Friday, November 29, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Jellyfish!

Here's a great little rhyme to help you work off your Thanksgiving meal: Jellyfish


Jellyfish, Jellyfish, Jellyfish, JELLY!!!

Wiggle a body part while saying the rhyme.  Add an additional body part each time and keep building the number of active body parts!

1) Fingers
2 )Wrists
3) Elbows
4) Knees
5) Feet
6) Bottom
7) Tongue

Ok.  This one is totally wild, but super-fun!  I like it because it gets kids up and really moving.  Few rhymes are as great for getting the wiggles out. 

Focusing on multiple body parts at the same time is extremely difficult.  Repeating back the sequence of body parts adds an extra level of complexity to this rhyme.  When kids play with rhymes and games like Jellyfish, they are building their memories.  The ability to recall helps kids understand content once they begin reading.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Mosquito One, Mosquito Two!

Here is a fun rhyme, originally from the Caribbean: Mosquito One, Mosquito Two

Mosquito One, Mosquito Two

Mosquito one,
Mosquito two,

Mosquito jumps
In the old man's shoe;

The shoe's too hot
He jumps in the pot

The pot's too cold
He jumps in the hole

The hole's too deep
He jumps in the jeep

The jeep's too fast
He jumps in the grass

Just then, an old man passes...
The mosquito hides...
Then he jumps outside!!

Who doesn't love a rhyme where you get to jump a lot?!  I have modified the last few lines of the rhyme, turning it into a fun "jump" surprise (the last lines of some of the original versions are a little naughty).

I love the repetition of the word "jump" throughout this rhyme.  Kids quickly learn that they will be jumping into each new place.  The final big jump is delayed with a slight shift in the narrative.  This delay builds suspense.  When kids play and practice at waiting, they are developing important self-regulation skills.  The ability to quiet your internal urges is very challenging for lots of kids.  Self-regulation is a skill that many Kindergarten teachers want to see in new students.  Playing waiting and anticipating games can help grow this skill in a fun and meaningful way!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fingerplay Fun: Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes!

Here is a fun rhyme that includes some fun big body movement: Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
(touch appropriate body parts while reciting)

Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes
Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Knees and toes!

I love the sequences in this one.  It can be really challenging for kids to recite the rhyme while touching their body parts at the same time.  This takes some serious practice (it took me more than a few times to get it right when making the video). 

Children who are able to combine spoken language with body movements will have an easier time learning to write.  When we write, we must unite our inner voice with our hand, finger and arm movements to create shapes on a page.  This is a very complex interplay of functions.  This is a great rhyme for letting kids practice these skills in a fun and meaningful way!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday: I Can Make a Circle!

Here's a fun little shape game: I Can Make a Circle

I Can Make a Circle

I can make a circle, a circle, a circle
I can make a circle, would you like to see
(bring hands together in shape of a circle)

Here is my circle, my circle, my circle
Here is my circle, it is pretty neat!

Repeat with Triangle and Square

I like this one because it give kids a chance to play with shapes in a fun, hands-on way.  Using hands and bodies to make shapes can let little kids experience shapes in a meaningful and tactile way.

Learning to read is all about learning to recognize shapes.  Words are made up of letters.  Letters, in turn, are made up of shapes.  An "o" is a circle.  A capital "A" is a triangle with legs.  A square can be made using capital "L".  When children have a strong understanding of shapes, it is much easier for them to recognize letters.  We call a child's ability to recognize letters: Letter Knowledge.  This is a critical pre-reading skill!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Open Shut Them!

Here is one last slightly spooky rhyme for the spooky time of year: Open Shut Them

Open Shut Them

Open, shut them  (open hands then shut hands)
Open, shut them  (repeat)
Give a little clap-clap-clap  (clap hands three times)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Rest them in your lap-lap-lap  (pat your lap three times)

Creep them, crawl them  (creep hands up tummy)
Creep them, crawl them  (creep hands up chest)
Right up to your chin  (creep hands up to rest on chin)
Open up your little mouth... but DO NOT LET THEM IN!!  (open mouth.. pause.. then quickly hide hands behind back)

I like this one because it involves simple motions that toddlers and preschoolers can quickly learn.  By repeating and speeding up the rhyme, you can insert a playful element while also letting kids practice remembering the words.

Opening and shutting hands, patting laps and creeping hands are all great ways for kids to practice hand-eye coordination.  This is an important skill that kids will need to master before learning how to write with a pencil or pen.