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Preschool Fingerplays and Action Songs

fingerplay

Research shows a strong correlation between early knowledge of nursery rhymes, songs, and finger plays and a child's success in reading and spelling.  Finger plays also increase fine motor skills.

Remember to take the nursery rhymes, finger plays, and songs very slowly at first and wait for the child to do the action before moving on.  Have fun with these and the kids will too!  Read more ABCJLM Movement Ideas.

Below is a combined list of the fingerplays and action songs used in the ABCJLM Curriculum: 

       1-2-3-4-5 Once I Caught a Fish
Five Fat Peas
Going on a Bear Hunt 
Going on a Lion Hunt 
Hands and Fingers
Happy All the Time
Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
I Use My Brain
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
One, Two Buckle My Shoe
Right Hand, Left Hand
This Little Piggie
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Where is Thumbkin?

        1-2-3-4-5 Once I Caught a Fish
(Author unknown)

One, two, three, four five! (count with your fingers)
Once I caught a fish alive; (place palms together to make a swimming fish)
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.  (count with your fingers)
Then I let it go again.  (throw hands in the air)
Why did you let it go?  (shrug shoulders)
Because it bit my finger so.  (one hand bite pinkie finger on right hand)
Which finger did it bite?  (shrug shoulders)
This little finger on my right.  (wiggle pinkie finger on right hand)

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        Five Fat Peas

Five fat peas in a pea pod pressed (hold hand in a fist)
One grew, two grew, so did all the rest (put thumb and fingers up one by one)
They grew and grew (raise hands in the air very slowly)
And did not stop, Until one day
The pod went POP! (clap)

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        Hands and Fingers
(Author unknown)

Up and down
Round and round (draw circles in the air)
Put your fingers on the ground
Over (hold hands above lap)
Under (move hands below legs)
In between (you've hidden your hands in between your legs)
Now my fingers can't be seen!
Hands in front
Hands behind
Now my hands I cannot find
Here's my left hand
Here's my right
Hands and fingers back in sight (wriggle fingers)

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        Happy All the Time
YouTube

Chorus:  (gradually get faster)
I’m inright (point at self)
Outright (point out)
Upright (point up)
Downright (point down)
Happy all the time (clap 3x)
(Repeat)

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        Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Tune:  “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

Head and shoulders, knees and toes
Knees and toes (Repeat 2x)
Head and shoulders, knees and toes
Clap your hands together
(Start slow and gradually increase the speed as you sing and do actions)

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        I Use My Brain
(From:  500 Five Minute Games by Jackie Silberg)

I use my brain to think, think, think (touch head)
I use my nose to smell (touch nose)
I use my eyes to blink, blink, blink (touch eyes)
I use my throat to yell (touch throat and yell on word “yell”)

I use my mouth to giggle, giggle, giggle (touch mouth)
I use my hips to bump (touch hips)
I use my toes to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle (touch toes)
And I use my legs to jump (jump)

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        The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy, bitsy spider, climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain, 
So the itsy, bitsy spider went up the spout again

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        One, Two Buckle My Shoe
Tune of: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

One, two, buckle my shoe
Three, four, shut the door
Five, six, pick up sticks
Seven, eight, lay them straight
Nine, ten, it's time to end
Next time, let’s do it again

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        Right Hand, Left Hand
(Based on a poem from:  500 Five Minute Games by Jackie Silberg)
(Have the child echo each phrase and copy your actions)

This is my right hand (This is my right hand)
I raise it up high (I raise it up high)
This is my left hand (This is my left hand)
I’ll touch the sky (I'll touch the sky)
Right hand (Right hand)
Left hand (Left hand)
Whirl them around (Whirl them around)
Right hand (Right hand)
Left hand (Left hand)
Pound, pound, pound (Pound, pound, pound)

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        This Little Piggie

This little piggie went to market.  (wiggle thumbs)
This little piggie stayed at home.  (wiggle index fingers)
This little piggie had roast beef.  (wiggle middle fingers)
This little piggie had none.  (wiggle ring fingers)
And this little piggie cried “Wee, wee,” all the way home. (wiggle pinky fingers)

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        Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, reach up high,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, wink one eye.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch your nose,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch your toes.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, shut the door,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, count to four.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, climb the stairs,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn out the light,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say goodnight.

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        Where is Thumbkin?
Tune of: Frère Jacques (Are You Sleeping)

Where is thumbkin? (Start with hands behind back)
Where is thumbkin?
Here I am  (Bring right thumb to front)
Here I am  (Bring left thumb to front)
How are you today sir?
Very well, I thank you  (Wiggle thumbs as if they are "talking" to each other)
Run away  (Hide right hand behind back)
Run away  (Hide left hand behind back)

Additional verses:
Where is pointer?
Where is tall man?
Where is ring man?
Where is pinkie?
Where is whole family?

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        ABCJLM Movements and Ideas:
• Make actions simple
• Make activities interesting - sing or talk in big and little voice, faster and slower, softer and louder, add instruments
• Stop songs in the middle to repeat a hard line or action, talk about the meaning, or for whatever reason necessary to help the child learn it
• Take the nursery rhymes, finger plays, and songs very slowly at first and wait for the child to do the action before moving on
• Stop on rhyming words and have the child fill in word
• Count the number of times a word is in a song, rhyme, or finger play
• Sing throughout the day - just because the child is not singing out loud with you does not mean they are not singing in their head
• Make sure the child uses his or her pretty voice to sing - yelling is not singing
• Sometimes sing the songs or say the rhymes using different voices - high, low, big, small, etc.

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All fingerplays and action songs are "Traditional" unless otherwise noted.

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