Fingerplays For Preschoolers

A Fun Way For Everyone To Learn

By: - Childhood Education - August 1, 2011
fingerplays for preschoolers a fun way for everyone to learn

Perhaps one of the most commonly used of fingerplays for preschoolers is the nursery rhyme ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’.  Preschool fingerplays are used to teach hand and eye coordination in preschoolers.    Many fingerplays for preschoolers are in the forms of songs or chants.  Typical example of a song in preschool fingerplays would be ‘This Old Man’.  Many used these methods of hand and eye coordination to teach babies to toddlers to preschoolers parts of the body (as ‘this little piggy’ generally involves the feet) or how to rhyme (as in ‘I’m a Little Tea Pot’) or response such as ‘If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.’
Fingerplays for preschoolers have evolved over the years and now include finger puppets and creative painting so that preschool fingerplays grow beyond strengthening memory to include following direction and sequence as well as body rhythm and limb coordination.  Preschool fingerplays are not only songs but stories to equate children with every day life.  They teach children how to count, the alphabet and colors, about animals and nature.  

Each story teller (teacher) using fingerplays for preschoolers uses their own ‘props’ as in dress, facial expressions, changes in tone of voice, body position or movement of hands and feet, their own rhythm, their own style.  This makes the use of preschool fingerplays a continually changing curriculum that benefits the teacher as well as stimulates the child’s brain and builds imagination.       

Examples of commonly used fingerplays are:

Two Little Black Birds
Two little black birds Sitting on the wall,  (hold up one finger of each hand)
One named Peter, The other named Paul.
Fly away Peter! (put a hand behind your back)
Fly away, Paul! (put the other hand behind you back)
Come back, Peter! (bring the first hand from behind your back)
Come back, Paul!  (bring the second hand from behind your back)

Five Little Blue Birds  (using finger to represent the birds)

Five little blue birds, hopping by my door
One went to build a nest, and then there were four

Four little blue birds singing lustily
One got out of tune, and then there were three

Three little blue birds, and what should one do,
But go in search of dinner, leaving only two.

Two little blue birds singing for fun
One flew away, and then there was one.

One little blue bird sitting in the sun
He took a little nap, and then there was none.
Hands on Shoulders  (following the actions described by each line)

Hands on shoulders, hands on knees.
Hands behind you, if you please;
Touch your shoulders,  now your nose, 
Now your hair and now your toes; 
Hands up high in the air,
Down at your sides, and touch your hair;
Hands up high as before, 
Now clap your hands, one-two-three-four!