What Are Your Favorite Fingerplays and Preschool Songs?

Why Nannies Should Use Fingerplays and Musical Acitivities with Children

According to Dr. Harry Steckman of the Steckman Studio of Music in Oak Park, Illinois, nannies should use age-appropriate musical activities to aid in child development.

Within just a few weeks after birth babies respond to human voices with gurgling. By seven- to eight-months-old children move their hands to music helping to develop their motor skills.

As children learn to grasp, sit up, crawl, and walk caregivers should offer them musical materials to play with to encourage eye and hand coordination. For example, offer them rattles, maracas, or wooden spoons to hit pots.

Young children do not have fully developed memories, so they enjoy short songs. Try playing with songs like, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” Dr. Steckman suggests palm tickles, party games, Mother Goose rhymes, and songs with limited pitches that are directly tied to movement and action games to use with children from one- to four-year-olds. Songs such as the “Eency Weency Spider,” “Humpty Dumpty,” “Ring Around the Rosy,” and “London Bridge” are good songs to use with children of this age. Most six- to nine-year-olds like songs that involve counting, spelling, or remembering.

The more nannies engage themselves in active music making, the more likely a child will be motivated to practice. If children see their parents and caregivers involved in the music making process, they will usually want to do the same.

Fingerplays and Songs for the Very Young by Carolyn Croll is a cute book I picked up with the preschooler at the library this week that includes more than 25 of my favorite fingerplays and action songs guaranteed to get giggles and have babies and toddlers playing along. Some of the fingerplays include:

1. This Little Piggy

This little piggy went to market, (Wiggle the child’s big toe)

This little piggy stayed home, (Wiggle their 2nd toe)

This little piggy had roast beef, (Wiggle their middle toe)

This little piggy had none, (Wiggle the toe next to the smallest toe)

And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home. (Start wiggling the smallest toe and on “wee wee wee” let go of the toe and run your fingers up and down the baby’s side. Bigger kids love being tickled during this fingerplay)

2. Ring Around the Rosie

Ring-a-round a rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down

Have the kids hold hands and dance in a circle. On the last line, let go of hands and collapse on the ground.

3. Where is Thumbkin?

Where is Thumbkin?
Where is Thumbkin?
(Hide thumbs behind your back)

Here I am!
(Bring right hand to front, with thumb up)

Here I am!
(Bring left hand to front, with thumb up)

How are you this morning?
Very well, I thank you.
(Wiggle thumbs as if they’re ‘talking’ to each other)

Run away
(Hide right hand behind back)

Run away.
(Hide left hand behind back)

4. If You’re Happy and You Know It!

If you’re happy and you know it
Clap your hands. (Clap, Clap)
If you’re happy and you know it
Clap your hands. (Clap, Clap)
If you’re happy and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you’re happy and you know it
Clap your hands. (Clap, Clap)

If you’re angry and you know it
Stomp your feet. (Stomp, Stomp)
If you’re angry and you know it
Stomp your feet. (Stomp, Stomp)
If you’re angry and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you’re angry and you know it
Stomp your feet. (Stomp, Stomp)

If you’re sad and you know it
Cry out loud. (Boo hoo)
If you’re sad and you know it
Cry out loud. (Boo hoo)
If you’re sad and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you’re sad and you know it
Cry out loud. (Boo hoo)

Make up new verses as you go along.

5. Six Little Ducks

Six little ducks
That I once knew
(Hold up six fingers to suggest six little ducks)

Fat ones, skinny ones,
Fair ones, too
(Use arm to mime “fat” and “skinny”)

But the one little duck
(Hold up one finger on “But the one little duck”)

With the feather on his back
(Place hand behind head to suggest a feather)

He led the others
With a quack, quack, quack
(Walk six fingers along with one leading)

Quack, quack, quack,
Quack, quack, quack
(Flap your arms like wings while quacking)

He led the others
With a quack, quack, quack

6. I’m a Little Teapot

I’m a little teapot,
Short and stout,
Here is my handle (One hand on hip to suggest a handle),
Here is my spout (Extend the other arm out with elbow and wrist bent)
When I get all steamed up,
Hear me shout,
Tip me over and pour me out! (Tip sideways in direction of extended arm like a spout)

7. Open, Shut Them

Open,
Shut them.
(Open and shut both hands in front of you)

Open,
Shut them.
(Open and shut both hands in front of you)

Give a little clap.
(Clap hands)

Open,
Shut them.

Open,
Shut them.

Place them in your lap.
(Place hand in your lap encouraging child to follow)

Creep them, creep them,
Right up to your chin.
(Walk your fingers up baby’s body to their chin)

Open wide your little mouth,
But do not let them in.
(Open your mouth really side and comically close your mouth with your hands over your mouth)

8. Pat-a-Cake
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can.

Roll it and pat it and mark it with a B.
And put it in the oven for Baby and me!

(Clap hands with baby on first two lines. Roll, then pat, hand as if shaping a ball of dough. Draw a “B” in the air and tickle the baby’s tummy on the last line)

Buy Fingerplays and Songs for the Very Young by clicking link below: 

 Fingerplays and Songs for the Very Young (Lap Library)

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