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Friday, August 21, 2015


Is there anything better than a finger play to engage children’s hands, mouths, and minds? Here are a few of my “oldies but goodies” for focusing children’s attention. The children today respond just as well as the children I taught 45 years ago. These finger plays are a “sneaky” way to get those little hands just where you want them.

P.S.  Kalina and K.J. are visiting this week.  Kalina is my student and K.J. is the cameraman! 

Open, Shut Them
Open, shut them. (Open and close fists.)
Open, shut them.
Give a little clap, clap, clap. (Clap 3 times.)
Open, shut them. (Open and close fists.)
Open, shut them.
Put them in your lap, lap, lap. (Put hands in your lap.)
Creep them, creep them. (Crawl fingers up your chest.)
Creep them, creep them
Right up to your chin. (Fingers under chin.)
Open up your little mouth (Open up mouth.)
But do not let them in! (Shake head NO!)
Falling, falling, (Hands up and then wiggle down.)
falling, falling,
Almost to the ground. (Stop before floor.)
Quickly pick them up again (Fingers up high in the air.)
And turn them round and round. (Twirl hands around.)
Faster, faster, (Twirl fast.)
Slower, slower… (Twirl slow.)
CLAP! (Clap hands and then put in your lap.)

The Finger Band 
The finger band is (Start with your hands behind your back
Coming to town, and wiggle them as you slowly bring
Coming to town, them in front.)
Coming to town.
The finger band is
Coming to town
So early in the morning.

This is the way (Pretend to play drums.)
They play their drums…

This is the way
They twirl their hands… (Twirl hands around your head.)

This is the way (Pretend to play a horn.)
They play their horns…

(Let children suggest other instruments and motions.)

The finger band (Slowly wiggle fingers behind you
Is going away, as you lower your voice to a whisper.)
Going away,
Going away.
The finger band
Is going away
So early in the morning.

Quiet Hands 
Hands up high. (Hands in the air.)
Hands down low. (Hands down.)
Hide those hands, now. (Hands behind your back.)
Where did they go? (Shrug shoulders.)
One hand up. (Right hand up.)
The other hand, too. (Left hand up.)
Clap them, (Clap.)
Fold them, (Fold in lap.)
Now we’re through!

*If children are wiggling their hands, ask them to please talk to their hands and tell them to be quiet.


Ten Little Friends 
Ten little friends (Hold up fingers.)
Went out to play (Wiggle.)
On a very bright
And sunny day.
And they took a little walk.
Walk, walk, walk. (Walk fingers in front of your body.)
And they had a little talk.
Talk, talk, talk. (Put fingertips together.)
They climbed a great big hill (Move fingers over your head.)
And stood on the top very still. (Keep hands still.)
Then they all tumbled down (Roll hands around and down.)
And fell to the ground.
We’re so tired, (Hold up fingers.)
They all said.
So they all went home
And went to bed.
10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – (Put down fingers one at a time as you
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1. count backwards and lower your voice.)
Good night! (Lay head on hands.) 

Hint! I would take one of these and use it over and over for a week. Repetition is good for oral language and the rhyme will be an “indicator activity” that it’s time to listen. Glue it to an index card you can keep in your pocket or write it on a language experience chart.