Friday, August 26, 2016


There was a song years ago called “My Little Hands Keep Moving.” Times have changed, but those little hands are still moving and wiggling and squirming! Instead of saying, “Put your hands in your lap and listen to me,” try one of these “handy” tricks.
                                      Smart Hands
When I was in kindergarten 100 years ago (not really – only 64) Mrs. Meyers taught us to fold our hands and put them in our laps. Do you know this still works? One teacher demonstrated folding her hands as she told her students, “These are smart hands that will help you listen and learn.”
Talk to Your Hands 
If children are wiggling their hands, ask them to please talk to their hands and tell them to be quiet. 

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Lap
(Tune: “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”)
Head, shoulders, knees and lap, knees and lap.
Head, shoulders, knees and lap, knees and lap.
Legs are criss-cross applesauce.
And my hands are in my lap, lap, lap.

I am looking.
What do I see?
I see (student, class) sitting (standing, whatever you need)
Hint! Lower your voice each time you say this until children are quiet.

Hand Poem (Barb Williams)
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!

Class Callbacks (Sara Quinn)
Teacher says: Hands on top. (Students put their hands on their heads.)
Students say: That means stop!
Teacher says: Holy Moly!
Students say: Guacamole!
Teacher says: All set?
Students say: You bet!

*You can go on all day with callbacks. Marco - Polo; Peanut Butter - jelly; Criss cross – sit like a boss, etc.

Self Control (Becky Gilsdorf)
Use this visual cue to help children who are out of control.
Cross hands over your chest. (Self)
Slide both hands down the sides of your body. (Control)
As the child repeats the movements silently it will calm them down.

Brain Toys
Get a box or basket and write “brain toys” on it. ("Brain toys" sounds so much more positive than "fidget toys.")Tie some old socks in a knot and place them in the box. If children have a difficult time keeping their hands to themselves “invite” them to get a brain toy. Wouldn’t you rather a child knot and unknot a sock than poke or pick?

Check out the webinar Vanessa Levin ( and I did on finger plays to learning more positive ways keep those little hands engaged.