Fingerplays are hand movements commonly used in early childhood development. The physical activity is combined with short poems, songs, or spoken words. Fingerplays develop language and motor skills in young children. Preschool teachers or parents often incorporate these fun hand motions with catchy verses. Sometimes called action songs, a full dance can accompany the words. Fingerplays strengthen children’s hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity. The repetition and acting out the words also hone retention and memory skills.
Children broaden their vocabulary and can learn lessons by reciting rhymes with fingerplays. Movements added to poems or dancing to songs build confidence in kids. Young children get to express themselves and become more autonomous. Terry Lynne Graham saw the value of fingerplays when teaching preschool. Her students learned colors, numbers, shapes, and other concepts daily. Graham would start and end the day with short poems that taught a mini-lesson. She eventually created a book of her own short songs for others to teach preschoolers. Fingerplays and Rhymes for Always and Sometimes covers many themes and topics. Parents, homeschoolers, or teachers can use this guide with 17 chapters.
Fingerplays have been around for centuries, similar to nursery rhymes. Young children will learn sounds and develop language skills. Kids may not know the definition of some words, but adults can use that as a teaching opportunity. Regular lessons with fingerplays will have preschoolers eventually comprehend the words. As kids build better listening skills, they’ll understand the meaning of the rhymes. Teachers and parents will be able to see children develop before their own eyes. The more kids act out the songs and engage in fingerplays demonstrates their comprehension.
Parents can start reciting fun rhymes to their children during infancy. The catchy sounds and motions can capture and entertain an infant. As kids grow, they become more aware of their senses and surroundings. Toddlers try to mimic adults’ movements. Parents and teachers can introduce fingerplays as kids grow, starting with the thumbs. Around age 2 ½, toddlers start moving their other fingers.
Besides those included in Fingerplays and Rhymes, there are hundreds of other action songs for preschoolers. Searching online pulls up activities and videos of songs to teach young children. You can save time looking and try one of Terry Lynne Graham’s rhymes. This PDF includes three fingerplays, Summer, Star Counter, and Mosquito. The rhymes will get kids warmed up for the upcoming season. These learning and developmental activities are fun for both adults and kids. In a preschool setting, students can form close ties with one another. Fingerplays are also perfect for families to enjoy time together and bond. The rhymes can get passed down from generation to generation.
Adults can observe young children listening to and engaging with the rhymes. Any speech or language barriers can be identified when kids say the words aloud. Issues like speech impediments and other developmental lags can be addressed early. Being unable to hear and having difficulty with comprehension can indicate trouble spots. Early intervention can help young children overcome any learning obstacles.
Kids have so much fun with fingerplays that they won’t realize the value of them until they’re older. You can use rhymes you learned as a child or try new ones and add to a long-standing tradition.