Fingerplays are always fun!
Did you know that fingerplays are not only fun - they include a tremendous learning aspect for preschoolers! Very often babies are able to remember different words only if they can touch an object and hear its name at the same time. Therefore during early learning years, it’s important to provide synchrony between an object, act, and word in language and literacy activities. For example, if you want to teach a baby the word “teddy bear”, take an object, pronounce its name out loud, move it in front of your child and touch your child on their cheek with it.
Besides, the importance of using words and actions simultaneously is tremendous in language and literacy activities for preschoolers. One of the best examples of multi-sensory activities is fingerplay. Very often it can go beyond small muscles activities into a whole body movement of actions.
Fun fingerplays - choose one or make one yourself!
Materials: no materials required. Your body parts and a good attitude is all you need!
- Firstly, you need to choose a nursery rhyme. Fingerplays are nursery rhymes with movements. So, basically, any nursery rhyme can be a fingerplay.
- As always you can make a nursery rhyme for your fingerplay yourself or find one from many famous names like – “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “Hickory, Dickory, Dock”, “This little piggy”, “Choo! Choo!”, etc. Look for fingerplays that provide a strong rhyming base. Because fingerplays that rhyme are much easier to remember for children and, therefore, it builds vocabulary and provides a feeling of accomplishment.
3. As well, you can try creating fun fingerplays for preschoolers yourself. Here is how we created fun fingerplay for preschoolers ourselves below. A tip! Look at the child’s interests – for example, if your child is fascinated by airplanes, you can write the following fingerplay:
I can see a fly with my eyes (touch your eyes with your hands).
So high in the sky, it flies (put your hands up in the air).
No, it’s not a fly out there (use all of your body signals to show “no” – shake your head, cross arms on your chest, etc.).
It’s a huge airplane we can share (use your hands to show how large airplane is).
4. The good thing about fingerplays you made yourself is that you can accustom them to topics that children are really interested in.
Guidance for fingerplays step by step
Step 1. Firstly, you need to memorize a fingerplay yourself to feel comfortable showing it to your child.
Step 2. Very often fingerplays are organized at home. Therefore, if you are alone with your child, make sure to be fully involved in it yourself. Ask your child if he/she wants to do fingerplays with a great deal of enthusiasm. Like you cannot wait to play yourself! For instance, you can say to your child – “I cannot wait to play this fingerplay, let’s go and do it together!”
Fingerplays are social activities, your child will be more interested in it if he/she would see you or other people enjoying it as well. It will bring them a feeling of social unity and fulfillment.
Step 3. It is normal practice if, in the beginning, your child is only watching you doing fingerplay alone. He/she needs time to adjust to a new activity. Then your child might try adding a few movements in a shy manner. A child usually learns finger movements before he/she learns words and phrases from fingerplays.
When he/she feels comfortable repeating all movements he/she will practice adding words to them too. The more you repeat this activity the more your child will enjoy it. Interactions with your child are very important for their overall cognitive and language development. Let’s not forget that children learn everything from scratch and it takes time for them to get familiar and comfortable with everything.
In conclusion, fingerplays will teach preschoolers about different facts and events and serve as a great exercise in their everyday routine. Doing the same finger play activity every day, till your child is comfortable doing it alone, will have great results in your child’s speech perception, language development and enhance your child’s vocabulary.