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Finger Plays and Action Verses for Children
 
See the leaves all falling down,
To make a carpet on the ground,
Swish, swish, wind blows by,
Swish, swish, away they fly.
Windshield wiper, windshield wiper,
What do you do today?
Slip-slap, slip-slap,
I wipe the rain away.

(Shape hands to make a ball)
A little ball,
A bigger ball,
A great big ball I see.

Now let us count
The balls we've made,
One, two, three.
(Point with one hand-to count)

(Can be adapted to "Goldilocks")


Choo, choo, choo, choo
(rub palms together in circular motion to make a noise, slowly at first, gradually increasing speed)
Too-too, too-too, too-too ...........
(keep hands rubbing fast and call too - too for whistle )
Choo-choo, choo-choo, choo-choo
(rubbing hands gradually more and more slowly)
Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong .....
(stop altogether and call ding - dong)


Five little birds without any home,
(raise 5 fingers of right hand)
Five little trees in a row.
(raise right hand high over head)
Come and build your nests in our branches tall
(cup left hand for nest-right fingers in)
We'll rock you to and fro.
(then rock both hands)


Five little kittens
(hand made into a fist)
All black and white
Sleeping very soundly
All through the night.

Meow, meow, meow, meow
(each finger raised in turn to "Meow")
It's time to get up now.


Hear the engine puff, choo-choo-choo,
Hear the whistle blow, toot-toot-too.
Hear the big bell ring, ding-dong-ding,
Hear the brakeman shout "All Aboard".


Here are the bee hives
(left hand cupped downward)
Where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees.
(hide fingers of right hand under it)

Soon they'll come creeping
(fingers come out one by one)
Out of the hives
One, two, three, four, five Buz-zz.
(hand circles around)


Here is my book. I can open it wide
(palms together-open wide)
To show the pictures that are inside;
Here is my ball so big and round
(fingers form ball)
That I toss in the air or roll on the ground.
Here's my umbrella that keeps me dry
(above head)
When the raindrops drop from the cloudy sky.
And here is my kitty-just hear her purr
(left hand is kitty and stroke with right)
When I gently stroke her soft warm fur.


Here's a bunny
(raise two fingers)
With ears so funny
And here's a hole in the ground.
(make hole with fingers of other hand)
At the first sound she hears
She pricks up her ears
(straighten fingers)
And pops right into the ground.
(put into hole)


Ten little sailors,
(fingers stand facing in)
All dressed in blue;
Looking at me,
(fingers bow in)
Looking at you.
(fingers bow out)


Here's the church,
(fingers interlocked; fingers inside)
And here's the steeple.
(index fingers rise to a point)
Open the door
(keep fingers interlocked but turn palms up)
There are all the people.
(wriggle fingers)


Jack-in-the box
Sits so still.
Won't you come out?
Yes, I will.

(bury thumbs in the fist-then pop them out)
or
(child crouching on floor and jumping up)


(sitting on floor, descriptive motions)

Put your hands way up,
Put your hands way out,
Put your hands way down,
And give a clap, clap, clap.
Put your right foot out and in,
Put your left foot out and in,
Now put both your feet out,
And kick, kick, kick.


Little Robin Redbreast
Sat upon a rail
(crouch like bird with 2 hands behind back like bird's tail )
Niddle noddle went his head
(nod head)
And wag went his tail.
(use hands to make tail wagging)
Niddle noddle went his head
And wag went his tail.


One finger and thumb keep moving
One finger and thumb keep moving
One finger and thumb keep moving
And we'll all be happy and gay.
Two fingers, two thumbs keep moving etc.
(Repeat as above)
Two arms, two fingers, two thumbs, etc.
Two legs, two arms, two fingers, two thumbs, etc.
One head, two legs, two arms, two fingers, two thumbs, etc.


