Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №15/2008

What Are Finger Plays?

Finger Plays are valuable activities that help children acquire skills essential to their development and learning. They help improve and advance memory and language skills, while also aiding in the development of eye-hand coordination and enhancing gross and fine motor skills.

Traditional Finger Plays are essentially Nursery Rhymes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Each person has his or her own creative style of presenting, with facial expressions, hand, feet and body movements. They are also a fun way of introducing poetry to children as well as training them to follow directions and introducing concepts to them.

When children repeat finger plays and rhymes, they are learning and practicing many important language skills: building vocabulary, rhyming, rhythm, memory, matching words with actions – just to name a few. Verses can also help develop children’s muscle coordination and listening skills as well as strengthen children’s understanding of concepts such as counting, colors, and spatial positioning (up, down, behind, etc.).

Little, Bigger, Biggest

A little ball,
(make ball with finger and thumb)
A bigger ball,
(make ball with two hands)
And a great big ball, I see.
(make a ball with arms)
Now help me count them, One, two, three!
(repeat gestures for each size)

This is my right hand
Raise it up high.
This is my left hand
I’ll touch the sky.
Right hand, left hand,
Twirl them around,
Left hand, right hand,
Pound, pound, pound.

I have ten little fingers and they all belong to me,
I can make them do things – would you like to see?
I can shut them up tight,
I can open them wide,
I can put them together,
I can make them all hide.
I can make them jump high,
I can make them jump low.
I can fold them up quietly and hold them just so.

I can run, I can hop,
I can spin ‘round like a top,
I can stretch my arms out wide,
I can swing from side to side.
I can stand up straight and tall,
I can make myself so very small.

My hands upon my head I’ll place,
On my shoulders, on my face,
On my hips and at my sides,
Then I’ll lift them up so high,
Make my fingers swiftly fly,
Hold them out in front of me,
And clap them so – one, two, three.

Taller, Smaller

When I stretch up, I feel so tall;
When I bend down, I feel so small.
Taller, taller, taller, taller;
Smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller,
Into a tiny ball.

High, Low, Around We Go

We clap up high, we clap down low,
We jump, jump, jump and around we go.
Up and down, up and down,
Clap your hands and turn around.
(or sit right down).

One More

One child stands up,
One child turns around,
One child claps hands,
And then sits down.

Two children stand up,
(Continue adding children until “We all stand up”)
I’ll touch my chin, my cheek, my chair.
I’ll touch my head, my heels, my hair.
I’ll touch my knees, my neck, my nose.
Then I’ll dip down and touch my toes.

Open – shut them,
Give a little clap.
Open – shut them,
Open – shut them,
Lay them in your lap.


Roll your hands so slowly,
As slowly as can be;
Roll your hands so slowly,
And fold your arms like me.

(additional verses. . .)
Roll your hands so quickly, etc.
Clap your hands so softly, etc.
Clap your hands so loudly, etc.

We clap up high, we clap down low,
We jump, jump, jump, and around we go.
Up and down, up and down,
Clap your hands and turn around.
Up and down, up and down,
Clap your hands and bow.

Favorite Foods

I like watermelon, how about you?
Let’s eat and eat ‘til the day is through!
(eating motions)
Oh, I think I’ve had enough,
(hands on tummy)
Let’s try something different...
(substitute other foods that are children’s favorites)
(Last verse, last line. . .)

Let’s go out and play!

Way up high in the apple tree,
(point up high)
Two little apples smiling at me;
(make two circles with hands)
I shook that tree as hard as I could;
(wrap hands around “trunk” and shake)
Down came the apples and
(two circle hands come down)
Mmmm, they were good! (rub tummy)

Big Fat Hen

1, 2, buckle my shoe,
3, 4, shut the door,
5, 6, pick up sticks,
7, 8, lay them straight,
9, 10, a big fat hen!

“Bubble,” said the kettle.
“Bubble,” said the pot.
“Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble,
We are getting hot!”
“Shall I take you off the fire?”
“No you need not trouble.
This is just the way we talk –
Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble!”

See the leaves all falling down,
To make a carpet on the ground,
Swish, swish, the wind blows by,
Swish, swish, away they fly.

Here are the bee hives
(left hand cupped downward)
Where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees.
(hide fingers of right hand under it)
Soon they’ll come creeping
(fingers come out one by one)
Out of the hives –
One, two, three,
Four, five Buz-zz.
(hand circles around)

Here is my book. I can open it wide
(palms together – open wide)
To show the pictures that are inside;
Here is my ball so big and round
(fingers form ball)
That I toss in the air or roll on the ground.
Here’s my umbrella that keeps me dry
(above head)
When the raindrops drop from the cloudy sky.
And here is my kitty – just hear her purr
(left hand is kitty and stroke with right)
When I gently stroke her soft warm fur.
Here’s the church,
(fingers interlocked; fingers inside)
And here’s the steeple.
(index fingers rise to a point)

Open the door
(keep fingers interlocked but turn palms up)
There are all the people.
(wriggle fingers)

Little Robin Redbreast
Sat upon a rail
(crouch like bird with 2 hands behind back like bird’s tail)
Niddle noddle went his head
(nod head)
And wag went his tail.
(use hands to make tail wagging)
Niddle noddle went his head, and wag went his tail.

