Prep: 5 Minutes / Activity Time: 5 Minutes

Fingerplays and action rhymes can help toddlers learn about rhyming, provide opportunities for listening and speaking, and encourage coordination of words with actions. Start with finger plays that involve moving those little fingers. You can perform an old favorite or make up your own as you go!

If needed, look online for fingerplay lyrics:

  • Open Shut Them
  • Ten Little Fingers
  • Two Little Black Birds
  • This Little Piggy
  • Where is Thumbkin?

Step 1: Sit with your child facing you. In an animated voice, ask her to show you her hands and fingers. Hold up your hands and wiggle your fingers; invite her to imitate you.

Step 2: Choose one of the finger plays to do together. You might say:

Let’s sing a song and move our hands and fingers while we sing. Watch Daddy.

Open, shut them. Open, shut them. Give a little clap! 
(Open: fingers spread; shut: make a fist; clap)

Open, shut them. Open, shut them. Put them in your lap. 
(Open: fingers spread; shut: make a fist; place both hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them, slowly, creep them, right up to your chin!
(Wiggle fingers up to chin and hold there)

Open wide your little mouth but…
(Open mouth and hold for a few seconds)

Do not let them in!
(Move hands quickly from mouth to your back)

Step 3: Clap your hands and cheer enthusiastically. Repeat the rhyming phrases with the motions.

You might say:

Give a little clap (clap), put them in your lap (place in lap).
Give a little clap, put them in your lap!
Right up to you chin (fingers on chin), but do not let them in (move hands to your back).
Right up to your chin, but do not let them in!

Step 4: Sing it again, or try another rhyme if she’s interested.