Peter works with 1 hammer, 1 hammer, 1 hammer
Peter works with 1 hammer, this fine day.
(1 hammer-fist pounding)

Peter works with 2 hammers, etc.
(2 hammers-2 fists pounding)
Peter works with 3 hammers, etc.
(3 hammers-2 fists & 1 foot pounding)
Peter works with 4 hammers, etc.
(4 hammers-2 fists & 2 feet pounding)
Peter works with 5 hammers, etc.
(5 hammers-2 fists & 2 feet & head nodding)


Here is baby's tousled head
(Closed fist)
He nods and nods
(Bend fist back and forth)
Let's put him to bed.
(Bend arm, tuck fist into bent elbow)


I'll touch my chin,
My cheek,
My chair.

I'll touch my head,
My heels,
My hair.

I'll touch my knees,
My neck,
My nose.

Then I'll dip down
and touch my toes.


Here's a nest for Robin Redbreast,
(Cup hands to form nest)
Here's a hive for Busy Bee,
(Fingertips together to form hive)
Here's a hole for Jacky Rabbit,
(Fingertips together to form hole)
And a house for me.
(Interlock fingers, knuckles up, for house)


Big clocks make a sound like TICK-TOCK;
Small clocks make a sound like TICK-TOCK, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock;
And the little tiny clocks make a sound like Tick-tock, tick-tock
tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.


The little mice are creeping, creeping, creeping
The little mice are creeping, through the house.
The little mice are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,
The little mice are sleeping, through the house.

The old gray cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping,
The old gray cat comes creeping, through the house.
And the little mice run away.

(One hand represents the mice, the other hand the cat. One hand creeps, while the other comes slowly down from the air. Hands meet and one scampers behind the child's back)


The little train went up the track
(hand runs up arm)
It went toot, toot,
And then it came back.

The other train went up the track
(other arm)
It went toot, toot,
And then came back.


See my piano,
(Curve fingers and rest on a table. )
Five keys in a row.
Some keys will sound high,
Some keys will sound low.
To play the piano,
(Press down each key so that it lies flat)
Each key has a turn:
Start-one, two
Then-three, four, five.


These are Mother's knives and forks
(fingers interlocked and pointing up)
This is Mother's table.
(reverse interlock and point fingers downward)
This is Mother's looking glass
(keep interlocked - raise pointer fingers tip to tip)
And this is Baby's cradle.
(keep interlocked - raise pointer and little finger tip to tip)


(Use one hand as a boat and the other arm as the bridge)

This is the way,
All the long day,
The boats go sailing by.

To and fro,
In a row,
Under the bridge so high.


Here's a doughnut so big and fat,
Here's the hole, but you can't eat that!


Tommy Thumb,
Tommy Thumb
Where are you?
Here I am, here I am,
How do you do?

(each finger in turn)
Peter Pointer
Toby Tall
Ruby Ring
Baby Finger
Finger Family - here we are.


Tommy Thumb's up
Tommy Thumb's down;
Tommy Thumb's dancing,
All around the town.

Peter Pointer's up
Peter Pointer's down
Peter Pointer's dancing
All around the town.

(each finger in turn)
Toby Tall's up, etc.
Ruby Ring's up, etc.
Little Finger's up, etc.
All the Fingers up, etc.


Two little birds sat up on a wall,
(one index placed on each knee)
One named Peter, one named Paul
(raise each finger in turn)
Fly away Peter, fly away Paul
(waggle finger as you move arm behind in arc. . .ditto return)
Come back Peter, come back Paul.


Two little blackbirds,
(hands closed with thumbs straight up for birds)
Sitting on a hill,
One named Jack,
(wriggle one thumb)
The other named Jill.
(wriggle other thumb)
Fly away Jack
(toss one hand at a time over shoulder)
Fly away Jill.
Come back Jack
(bring back hands one at a time)
Come back Jill.


