Tuesday, March 26, 2019


If you missed my webinar on finger plays yesterday you can watch it now with this link:


Each week choose a finger play that you would like to teach your class. You can pick a finger play that you like or relate it to a theme. Glue the words of the finger play on an index card and practice it several times before doing it with your class. (Finger plays are wonderful to recite if you can't sleep at night or if you're sitting in traffic!) 

Sit on the floor or in a chair with the children in a circle. You want to get "close" to them so you can look them in their eyes. Prompt them before you begin by having them make a motion that will relate to the finger play. For example, "Show me your turtle," as you stick out your thumb. "Where's your bunny?" as you hold up two fingers like bunny ears. Always model what you want your children to do.

Begin saying the finger play slowly using lots of expression. Children love drama and will be drawn in by your voice and facial expressions. YOU can add the magic to anything! As you complete the finger play say with a smile, "That was so much fun, let's do it again." Do it a third time as you say, "You are learning this so quickly. Let's try it once more so we can save it in our brains!" Repetition helps children feel confident and builds auditory memory.

Use the finger play several times each day during the week to focus the children's attention.  If their eyes and hands are busy doing a finger play with you they won't be fidgeting.

Take advantage of those "teachable moments" as children wash hands, clean up the room, etc. to practice finger plays.

Start circle time each day with a finger play.

Play List
On Friday tell the children that they have done a great job learning the finger play. Write the title on a sentence strip and add a picture clue. Explain that you will start a PLAY LIST OF FINGER PLAYS and challenge them to learn a new one each week to add to the play list.

Finger Play Ring
Punch a hole in the index card and insert it on a book ring. In several months you will have a ring of rhymes that you can use to entertain the children.

Finger Play Juke Box
Glue finger plays to 6” circles and place them in a gift bag. Write “Juke Box” on the front of the bag. When you have a few extra minutes hand a child a pretend quarter. Tell the child to, “Put it in the juke box and pull out a rhyme.” That child can lead the class in the finger play.

Finger Play Book
Get a pocket folder and invite the children to help you decorate it. Each week as you learn a new rhyme put a copy of the words in the book.  (Clear sheet protectors work well for this.)  During transitions use the book to entertain the children. (And when I say "entertain" there's more going on here because finger plays really do make children smarter!)


Check out the new packet that Carolyn Kisloski and I have put together with 60 of our favorite finger plays. Included in this packet are full sheet, illustrated finger plays for you to use in the classroom. You may want to enlarge the pages for shared reading or make a classroom book with them. Also included in the packet are half-sheet illustrated copies of each finger play that you may send home with each child to share with their families.