Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Start every day in the New Year by connecting with children's hearts with a handshake.  You can pick and choose which ones will work best for the age level that you teach.  Choose a different handshake each week and use it every day.  Write the handshake on a sentence strip and cut out a picture clue as shown.   When you’ve demonstrated all of the handshakes, then you can select a child each day choose the one that they like best.

Butterfly – Hook right thumbs together.  Extend the other four fingers to make the butterfly’s wings.  Pretend to flutter the butterfly’s wings as you move your hands in a circular motion.

Squirrel – One friend extends her arm.  The other friend quickly runs fingers from the wrist up to the shoulder.  Switch places.

Farmer – The teacher crosses her fingers and points thumbs down to represent the cow’s utter.  The child grabs the thumbs and pretends to milk the cow.

Cool Dude – Partners knuckle bump and then open their fist and slide it back as they say, “Pssshhh!”

Lumberjack – Partners hold up right thumbs and grab them with the left hand.  Partners then clasp right fingers and pretend to saw back and forth.

Builder – Shake hands and move them up and down vertically as you say, “Here’s a hammer.”  Move hands horizontally back and forth as you say, “Here’s a saw.”  Gently twist wrists as you say, “And here’s a screwdriver.”

Potato – Bump fists as you say, “Baked potato.”  Bend index fingers and touch as you say, “Tader tot.”  Open fingers and wiggle with your partner as you say, “And fries.”

Ghost – Extend arms and swish back in forth as you say, “Woooo!”

Buzz!  Extend index finger and touch to your partner’s index finger as you make a buzzing sound.

Fisherman – Place right hand on each other’s right forearm and tap gently like a fish tail.  Bend right arm back as if reeling in a fish as you say, “Good morning!”

Thumb Kiss – Hold up thumbs and touch as you make a smacking sound.

Hand Hug – Hold up right palms and touch in the air.  Bend thumbs around and gently squeeze.

Burger – Children bump fists and say, “Burger.”  Open fists and wiggle fingers together as they say, “Fries.”  Hands in the air and shake fists and hips as they say, “Shake.”

Spiderman – Partners hold up four fingers and intertwine.  Spiders have 8 legs and you have 8 wiggly fingers.

Biker – Children hold out fists and stick up thumbs.  The teacher grabs the thumbs and pretends to turn them while making a “Brrrrmmmm” sound.  “Now your brain is revved up and you’re ready to learn!”

Body Parts – Call out different body parts and challenge children to greet partners by gently touching elbows, knees, heads, ankles, toes, chins, etc.

Jellyfish – Bump fists and then open and close fingers as you pull them back like a jellyfish.

Bow Wow – Partners bow and then make “w’s” by sticking up three middle fingers.  Open mouth and place “w’s” on either side to create the word “WOW!”
4-H Hello – Children can choose one of these “H’s.”
         High Five (High five partner.)
         Handshake (Shake hands.)
         Hug (Hug each other.)
         Hollywood kiss  (Place arms on each other’s shoulders   and air kiss on left and right.)

P.S. Go to my website ( to download picture cues for the handshakes.