Two tall telegraph poles;
(index fingers)
Between them a wire is strung.
(join third fingers)
Two little birds hopped on it,
(thumb resting on third finger)
And swung, and swung, and swung.
(swing hands)


Up in the sky, the little birds fly.
(flutter outstretched hands)
Down in their nests the little birds rest.
(lower hands into lap)
With a wing on the left, and a wing on the right,
(wave left hand, then right)
The dear little birdies sleep all night.
(fold hands under cheek)


We are little pussy cats
Walking round and round.
We have cushions on our feet
And never make a sound.

(walking on cushions of fingers)
or (crawling quietly like a cat)


When I was one year old
(children crouching on floor)
I was very small
Now I'm three years old (four or five)
(children stretch up with hands above heads)
I'm very, very tall.


Five rabbits were hiding
(clenched fist)
In the woods one day.
1-2-3-4-5 jumped out
(fingers come out as they count)
And then they ran away.
(imitate running with fingers.)


Pumpkin, pumpkin, round and flat
Turn into a Jack-o-lantern just like that!


I put my hands in my lap,
My feet together so.
I sit as straight as straight as can be,
For that is right, you know.


Open - shut them,
Give a little clap.
Open - shut them,
Open - shut them,
Lay them in your lap.
Roll them, roll them, (roll hands)
Roll them, roll them,
Roll them, just like this.
Wave them, wave them, (wave hands)
Wave them, wave them,
And blow a little kiss.


Five little ducks went swimming one day,
Over the hill and far away.
Mother duck said, Quack, Quack, Quack,
Four little ducks came swimming back.
Four little ducks went swimming one day
(Repeat as above)
Three little ducks came swimming back.
Three little ducks went swimming one day
(Repeat as above)
Two little ducks came swimming back.
Two little ducks went swimming one day
(Repeat as above)
One little duck came swimming back.
One little duck went swimming one day
(Repeat as above)
No little ducks came swimming back.
Mother duck said quack, quack, quack,
Five little ducks came swimming back.


A nest for Robby Redbreast (cup hands)
A hive for Betty Bee (2 hands form a hive)
A hole for Jackie Rabbit (circle with thumb and index finger)
And a bed for me (lay face on 2 hands and close eyes)


Stand up high,
Spread your arms wide,
Fly like the birdies fly,

Bend down low
Touch your toes,
Waddle like the old duck goes.


I like to be a jumping jack
And jump out from a box.
I like to be a rocking horse
and rock and rock and rock.

I like to be a spinning top
And spin around and round.
I like to be a rubber ball
and bounce way up and down.

I like to be a big, fast train
Whose wheels fly round and round.
I like to be a pony small
And trot along the ground.

I like to be so many things-
A growly, scowly bear-
But really I'm a little child
who sits upon a chair.


Two little feet go tap, tap, tap,
Two little hands go clap, clap, clap,
A quick little leap up from the chair;
Two little hands fly up in the air.
Two little fists go bump, bump, bump,
Two little feet go jump, jump, jump,
One little body turns round, round, round,
And one little child sits quietly down.


When I stretch up I feel so tall,
When I bend down I feel so small,
Taller, taller, taller, taller,
Smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller,
Into a rubber ball.


One is a giant and stamps her feet,
Two is a fairy light and neat.
(skip around)
Three is a mouse and curls up small,
Four is a great big bouncing ball.


A is tall (stretch up high)
B is small (crouch low)
C jumps up just like a ball,
But D you are a lazy man
For you sit down whenever you can.


Now I will play my little horn.
I put my fingers-so!
And then I lift it to my mouth,
And blow and blow and blow.

We clap up high, we clap down low,
We jump, jump, jump, and around we go.

Up and down, up and down,
Clap your hands and turn around.

Up and down, up and down,
Clap your hands and bow.
This is my right hand
Raise it up high.
This is my left hand
I'll touch the sky.
Right hand, left hand,
Twirl them around,
Left hand, right hand,
Pound, pound, pound.

This is my right foot,
Tap, tap, tap.
This is my left foot,
Pat, pat, pat.
Right foot, left foot,
Run, run, run.
Left foot, right foot,
Jump, jump for fun.