Here’s a nest for Robin Redbreast,
(Cup hands to form nest)
Here’s a hive for Busy Bee,
(Fingertips together to form hive)
Here’s a hole for Jacky Rabbit,
(Fingertips together to form hole)
And a house for me.
(Interlock fingers, knuckles up, for house)

Two little blackbirds,
(hands closed with thumbs straight up for birds)
Sitting on a hill,
One named Jack,
(wriggle one thumb)
The other named Jill.
(wriggle other thumb)
Fly away Jack
(toss one hand at a time over shoulder)
Fly away Jill.
Come back Jack
(bring back hands one at a time)
Come back Jill.

Up in the sky, the little birds fly.
(flutter outstretched hands)
Down in their nests the little birds rest.
(lower hands into lap)
With a wing on the left, and a wing on the right,
(wave left hand, then right)
The dear little birdies sleep all night.
(fold hands under cheek)
The little mice are creeping, creeping, creeping
The little mice are creeping, through the house.
The little mice are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,
The little mice are sleeping, through the house.

We are little pussy cats
(use hands, crawl, or tip toe)
Walking round and round.
We have cushions on our feet
And never make a sound.

The old gray cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping,
The old gray cat comes creeping, through the house.
And the little mice run away.
(One hand represents the mice, the other hand the cat. One hand creeps, while the other comes slowly down from the air. Hands meet and one scampers behind the child’s back)

Here is a bunny
(raise two fingers)
With ears so funny.
And here is a hole in the ground.
(make hole with fingers of other hand)
At the first sound she hears,
She pricks up her ears
(straighten fingers)
And pops right into the ground.
(put fingers in hole)

Five rabbits were hiding
(clenched fist)
In the woods one day.
1–2–3–4–5 jumped out
(fingers come out as they count)
And then they ran away.
(imitate running with fingers.)

Whisky, frisky, hippity hop,
Up he goes to the tree top.
(Spiral motion up)
Whirly, swirly, round and round,
Down he scampers to the ground.
(Spiral motion down)
Furly, curly, what a tail,
Tall as a feather, broad as a sail.
(Wave hand for tail)
Where’s his supper? In the shell,
Snappity, crackity, out it fell.
(Thumb and index finger open and shut to crack nut)

The Duck Song

Five little ducks went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother Duck said, “Quack, Quack, Quack,”
But only four little ducks came back.

Four little ducks went out one day
(Repeat as above)
But only three little ducks came back.

Three little ducks –
Two little ducks came back.
Two little ducks –
One little duck came back.
One little duck –
None of the 5 little ducks came back.
So, sad Mother Duck went out one day,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother Duck said, “Quack, quack, quack,”
And all of the five little ducks came back.

I like to be…

I like to be a jumping jack
And jump out from a box.
I like to be a rocking horse
and rock and rock and rock.

I like to be a spinning top
And spin around and round.
I like to be a rubber ball
and bounce way up and down.

I like to be a big, fast train
Whose wheels fly round and round.
I like to be a pony small
And trot along the ground.

I like to be so many things –
A growly, scowly bear –
But really I’m a little child
who sits upon a chair.

Home Sweet Home

A nest is a home for a robin;
(cup hands to form a nest)
A hive is a home for a bee;
(turn cupped hands over)

A hole is a home for a rabbit;
(make a hole with hands)
And a house is a home for me.
(make roof with peaked hands)
(Encourage children to add more animals and homes to make additional verses.)

See my piano,
(Curve fingers and rest on a table. )
Five keys in a row.
Some keys will sound high,
Some keys will sound low.

To play the piano,
(Press down each key so that it lies flat)
Each key has a turn:
Start – one, two
Then – three, four, five.

These are Mother’s knives and forks
(fingers interlocked and pointing up)
This is Mother’s table.
(reverse interlock and point fingers downward)
This is Mother’s looking glass
(keep interlocked – raise pointer fingers tip to tip)
And this is Baby’s cradle.
(keep interlocked – raise pointer and little finger tip to tip)

These are Grandmother’s glasses,
(Circle eyes with thumb and forefinger.)
And this is Grandmother’s cap
(Join hands above head.)
And this is the way she folds her hands
And puts them in her lap.

Here is the girl, and here’s her bed;
(Raise index finger of one hand)
Here is her pillow and here is her head.
(Hold palm of other hand out flat and put thumb of same hand on palm)
She pulls up the covers and holds them tight,
(Place finger across palm and wrap other fingers around it)
And that’s the way she sleeps all night.
(Rock gently)

Compiled by Erin Bouma