English Fingerplay Songs for Kids

Three girls (3-5) eating cookies in yard, mouths open, portrait
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Fingerplays - Learning Through Movement
Here are a number of English fingerplay songs which combine movements of the hands and fingers with key vocabulary. The act of singing and acting out on the fingers children make both a kinetic and musical connection to the new words, also known as a multiple intelligences approach to learning. Fingerplays are usually chanted, although some songs also have movements which are in parentheses after each spoken line.

Three Little Monkeys

"Three Little Monkeys" can have as many verses as you like to practice the numbers. Here are the last two verses as examples.


Verse 1

Three little monkeys jumping on the bed, 
(tap three fingers on palm)

One fell off and bumped is head. 
(one finger falls off, then hold head)

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said: 
(hold imaginary telephone to your ear)

"No more little monkeys jumping on the bed." 
(shake finger)


Verse 2

Two little monkeys jumping on the bed, 
(tap three fingers on palm)

One fell off and bumped is head. 
(one finger falls off, then hold head)

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said: 
(hold imaginary telephone to your ear)

"No more little monkeys jumping on the bed." 
(shake finger)

Little Bunny Foo-Foo


Verse 1

Little bunny Foo-Foo hopping through the forest 
(raise your hand up and down as if hopping along through the forest)

Scooping up the chipmunks and bopping them on the head.

 
(pound fist into palm)

Down came the good fairy and she said: 
(drop shaking hand from above to below)

Little bunny Foo-Foo, I don't want to see you 
(shake finger)

Scooping up the chipmunks and bopping them on the head 
(raise your hand up and down as if hopping along through the forest)

I'll give you three chances, 
(raise three fingers)

And if you're not good, I'll turn you into a goon. 
(raise both hands up into the sky and shake them as if frightened)


Verse 2

So, the very next day...
(repeat except the fairy Godmother says 'two chances')

Verse 3

So, the very next day...
(repeat except the fairy Godmother says 'one chance')


Final Moral

The moral of this story is: Hare today, Goon Tomorrow!
(play on words of the common saying: "Here today, gone tomorrow")

Clap Your Hands


1

Clap, clap, clap your hands as slowly as you can. 
(clap your hands slowly)

Clap, clap, clap your hands as quickly as you can. 
(clap your hands quickly)


2

Shake, shake, shake your hands as slowly as you can. 
(shake your hands slowly)

Shake, shake, shake your hands as quickly as you can. 
(shake your hands quickly)


3

Rub, rub, rub your hands as slowly as you can. 
(rub your hands slowly)

Rub, rub, rub your hands as quickly as you can. 
(rub your hands quickly)


4

Roll, roll, roll your hands as slowly as you can. 
(roll your hands slowly)

Roll, roll, roll your hands as quickly as you can. 
(roll your hands quickly)

Tips for Teaching Fingerplay Songs

  • Write key vocabulary for each song on the board. Practice each movement, and check for understanding.
  • Model the song a few times yourself. Don't be shy!
  • Have students contribute other movements to "Clap Your Hands"
  • Have different students lead the class in the songs once they've learned the songs by heart.
  • Ask students to create their own songs.
  • Use grammar chants to help students learn simple grammar structures.