Friday, December 27, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Touch Your Nose!

Here is a fitting end to the year: Touch Your Nose

Touch Your Nose

Touch your nose,
Touch your chin.
That's the way
This game begins.

Touch your eyes,
Touch your knees.
Now pretend
You're going to sneeze (Aaaa-choo!).

Touch your ears,
Touch your hair.
Touch your lips,
Just right there (Smack a kiss).

Touch your elbows,
Where they bend.
Jump right up and say
THE END!!!!!

I like this one because it has an awful lot of body parts crammed in.  They also show up quite randomly, so it is a little harder for kids.  They really have to pay attention in order to follow along and "play the game."

I usually end all of my storytimes with this little gem.  Early learning research shows that kids respond positively to repetition and regularity.  Routines let your child focus more on the task at hand instead of worrying about what is going to happen next.  Check out this wonderful article from Zero to Three on Love, Learning, and Routines for more information.

See you next year!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday: Green Says Go!

Here's a fun game that you can stretch on and on, to help kids burn off some of that extra holiday season sugar: Green Says Go! 

Green Says Go!

Green says, Go!
Go! Go! Go!

Yellow says, Slow!
Slow! Slow! Slow!

And red says, STOP!

Go! Go! Go!
Slow! Slow! Slow!
and STOP!

This one works best if you have a lot of room to move around in.   Start by practicing the three different motions: Go, Slow and Stop.  Slow and Stop can be especially challenging for little kids who just want to run around.  When kids play at slowing down and stopping, it helps them to build important self-regulation skills that allow them to focus when the learn.  Drag out the Slow and Stop parts to add an extra challenge.

If you have some colored construction paper, cut out big green, yellow and red circles and hold them up while you share the activity.  After your child has practiced the game a few times, try to see if they can Go, Slow and Stop just by looking at the color (without any speaking).  Doing activities like this helps kids understand that symbols can have meaning outside of themselves.  This is the basis of print awareness, one of the six critical pre-reading skills that contribute to early reading success.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fingerplay Fun Friday: I'm a Little Snowman!

Here's a seasonal rhyme all about a snowman: I'm a Little Snowman

I'm a Little Snowman

I'm a little snowman
Short and fat,
Here are my buttons,
Here is my hat.

When the sun comes out,
I can't dare stay
If I do,
I'll melt away!

This rhyme is perfect for starting a conversation about snowmen and how they melt if it's too warm.  We call a child's understanding of how things in the world work their background knowledge.  When kids have a thorough understanding of the world, it is easier for them to make sense of what they read.

Not everyone can build a snowman in the winter.  For all the kids who live in warm places, here is a fun snowman activity:
The Life Cycle of a Snowman

By placing water balloons in your freezer over night, you can create your very own snowman!  Use a basin to catch the water as the ice melts and expose your children to a real life experiment in melting.  Try creating multiple snowmen and placing them in different locations (inside & outside) to see which snowman melts first.  When you share experiences like this with your child you are helping them to understand concepts like melting in a fun and meaningful way!

Friday, December 6, 2013

FIngerplay Fun Friday: The Wheels On the Train!

There's something about the holiday season and trains.  They seem to go hand-in-hand.  Here's a fun update to the familiar "The Wheels On the Bus": The Wheels On the Train

The Wheels On the Train

The wheels on the train go clickety-clack,
Clickety-clack, clickety-clack.
The wheels on the train go clickety-clack,
All along the track!

The station master shouts "All aboard!"
"All aboard!" "All aboard!"
The station master shouts "All aboard!"
All along the track!

The conductor says "Tickets please!"
"Tickets please!" "Tickets please!"
The conductor says "Tickets please!"
All along the track!

The whistle on the train goes "Choo-choo!"
"Choo-choo!" "Choo-choo!"
The whistle on the train goes "Choo-choo!"
All along the tracks!

The people on the train go bumpity-bump,
Bumpity-bump, bumpity-bump.
The people on the train go bumpity-bump,
All along the track!

The kids on the train say "Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?" "Are we there yet?"
The kids on the train say "Are we there yet?"
All along the track!

The brakeman on the train says "Slow 'er down!"
"Slow 'er down!" "Slow 'er down!"
The brakeman on the train says "Slow 'er down!"
All along the track!

"The Wheels On the Bus" is a massively popular children's song.  It has been regularly sung in nurseries and classrooms for the last 50 years or more.  This general familiarity makes it easy for kids to get on board with "The Wheels On the Train."

When we take familiar songs and add new verses or update using a variant theme we are exposing kids to new vocabulary.  In this particular case, we are introducing kids to many of the people who are involved with railroads:


photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis


photo by U.S. National Archives and Records Administration


photo by Herbert A. French
Each person has a very particular job to help make sure the train runs smoothly and efficiently.  When you share rhymes like this, you can take a moment to have a conversation with your child about how things in the real world work.  You can talk about how a Station Master makes sure the train station runs correctly, how the Conductor makes sure the train runs correctly and the Brakeman helps slow down the train when it stops.  Your child will be building vocabulary in the process.  This, in turn, will help your child recognize words when they begin reading!