. Miss Polly Had a Dolly

Miss Polly had a dolly
Who was sick, sick, sick.
(cradle baby in arms and rock)
So she called for the doctor
To come quick, quick, quick.
(hold hand to ear to phone doctor)
The doctor came
With his bag and his hat.
(pretend to lift up bag and touch hat on head)
And he knocked on the door
With a rat-a-tat-tat.
(pretend to knock on door)

He looked at the dolly
And he shook his head.
(shake head)
He said “Miss Polly
Put her straight to bed.”
(point finger )
He wrote on the paper
For a pill, pill, pill.
(pretend to write on your hand)
“I’ll be back in the morning
With the bill, bill, bill.”
(wave goodbye)

5. Here is the Beehive

Bees flying around a beehive

Here is the beehive,
(clench fist)
Where are the bees?
(hold other hand out in gesture of wondering)
Hidden away where nobody sees.
(shake index finger of free hand)
Watch and you’ll see them come out of their hive,
(point to clenched fist with index finger)
One, two, three, four, five.
(bring out fingers of clenched fist one at a time)

Here is the beehive,
(clench fist)
Where are the bees?
(hold other hand out in gesture of wondering)
Flying around all the flowers and trees.
(open fist and wiggle fingers up in the air)
Soon they will come home from their fun,
(lower the wiggling fingers)
Five, four, three, two, one.
(bring fingers back into the clenched fist one at a time)

6. This Little Piggy

This little piggy went to the market.
(hold up thumb)
This little piggy stayed home.
(hold up index finger)
This little piggy had roast beef.
(hold up middle finger)
This little piggy had none.
(hold up ring finger)
And this little piggy went “wee, wee, wee all the way home.”
(hold up baby finger and wiggle it)

Your child will probably already be familiar with this rhyme if you played it on her toes as a baby, but it also makes a good preschool fingerplay. She will enjoy doing it with fingers instead.

Say the rhyme with the right hand, then the left hand, then try both at the same time. This is great for developing coordination.

7. Tommy Thumb

Tommy Thumb, Tommy Thumb,
Where are you?
(hold hands behind back)
Here I am!
(bring one thumb forward and wiggle it)
Here I am!
(bring the other thumb forward and wiggle it)
And how do you do?
(wiggle thumbs and bring them behind back again)

Repeat with Peter Pointer (index finger), Toby Tall (middle finger), Ruby Ring (ring finger), Baby Small (small finger) and then all the fingers.

Fingers all, fingers all,
Where are you?
(hold hands behind back)
Here we are!
(bring hand forward and wiggle fingers)
Here we are!
(bring other hand forward and wiggle fingers)
And how do you do?
(clap hands)

8. This is my Garden

Image of a garden

This is my garden,
(hold out right hand, palm facing up)
I’ll rake it with care.
(make raking motion with fingers of left hand)
Here are the seeds,
(pinch fingers together of left hand)
I’ll plant in there.
(pretend to plant the seeds onto the right hand)
The sun will shine,
(make the shape of the sun with two hands)
The rain will fall.
(wiggle fingers to make the motion of rain falling)
The seeds will sprout,
And grow up tall.
(push fingers of both hands together and upwards)

9. Here is a Bunny

Here is a bunny,
(hold up two fingers)
With ears so funny.
(wiggle fingers up and down)
And here is his
Hole in the ground.
(make a hole with the fist of the other hand)
At the slightest noise he hears,
He pricks up his ears.
(wiggle fingers)
Then he hops to his
Hole in the ground.
(wiggle fingers into the hole in the fist)

10. Here is a Turtle

Turtle

Here is a turtle.
(make a fist)
He lives in a shell.
He likes his home,
Very well.
When he gets hungry,
He comes out to eat.
(stick thumb out and wiggle it)
Then he goes back into
His house to sleep.
(put thumb back inside fist)

I hope you love these fingerplays for toddlers and preschoolers. Here are some great nursery rhymes about sleep to try out tonight!


Would you like a year of done-for-you, ten-minute activities to teach your 3-5-year-old through play? Get your copy of the Learning Through Play Activity Pack for only $27.

Activity Pack for preschoolers

Sources:

Pieterse, M. 2007. Language and School Readiness. Metz Press: Welgemoed.

Finger Plays by Dr Jean Feldman

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Naomi

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Another version of Two Little Dicky Birds is Two Little Blackbirds Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill. One named Jack and the other named Jill. Fly away Jack; fly away Jill. Come back Jack; Come back Jill

Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud. One named Soft and the other named Loud. Fly away Soft; fly away Loud Come back Soft; Come back Loud.

Two little blackbirds sitting on my toe. One named High and the other named Low. Fly away High; fly away Low. Come back High; Cme back Low.

Tanja Mcilroy

Thursday 28th of October 2021

I love this version! Thanks, Naomi.

Kay

Thursday 4th of February 2021

I have been teaching the 1st verse of Here is the beehive for many years, my groups will soon know the 2nd! What fun!

Tanja Mcilroy

Friday 5th of February 2021

Wonderful!

Camila

Tuesday 2nd of June 2020

I like your resourses!! Regards from Chile

mary

Tuesday 19th of January 2021

Thank you. I refer to your posts regularly and find them very helpful for teaching my children in a Junior ASD unit

Dammi Perera

Thursday 18th of June 2020

I love this resources very much. Thanks for your effort. Dammi from Sri Lanka.

Tanja Mcilroy

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Thank you Camila!

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