Storytime: Fingerplays

Fingerplays are awesome! Fingerplays are especially fantastic for toddlers and preschoolers, allowing them to practice controlling their fingers in specific ways while building those finger muscles they will need for writing. I sometimes include fingerplays in baby storytimes, but I’ve been able to explore fingerplays more since I’ve started presenting toddler and preschool virtual storytimes.

Looking for more storytime tools? Check out our Storytime Resources page for links to more content.

Problems with 10 Littles

Ten Little Indians. I’ve heard librarians use it (with those original words). For a while, I used adapted fingerplays to the same tune with different words, but I’ve stopped. I may attempt to avoid dehumanizing Indigenous people by not counting Indians like they are toys, but the few times I used this fingerplay, some caregiver would often mess up my new words and loudly use the original words because they are so associated with the tune.

At the beginning of virtual storytimes, I shifted to a different counting tune I found while watching other library storytimes (I have one, I have two, I have three little fingers). I adapted this a lot virtually because it was a quick, easy fingerplay that was just…easy to adapt.

But. Not everyone has 10 little fingers. Or 10 little toes. Or 5 little fingers. I’ve made storytime videos using ten fingers that I am not highlighting below. I’m including fingerplays that count up to five, though I want to eventually phase those out to or make videos where we count to five using two hands instead of always just using one. How do you think about inclusivity in your fingerplays and overall storytime plans? What other elements to this am I not thinking about?

Fingerplays

Thinking about some of the inclusivity lessons I mentioned above, plus that some kids can’t bend their fingers one at a time, I’m also including action rhymes that focus on hand motions.

Bananas Unite

Bananas unite!

Peel bananas.
Peel, peel bananas.
Peel bananas.
Peel, peel bananas.

Continue with: Chop, Mash, Eat

GOOOOOO BANANAS!


Bubble, Bubble Pop!

One little red fish
Swimming in the water,
Swimming in the water,
Swimming in the water.

One little red fish
Swimming in the water,
Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble (roll arms)
POP! (clap)


Clap Them

Clap them, clap them, clap them so.
Clap them high!
Clap them low.
Clap them left.
Clap them right.
Clap them, clap them, out of sight!

Continue with: roll them, shake them


Cool Cat

Hey there everybody, you’re a real cool cat.
You got a lot of this,
And you got a lot of that.
So come on in
And get down (ch ch ch ch ch ch)
To the left (ch ch ch ch ch ch)
To the right (ch ch ch ch ch ch)
Up in the air (ch ch ch ch ch ch)
And get down (ch ch ch ch ch ch)


Dance Your Fingers Up

Dance your fingers up.
Dance your fingers down.
Dance your fingers side to side.
Dance them all around.

Dance them on your shoulders.
Dance them on your head.
Dance them on your tummy.
And put them all to bed.


The Elevator Song

Oh the city is great and the city is grand.
There are lots of tall buildings on a little piece of land,
And we live way up on the 57th floor,
and this is what we do when we go out the door.

We take the elevator up and the elevator down,
take the elevator up, take the elevator down
Take the elevator up and the elevator down
and we turn around.


Five Fat Peas

Five fat peas in a peapod pressed.
One grew, two grew,
And so did all the rest.

They grew, and they grew,
And they wouldn’t stop.
They grew, and they grew,
Until they popped! (clap)


Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Five green and speckled frogs
Sitting on a spaced log.
Eating the most delicious lunch,
Yum, yum!

One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Then there were four green and speckled frogs
Ribbet, Ribbet.

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Caterpillars

Five little caterpillars wiggling on a leaf,
One falls off, goes to sleep.
Close her eyes and wait a week,
Up come a butterfly floating on the breeze.

Repeat with: 4, 3, 2, 1, None


Five Little Hot Dogs

Five little hot dogs
Frying in a pan.
The grease for hot,
And one went BAM!

Continue with: 4, 3, 2, 1


Five Little Pumpkins

Five little pumpkins sitting on the gate
The first one said, “Oh, my it’s getting late.”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air.”
The third one said, “But we don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “Let’s have some fun!”
Ooooooooo went the wind, and out went the light.
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.


Five Little Snowmen

Five little snowmen went out one day!
Rolling through the snow
They played and played.

Out came the sun,
And it shined so bright,
One little snowmen melted out of sight!

Repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1


Funky Spunky Monkeys

Funky spunky monkey
Climbed up the coconut tree
Down came the coconut
And bonked him on his knee
Along came his mama
And kissed away the pain
And the funky spunky monkey
Climbed up the tree again.


