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Oregon Family Magazine

Fun With Fingerplay Songs

11/30/2021 ● By Parenting Now
As the rain settles in for the winter season, parents often start looking for indoor activities to keep their busy toddlers and preschoolers engaged. Singing and listening to music, specifically fingerplay songs, is a fun way to entertain your child, while also building connection.

Fingerplays are short songs that are paired with finger movements or body actions to “act out” the story. Even if you’ve never heard of the term “fingerplay songs,” you’ve likely heard one before or even sang one yourself — “Itsy Bitsy Spider” is the perfect example!                     

When you sing fingerplay songs with your child, they are building on lots of important skills, including:                                                                                            

  • Listening
  • Rhythm
  • Creativity and imagination 
  • Cause and effect 
  • Sequential thinking
  • Large motor skills 
  • Coordination
  • Language development

Here are a couple fun fingerplay songs to sing with your toddler and preschooler.            

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

1,2,3,4,5! (pop fingers up, one at a time)

I caught a fish alive! (put palms together, making swimming motion)

6,7,8,9,10! (pop fingers up, other hand) Then I let it go again!

Why did I let it go? (gesture both palms up) 

Because it bit my finger so! (right hand “bites” finger on left hand) OUCH!                  

Apple Tree                                                                             

Way up high in the apple tree, (hands in air)

Two little apples were smiling at me. (point two fingers)

I shook the tree as hard as I could, (shaking motion with hands)

Down came the apples, Yum, they were good! (rub tummy)

(Repeat with other fruit) 

Creepy Caterpiller                                                                  

Creepy, creepy caterpillar, (fingers crawls like caterpillar)

Crawling, crawling by, Don’t you know that someday,

You’ll grow up to be a butterfly! (thumbs together, fingers fan like butterfly).

Don’t you know that someday, You will be a butterfly?

Tiny little tadpole, swimming by a log, (finger swims) 

Don’t you know that someday, You’ll grow up to be a frog? (hop hand like frog)

Don’t you know that someday, You’ll grow to be a frog? (ribbit, ribbit, ribbit!) 

Your child’s ability to listen and respond appropriately to a fingerplay song is the foundation for learning about impulse control, logical consequences, and thinking skills. The more you sing fingerplay songs with your child, the more opportunity your child has to practice these skills—all which helps lay the foundation for future learning!

These songs are from Parenting Now’s Squishtivities series, which is currently being offered as a drop-in program every Wednesday from either 10 am to 11 am, or 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. To see the full calendar of events offered, visit Fingerplay songs can also be found on Parenting Now’s YouTube channel--look for the Circle Time videos!