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Fingerplays – Finger Games

by pahadmin

(Notes from Play at Home: Due to the clip illustrated in original link It cannot be copied here, so please watch the clip at the original link or channel Youtube Authors)

Today I will write about Finger Plays.

Don't confuse this game with puppets. When it comes to puppetry, we can freely enjoy different genres. Some popular types that Mom and Dad can make include: shadow puppets, hand/glove puppets, human-arm puppets, etc. Other types are cooler and need to be performed by professionals such as marionettes, water puppets, carnival puppets, etc.

Still finger game Then I will use my own fingers to pretend, not put puppets on my hands to act like finger puppets. The fingers will play many roles, from people to animals, and even objects (houses, mouse holes, stairs, etc.). To put it simply, it's like the game "The rabbit eats grass, drinks water, crawls into a hole, lies down to sleep" that we learn in kindergarten.

Shadow puppets, arm puppets and hand puppets
Source: Internet

Why play the Finger Game?

For many reasons.

1. It convenient. Right? No need to prepare any tools, just these hands (should be clean and neatly trimmed).

2. It fun. Because finger plays are always told in short, rhyming poems, along with onomatopoeia, helping children become familiar with the sounds of the language in the most natural way.

3. It attractive. Fingers are used flexibly and effectively in describing the story, making it possible for children to understand each word but still be able to guess the general idea (after a while).

Children in grades 1-2 at Steiner school are introduced to foreign languages through many games, including finger plays. The little ones absolutely love it.

Things need to notice

To effectively apply this activity, the first thing is to be natural, not forced, not constrained. Don't try to explain specifically what we are doing, don't "kill" the game by saying clearly what role this finger plays, what role that finger plays, or what we are trying to express. Simply play with your fingers.

The middle finger is also a finger in the hand, so it needs to be used like any other finger. It only has the meaning of “rotten finger” when it is used in such a way.

A finger play should be repeated about 1-2 times per day. It takes about a week for children to remember quite a bit of what they see and hear. Don't be afraid that your child will get bored. We need to really find this game interesting, and convey it vividly, so children won't get bored. Of course, if you use the same content for too long a time, I can't guarantee it.

When I say "convey vividly", I don't mean using too much up and down voice, or expressing too dynamically; This will make your child focus on your facial expressions, voice, and gestures instead of the content of the story. I think this is similar to how catwalk models often don't smile, because if they smile so beautifully, it will make the audience focus on their faces instead of their outfits. This is also the viewpoint of Steiner education - teachers will not let children get too excited and become "out of body", having difficulty controlling themselves.

Some examples

The most popular finger play, which I think is as "popular" as "Baby Shark", is probably "Tommy Thumb" (melody illustration). What's missing in this clip is how to "demonstrate" the fingers. You can try it the same way as "Two Fat Gentlemen Met in a Lane" that I put below.

Next is another finger play that is also quite familiar to those who are familiar with antonyms (usually in Steiner 2nd grade): “Two Little Dicky-birds/Blackbirds Sitting on a Wall”. You can refer to the game Thison my Youtube channel Jbrary, 2 librarians with many clips sharing about finger games. I like your clips because the expressions are gentle but still attractive, without making children too excited.

Here are some finger plays that I often apply to my students. You guys really like it and memorize it very quickly:

It starts with a simple, cute song like "Rabbit Eating Grass" from Vietnam:


A mouse came peeping,
A mouse came creeping;
A mouse crept home,

And now he's sleeping.

Don't be shy about the middle finger 😉.

The next article is a "vedette" for first grade boys and girls:


Five little monkeys swinging in a tree,
Along came a crocodile, as quiet as can be.
“Hey, Mr Crocodile, you can't catch me!” SNAP.
Four little monkeys swinging in a tree.
Along came a crocodile, as quiet as can be…

Three little monkeys…
Two little monkeys…
One little monkey swinging in the tree.
Along came a crocodile, very quietly.
One monkey said, “You can't catch me! – MISSED ME.”

Here, we will try to tell beat (rhythm), otherwise it will be difficult for children to remember what we say. Please pay attention, babies are babbling and practicing speaking, are they imitating adults' intonations but cannot pronounce each word specifically? All we hear will be a series of meaningless sounds, but the intonation is very similar to everyday speech. Language has its own rhythm, and children will remember it very quickly if you hum along to the melody, especially when we are reading poetry like this.

And remember, don't over express yourself 😉.

The 2nd graders really like this article:


Two fat gentlemen met in a lane,
Bowed most politely, bowed once again:
“How do you do,” “How do you do,”
And, “How do you do again.”
Two thin ladies meet in a lane,
Curtsied most politely, curtsied once again,…

Two tall policemen met in a lane,
Saluted most politely, saluted once again…
Two little schoolboys meet in a lane,
Cuffed one another, cuffed once again…
Two little babies met in a lane,
Jiggled and jiggled, and jiggled again…

Here, we mainly have to act a little, highlighting the uniqueness of the characters in the game (because there will be role playing later), for example, two gentlemen must be different from two gentlemen. police officer, is even more different from two ladies, or two schoolboys, or two children. But, again, don't overdo it (I get this a lot). And most importantly, when impersonating your voice, you must be careful not to let it turn into sarcasm. For example, the baby will speak in a baby's voice, soft and cute, not a distorted, distorted voice like people often do. often do.

I like this song hahahaha


Two mother pigs lived in a pen,
Each had four babies, and that made ten.
These four babies were black as night,
These four babies were black and white.
But all eight babies loved to play.
They rolled and rolled in the mud all day.
At night, with mothers, they curled up in a heap,
And squealed and squealed,
Till they all went to sleep.

This article is so cute. Don't worry that your child won't understand what "mud" or "heap" or "squeal" is. It's not important. Slowly seeing these words again, one fine day it will naturally click, and the child will understand.

Wishing you success in applying it.

PS After watching the clip, my husband said his eyes were wandering 😅 Actually, it's because I'm used to looking around the circle when teaching, to maintain eye contact with my students. Now staring at a point on the screen is unfamiliar. Remember to look into the child's eyes when communicating. Children not only learn through speech, but also through body language, and the energy transmitted from the teacher. Only then can "living language" be conveyed.

Source: https://medaybe.com/tro-choi-ngon-tay-finger-plays/

Source of illustration: https://growingbookbybook.com/fingerplays-for-preschoolers/

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