These are Grandmother's glasses,
(Circle eyes with thumb and forefinger.)
And this is Grandmother's cap
(Join hands above head.)
And this is the way she folds her hands
And puts them in her lap.


Clap your hands, clap your hands,
Clap your hands together;
Clap your hands, clap your hands,
Lightly as a feather.

Lift your right knee, lift your left knee,
Lightly as a feather.
Lift them high, lift them low.
All lift knees together.

Tap your right toe, tap your left toe,
Lightly as a feather
Tap the right, tap the left,
All tap toes together.


Fingers up and fingers down,
All the way to London Town.
Now let's make them faster go,
With a merry Ho, Hi, Ho.

Clap your hands, one, two, three, four,
Now bend down and touch the floor.
Twist them round and fly up high,
Like the birds up in the sky.

(Descriptive motions)


As high as a house
(reach high)
As small as a mouse
(crouch)
As wide as a barn
(feet apart, arms sideways)
As thin as a pin
(stand erect).


One little child stands up,
One little child turns round,
One little child claps his hands,
And one little child sits down.

(Two, three, four etc. substituted for one. Children take turns in standing. May be one in each row.)


Left foot up, right foot in
That's the way the dance begins;
Left hand up, right hand down,
Now we all turn round and round.


(In couples facing, with hands joined)

Wash the dishes
(swing hands back and forth)
Dry the dishes
(swing hands back and forth)
Turn the dishes over
(Circle under each other's arms.)


Zm, zm, zm, zm;
Hear the airplane's engine sing.
Zm, zm, zm, zm;
See it fly with out-spread wing.
Zm, zm, zm, zm;
Watch it turn and then swoop down
And come to rest upon the ground.
Zm, zm, zm, zm.


This is how my goldfish swims
And birdies fly like this.
Spiders crawl right up the wall,
And elephants walk like this.


Two little brownies dressed in blue,
Let us see what they can do.
Stand at attention, stand at ease,
Hands on your hips, and bend your knees.
Hands on your neck, and touch your toes,
Slap your sides
And down you go. (sit)


One, two, three, four
Knees straight; touch the floor.

Up now, arms out,
Stretch wide. Turn about.


Two little bunnies went walking, walking,
And one said to the other;
"Sh-sh, I hear footsteps behind me;
Let's run away quickly and hide behind a tree."
(Use index fingers)


I have ten little fingers and they all belong to me,
I can make them do things-would you like to see?
I can shut them up tight, I can open them wide,
I can put them together, I can make them all hide.
I can make them jump high,
I can make them jump low.
I can fold them up quietly and hold them just so.
(Finger motions as described)


I can go on tippy-toe,
Like a fairy I can go.
I can stamp so that you'd say
"An elephant's at school today."
I can run, I can hop,
I can spin 'round like a top,
I can stretch my arms out wide,
I can swing from side to side.
I can stand up straight and tall,
I can make myself so small.
I can kneel without a sound,
And sit cross-legged on the ground.


The stork is such a funny bird,
She stands on one leg all night.
(Children stand on one foot.)
Her head is tucked beneath her wing
Completely out of sight.
(Tuck head under arm)
In the morning when she wakes
Up pops her head so high,
Down drops her foot
Out spread her wings,
And she flies to meet the sky.
(Spread arms and flap them)


The great tall clock in the hall,
The grandfather's clock of them all,
Goes TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK.
And mother's little clock on the shelf
Goes tick, tock, tick, tock.
But father's little watch in his pocket,
Goes ticky, ticky, ticky, ticky, tocket.


See the snowflakes falling down,
(Hold hands high, move fingers rapidly and bring hands to lap)
Softly, softly to the ground.
They make a blanket soft and white
To keep the flowers through winter's night.
(Pat lap gently with hands as though patting snow on flower bed)
See the snowflakes on their way,
Twirling, swirling as they play.
(Same as first, but move arms around as brought down)
Is it not a pretty sight - when all the earth is dressed in white?


