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Some of our favourite finger plays this year include:
Five Cheeky Monkeys - start with five fingers pointing towards the floor, swinging
Five cheeky monkeys swinging in the tree (move your hand)
Teasing Mr Crocodile 'You can't catch me' (put both hands up to the sides of your head and shake)
But along comes the crocodile quiet as can be.... (extend your arms in front of you to make the crocodile)
And SNAP! (close your hands quickly)
Mmm... (rub your tummy) Monkey for tea!
Repeat until all the monkeys are gone or the last one can survive 'You missed me, you missed me!'
One Little Finger - start with just one finger extended
One little finger, one little finger, one little finger, tap tap tap (tap your two fingers together)
Point to the ceiling, point to the floor, point to the window and point to the door.
And put them in your lap. Boing boing boing (alternate bumping your fists together)
Repeat until five fingers are extended then change the last verse to clap instead of tap.
Five Little Ducks - start with five fingers in one hand, mother duck with the other
Five little ducks went out one day (move your hand)
Over the hills and far away (move your hand across your body tracing the shape of the hills)
Mother Duck said 'Quack, quack, quack'
But only four little ducks came back
Repeat until all the ducks are gone then send Mother Duck after them.
Other classics like Open, Shut Them, Roly Poly, Up Up Up, Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes, 1,2,3,4,5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive and Everybody Do This are still well used. Sometimes we take an older favourite and give it more local meaning like Row, Row, Row Your Boat. I live on the River Murray in Australia so one version we do goes like this:
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the river.
If you see a giant yabbie,
Take him home for dinner.
And we've also introduced some newer songs like:
Five Umbrellas - hold up five fingers to start then put one down as each umbrella is taken. We also substitute children's names for Mum and Dad.
Five umbrellas, not one more
Dad took one then there were four.
Four umbrellas pretty as can be.
Sister took one, now there are three.
Three umbrellas, green, red and blue.
Mum took one, then there were two.
Two umbrellas that's all I see.
Brother took one and left one for me.
Dinosaur, Dinosaur - sung to Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around.
Dinosaur, dinosaur turn around.
Dinosaur, dinosaur stomp the ground.
Dinosaur, dinosaur show your claws.
Dinosaur, dinosaur snap your jaws.
Dinosaur, dinosaur turn around.
Dinosaur, dinosaur sit back down.
Sometimes - start seated
Sometimes I am tall (stand up)
Sometimes I am small (semi-crouch)
Sometimes I am very, very tall (stand on your toes)
Sometimes I am very, very small (crouch lower and duck your head)
Sometimes tall (stand up with your arms raised)
Sometimes small (crouch down)
Sometimes neither tall or small (stand normally)
Tiny Turtle - start with one hand sitting on top of the other with both thumbs pointing out like fins
I have this tiny turtle (move your thumbs to make it swim)
His name is Tiny Tim
I put him in the bathtub (dive into the bath then swim some more)
To see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water (pretend to drink some water)
And ate up all the soap. (pretend to eat some soap)
Now he has a bubble in the middle of his throat! (touch your throat)
Bubble, bubble, bubble... POP!
Most of these work as plays or as small world play prompts which allow children opportunity to retell the story with their friends. I have these two Pam Schiller books that have plenty of other finger plays, tongue twisters and songs for children.
Tooty Ta Song - a fun layered song to follow along to.
One Finger, One Thumb - very fast version but The Wiggles pull it off. Warning though - this song will get stuck in your head.
Wombat Wobble would have to be my favourite (the video's not great quality but at least you can see the movements and how much fun the children are having).
My Name is Joe - another layered song where children have to add a movement each repeat.
Highway Number One - This clip, which must be someone's university class, is hilarious! With preschoolers, we start as a circle, start your car and walk around clockwise or anti-clockwise then stop at each city and complete the action before moving on.
Wash Your Face in Orange Juice - classic silliness from Peter Combe
The Alphabet Song. Kids love the Storybots! They also do some fun clips for each letter of the alphabet along with favourite nursery rhymes.
Usher's ABC song from Sesame Street is one everyone can get up and move to - my favourite way to spend group time.
Days of the Week - maybe it's because I watched the Addams Family as a child but I love this version of how to learn the days of the week.
The Skeleton Dance
Of course you could use these songs any time of the year. They're the perfect way to ensure that everyone is up and moving!
Other posts you might find useful for creating a successful circle time:
Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds Action Songs or Creating Circle Time
Tips for Circle Time from Teach Preschool
Pre-K's Circle Time suggestions
What are your favourite rhymes or songs for circle time?
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