It breaks my heart when I hear people say, "Aren't finger plays old fashion?" Well, you might call them that, but then you'd have to call chocolate chip cookies and mashed potatoes and BINGO and swings and hugs...old fashion as well. Let me share just a few things children can learn when you do a finger play. (You might want to enlighten some administrators or supervisors or parents with this information. Sometimes they just don't "get" what we do!)
Engaged – Doing a finger play is a natural way to engage children’s attention and help them focus.
Oral language – Repetition of finger plays builds oral language skills.
Auditory memory – Children activate their short term memory as they memorize finger plays.
Comprehension – Most finger plays have a simple story plot for children to follow.
Imagination – With so much time spent in front of a screen, finger plays encourage children to make pictures in their brains.
Sequence – Remembering the sequence in finger plays can help children retell stories.
Phonological awareness – Finger plays build a foundation for rhyme, rhythm and alliteration.
Eye-hand coordination – Visual connections with finger plays are important for writing and reading.
Small motor skills – Doing finger plays is like sending the fingers to the gym to exercise.
Active Learning - Multiple senses are engaged as children watch and wiggle their fingers and repeat rhymes.
Purposeful Practice for Automaticity (aka repetition) - Children will enjoy saying these rhymes over and over.
Brain Breaks - Children will be oxygenating the brain and crossing the midline as they do finger plays. Memorizing poems and rhymes is also good for short term memory.
Executive function – Children develop self-regulation and impulse control when they participate in finger plays.
Social skills – All children can be successful with finger plays with this group experience.
Common Core State Standards – You got it! Speaking, listening, comprehension, phonological awareness all rolled into one!
Skills for the 21st Century – You’ve got those, too, with communication and cooperation.
Best of all, finger plays are FREE! They can be used to entertain children during transitions or any time you’ve got a minute or two.
*If you’ll go to my website, you’ll find 5 free videos where I demonstrate finger plays.
*Go to my September, 2011, website and you’ll find a download with the words. I would suggest taking one each week and putting it on an index card. (You could also write it on a language experience chart or use it on an interactive white board for choral reading.) At the end of the week punch a hole in the rhyme and attach it to a book ring. If you’ll do this every week, in a few months you’ll have a whole RING OF RHYMES.
We are so busy trying to give children things we didn't have
that we are failing to give them what we did have!