Whisky, frisky, hippity hop,
Up he goes to the tree top.
(Spiral motion up)
Whirly, swirly, round and round,
Down he scampers to the ground.
(Spiral motion down)
Furly, curly, what a tail,
Tall as a feather, broad as a sail.
(Wave hand for tail)
Where's his supper - in the shell,
Snappity, crackity, out it fell.
(Thumb and index finger open and shut to crack nut)


An owl sat alone on the branch of a tree,
(Use arm as branch; raise thumb for owl)
And she was as quiet as quiet could be.
'Twas night and her eyes were wide open like this;
(Circle eyes with fingers and look around)
She looked all around; not a thing did she miss.
Some little birds perched on the branch of the tree,
(Fingers of other hand fly on tree)
And sat there as quiet as quiet could be.
The solemn old owl said "Whoo-whoo-whoo,"
And up jumped the birds and away they flew.
(Wave hand away, fluttering fingers behind back)


(Consecutively raise fingers of one hand)
This is the father, kind and true;
This is the mother who cares for you;
This is the brother so big and tall;
This is the sister who plays with her ball;
This is the baby, pet of them all.
See the whole family, big and small.


Knock at the door,
(Tap lightly on forehead)
Peep in.
(Touch eyelids)
Lift the latch,
(Tip up nose)
Walk in, And take a little chair
(Touch lips)
Right down there.
(Tuck fingers in neck)


Here comes my lady so nimble,
(Tap knuckles lightly on floor)
So nimble, so nimble.
Here comes my lord with a trot,
(Tap more heavily)
Trot, trot, trot, trot.
Here comes old farmer John with a gallop,
(Tap faster)
A gallop, a gallop, a gallop,
(Hands together as if holding reins)
Whoa back!


Here is the girl, and here's her bed;
(Raise index finger of one hand)
Here is her pillow and here is her head.
(Hold palm of other hand out flat)
(Place thumb of same hand on palm)

She pulls up the covers and holds them tight,
(Place finger across palm)
(Wrap other fingers around it)

And that's the way she sleeps all night.
(Rock gently)


Roll your hands so slowly,
as slowly as can be;
Roll your hands so slowly,
And fold your arms like me.

Roll your hands so quickly,
As quickly as can be;
Roll your hands so quickly,
And fold your arms like me.

Clap your hands so softly,
As softly as can be,
Clap your hands so softly,
And fold your arms like me.

Clap your hands so smartly,
As smartly as can be;
Clap your hands so smartly,
And fold your arms like me.


My hands upon my head I'll place,
On my shoulders, on my face,
On my hips and at my sides,
Then I'll lift them up so high,
Make my fingers swiftly fly,
Hold them out in front of me,
And clap them so-one, two, three.


There is a tall building in our town
Elevators running down.
Door revolving round about,
People walking in and out.

All may stand up straight and tall.
Chins up high, one and all!
Hands on hips,
Hands on knees,
Put them behind you if you please.
Touch your fingers,
Now your nose.
Touch your ears,
And now your toes.
Raise your hands up high in the air,
Down at your sides,
Now touch your hair.
Now, if you please,
Touch your elbows,
Now your knees.
Raise your hands up high as before,
Now sit down, hands quiet once more.
Eyes to the front,
Feet on the floor.


I hold my fingers like a fish,
And wave them as I go,
Through the water with a swish!
So gaily to and fro.


(right hand walk up left arm)
Little Arabella Miller
Found a fuzzy caterpillar
First it crawled upon her mother
Then upon her baby brother
Oh! said Arabella Miller
Take away that caterpillar!

CHRISTMAS

I found a toy on the Christmas tree
And this is the way it played for me
Tra-la-la-la-la-la
And this is the way it played for me.

I found a doll on the Christmas tree
And this is what it said to me,
Ma-ma, ma-ma, ma-ma
And this is what it said to me.

