top of page

4 Ways to Teach your Children with Fingerplays

Fingerplay: What Is It?

Fingerplay consists of hand gestures timed to a song, rhyme, or occasionally a short story. This could include g ross movements, or those that use the full hand in a broad motion like waving. Or they could be smaller, more precise movements of the fingers, that may be more detailed.

4 developmental benefits of fingerplays:

Listening skills

Which word comes next? What is the action that goes with the word?

Building vocabulary

Hearing new words and demonstrating their meanings makes them easier to remember

Fine motor skills

Lots of practice is needed so that little fingers can grasp and control a pencil to write. Fingerplays makes this so much fun!

Auditory perception

Auditory perception is an important pre-reading skill. Playing word games develops the child’s ability to hear, remember, focus and break apart sounds. The rhyming patterns are an easy way to learn these skills


(Start with hands behind back)

Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?

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’ together)

Run away.

(hide right hand behind back)

Run away.

(hide left hand behind back)

(Repeat rhyme with each finger: Pointer, Tall Man, Ring Man, and Pinkie)


My rabbit has two big ears,

(hold up two fingers to make ears)

And a funny little nose.

(join all fingers together into a pointy nose)

He likes to nibble carrots,

(make nibbling motions with fingers)

And he hops wherever he goes.

(make hopping movement with entire hand)


The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the water spout.

(wiggle fingers like a spider walking up a spout)

Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.

(wiggle fingers from top to bottom with palms forward)

Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,

(make a circle over your head, move side to side)

and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again

(wiggle fingers like a spider walking up a spout again)

Did you know? Singing songs with numbers is a great way to develop pre-math skills like counting, number sense, and one-to-one correspondence.

Here are 3 fun counting rhymes to teach your kids, with lyrics!


bottom of page