Fingerplays: Encourage Reading with Music


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    By: Kindermusik

    Fingerplays are rhymes or songs that use hand movements coordinated with words to engage and sustain a child’s interest.  Fingerplays  are a great way to encourage reading because your child will learn many language skills such as, vocabulary, rhyming, and actions. 

    The rhythm, meter and musicality of the text play into your child’s overall development and enhances literacy and “spacial reasoning.”  Fingerplays for Preschoolers may incorporate musical elements such as rhythm: fast and slow tempo and dynamics: loud or soft and the words can be spoken or sung.

    Repeated practice through movement and gestures will help your child visualize the words and build his memory. As a result, your child will be excited to know what comes next in the fingerplay and this builds confidence!   This creates a great opportunity to instill a love and curiosity for stories and books for your child.

    When doing these fingerplays for preschoolers, it is important to use facial, vocal and body gestures to help the story come alive.  Once your child is comfortable with the fingerplays for preschoolers activity, feel free to add instruments to accentuate the beat, rhythm and rhyme.  Instruments (or tools) may include shakers, tambourines, bells, rhythm sticks, scarves, ribbon sticks, and puppets.

    Here are some great Fingerplays for Preschoolers:

    The Snail and the Mouse

    Slowly, slowly, very slowly, creeps the tiny snail,
    Slowly, slowly very slowly, up the garden rail.

    Quickly, quickly, very quickly, runs the little mouse,
    Quickly, quickly, very quickly, all around the house.

    Have your child use small hand and finger movements with the words.  Dramatize the rhyme, putting on your very heavy snail shells, and moving very slowly.  Then turn into scampering mice and move quickly.   You may use percussion instruments to play fast and slow music along with the rhyme.


    One little acrobat swinging through the air.  (Hold index finger up and swing side to side.)

    He flips and he flops as we stare.  (Make index finger bend up and down.)

    And suddenly he’s caught by another with flare!  (Excitement in voice, lock both index fingers together.)

    He didn’t even know that he gave me a scare!  (Shake head and wipe brow.)

    One little acrobat swinging through the air (Hold index finger up and swing side to side.)

    He lands and bows with the greatest of care!  (With left palm facing up, place right hand with index finger up on left palm and bend it as to bow.)

    The Itsy Bitsy Spider

    The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout (Use fingers to emulate the crawling spider.)

    Down came the rain and washed the spider out (Use hands to show the rain falling down.)

    Out came the sun and dried up all the rain (Hand linked in circle over hand to mimic the sun.)

    Then the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again (Use fingers to make the spider crawl up again.)

    A traditional favorite.  You may add a rainstick to include the sound of rain.  Your child will enjoy using his fingers and whole body.

    Have fun and feel free to share your fingerplay ideas!

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