I found a horn on the Christmas tree
And this is how it played for me
Toot-too, toot-too, toot-too
And this is how it played for me.


This is the wreath that hangs on the door
This is the tree that stands on the floor.
This is the snow that covers the town,
This is the chimney that Santa comes down.
This is the mantel where stockings are hung,
This is the book from which carols are sung.
This is the box and inside it is hid
A Jack that pops out when you open the lid.


Here's a great big Christmas tree
Trimmed with lights and balls.
(Put tips of fingers of both hands together, palms apart)

Here are Santa's little elves;
They run when Santa calls.
(Hold up ten fingers and wiggle them)

This is Santa's workshop
Filled with gifts and toys.
(Use both hands to form a house)

The elves and helpers fill the sleigh,
For all good girls and boys.
(Pretend to be putting large and small toys into sleigh)

See the snowflakes falling.
(Fingers dance like falling snowflakes)

See the candles glow
(Put up one finger of each hand for candles)

See the wreaths upon the door.
It's Christmastime, I know!
(Form wreath)


I wear a big and funny hat
And glasses on my nose

My beard is l-o-n-g and snowy white
And reaches to my toes!
(Use both hands to form a house)


1, 2, 3, 4, 5 little reindeer,
Stand beside the gate
"Hurry, Santa" said the five
"So we will not be late."

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 little reindeer
Santa said, "Please wait!
Wait for three more reindeer
Then there will be eight."

MUSIC

These can be sung if desired:

(Tune of London Bridge)

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes
Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Nose.


Eency, weency spider went up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Up came the sun and dried up all the rain
So eency, weency spider went up the spout again.


The grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And marched them down again
And when they were up, they were up
And when they were down, they were down
And when they were only halfway up,
They were neither up nor down.


(Tune of Mulberry Bush)

Here we go to the zoo in the park,
the zoo in the park, the zoo in the park;
Here we go to the zoo in the park so early in the morning.
(March in place or around the room)
This is the way the elephant walks,
the elephant walks, the elephant walks;
This is the way the elephant walks so early in the morning.
(Join hands and swing arms in imitation of elephant's trunk)
This is the way the big bear walks,
the big bear walks, the big bear walks;
This is the way the big bear walks so early in the morning.
(Imitate lumbering walk of bear)
This is the way the kangaroo hops,
the kangaroo hops, the kangaroo hops;
This is the way the kangaroo hops so early in the morning.
(Continue with other animals-the rabbit hops, the penguin walks etc.)


(Tune of Little Brown Jug)

Stand up straight, reach up high
Stretch up more to reach up high
Bend right down and touch your toes
Straighten up and rub your nose.
Ha Ha Ha, See, See, See
Oh so healthy we shall be
Ha Ha Ha, See, See, See
Watch me sit so quietly.


Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around. (Fold hands)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, show your shoe.
(Raise knees high)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, that will do.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go up stairs.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers.
(Palms of hands together)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, switch off the light.
(Pantomine turning off light.)

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say Good Night.
(Wave Good-bye)


Where is Thumbkin (2)
Here I am (2)
How are you today, sir?
Very well, I thank you
Run away, run away.

(Repeat with other fingers: Pointer, Middleman, Ringman, Baby.)


This old man, he played one (raise one finger, etc.)
He played nick-nack on his thumb;
(pound on other fist)
Nick-nack, paddy wack,
Give the dog a bone.
(clap hands)
This old man goes rolling home.
(roll hands)

This old man, he played two
He played nick-nack on his shoe.
Nick-nack, paddy-wack, etc.

Three - on his knee
Four - on the floor
Five - on his side
Six - with some sticks
Seven - up to Heaven
Eight - on his plate
Nine - all the time
Ten - all over again

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© National Network for Child Care - NNCC. Reprinted with permission.
Labensohn, D. (1986). Finger plays and action verses for children. Ames, IA: Iowa State University

 
 
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