Finger plays are valuable activities that help children acquire skills that are essential to their development and learning. They help improve and advance memory and language skills, while also aiding in the development of eye-hand coordination and enhancing their gross and fine motor skills.
Finger plays also help in the development of the young child’s mind by stimulating the brain to aid in the connection of brain cells before the age of 3. Finger plays are essentially Nursery Rhymes, coupled with hand gestures that have been passed down from generation to generation. Each "storyteller" has their own creative style of presenting, with facial expressions, hand, feet and body movements.
When children repeat finger plays and rhymes, they are learning and practicing many important language skills: building vocabulary, rhyming, rhythm, memory, matching words with actions - just to name a few. Verses can also help develop children's muscle coordination and listening skills as well as strengthen children's understanding of concepts such as counting, colors, and spatial positioning (up, down, behind, etc.).
When my older child was fussy as a newborn, it was singing nursery rhymes that would calm her down & eventually ease her into sleep. Even now, at 2 years of age, we often read/sing the book,Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: And Other Favoirte Nursery Rhymes (Padded Nursery Rhyme Board Book) by Sanja Rescek before we go to bed. (Note: this book does contain some religious rhymes/prayers.) I like to believe that she is more musically inclined because I started teaching her finger plays so young. (By 9 months she was able to move her fingers & hum the tune of "Itsy Bitsy Spider". I love when we are at the super market or eating dinner that she just busts out singing a nursery rhyme but what is really priceless is listening to her sing to the radio was we drive it the car.
But don't worry if you can't hold a tune or (like me) have the memory of a goldfish. If you an iPhone or iPad, check out these apps.
Singing Nursery Rhyme Apps
(yes the app does the singing for you...leave it to my husband to find these!)
- My first songs by Ring Zero Game Studio
- Baby weebee nursery rhymes (a place to store the lyrics to your favorite nursery rhymes)
- Kids Song Collection
Interactive Nursery Rhyme Apps
By Duck Duck Moose- Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels On The Bus, Old Mac Donald, Baa Baa (black sheep)
Awesome Websites Filled With Nursery Rhymes & Finger Plays!