Here is the Beehive

Here is the beehive,
But where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees.
Watch and you’ll see them come out of the hive…
1, 2, 3, 4, 5…They’re alive!
Buzzzzzzzzz


Here’s a Llama

Here’s a llama!
There’s a llama!
Llama Llama Red Pajama!
Fuzzy llama!
Funny llama!
Llama, llama, duck!


I Built a Little Snowman

I built a little snowman.
He had a carrot nose!
Along came a bunny,
And what do you suppose?

The hungry little bunny
Looking for his lunch,
Ate the carrot nose…
Nibble, nibble, crunch!


Itsy Bitsy Spider

The Itsy Bitsy Spider
Went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and
Washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and
Dried up all the rain
And the Itsy Bitsy Spider
Went up the spout again.


Itsy Bitsy Spider (Audiation)

The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the spout again.


Leaves on the Trees

The leaves on the trees turn orange and red,
Orange and red,
Orange and red.
The leaves on the trees turn orange and red, all around the town.

The leaves on the trees come twirling down,
Twirling down,
Twirling down.
The leaves on the trees come twirling down, all around the town.

The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish,
Swish, swish, swish,
Swish, swish, swish.
The leaves on the ground go swish, swish, swish, all around the town.


Little Mousie Brown

Little Mousie Brown
Little Mousie Brown
Climbed up the big, white candlestick
And couldn’t get back down.

So she called to her Grandma,
“Grandma! Grandma!”
But Grandma was not around.
So she curled into a little ball,
And rolled herself back down.


Mix a Pancake

Mix a pancake.
Stir a pancake.
Pop it in a pan.
Fry a pancake.
Toss a pancake.
Catch it if you can!


My Garden

Here is my garden.
Rake it with care.
And then, some seeds
We’ll plant in there!

The sun will shine,
The rain will fall,
And then my garden
Will grow big and tall.


Open Shut Them

Open, shut them.
Open, shut them.
Let your hands go clap, clap, clap!

Open, shut them.
Opem, shut them.
Drop them in your lap, lap, lap!

Walk them, walk them,
Walk them, walk them,
Right up to your chin, chin, chin!

Open up your little mouth,
But do not let them in!


Point to the Ceiling

Point to the ceiling.
Point to the floor.
Point to a window.
Point to the door!

Point to your elbow.
Point to your knee.
Now sit down,
And point at me!


Put Your Claws

Put your claws in the air.
Put your claws on the ground.
Put your claws in the middle,
And wiggle them around.

Put your claws to the side,
And pretend to soar!
Put your claws to your mouth,
And give a big ROAR!


Rain Is Falling Down

The rain is falling down splash (clap)
The rain is falling down splash (clap)
Pitter-patter, pitter, patter
The rain is falling down splash (clap)

The sun is peeking out peek
The sun is peeking out peek
Peek-a-boo, Peek-a-boo
The sun is peeking out peek


Roll Roll Sugar Babies

Roll roll sugar babies,
Roll roll sugar babies,
Push and pull
And clap, clap, clap!

Roll roll sugar babies,
Roll roll sugar babies,
Push and pull
And clap, clap, clap!

Roll up high!
Roll down low.
Roll real fast!
Roll real slow.

Roll roll sugar babies,
Roll roll sugar babies,
Push and pull
And clap, clap, clap!


Shapes

A circle is a shape that is round
A circle is a shape that is round
A circle is round, no corners can be found
A circle is a shape that is round

A triangle has three sides, three sides, three sides
A triangle has three sides, 1, 2, 3
A triangle has three corners, three corners, three corners
A triangle has three corners, 1, 2, 3

I am a square. A lovely square!
I have four sides. They are all the same!
I have four corners, four lovely corners.
I am a square, and square is my name.


Slowly, Slowly

Slowly, slowly, very slowly,
Creeped the garden snail.
Slowly, slowly, very slowly
Up the wooden rail.

Quickly, quickly, very quickly
Ran the little mouse.
Quickly, quickly, very quickly,
Round about the house!


Snowflakes and Icicles

Snowflakes float so smoothly to the ground
Smoothly to the ground
Smoothly to the ground
Snowflakes float so smoothly to the ground
Twirling round and round.

Icicles are sharp and cold
Sharp and cold
Sharp and cold
Icicles are sharp and cold
Sparkling like gold.


These Little Fingers

These little fingers go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle,
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
These little fingers go
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
And now they’re on my…HEAD!

Continue with: tummy, feet


There Was a Crocodile

There was a crocodile,
An orangutan,
A flying eagle,
And a silvery fish.

A bunny,
A beaver,
A crazy elephant,
Da na na na na na
Da na na na na na


This is Big

This is big big big.
This is small small small.

This is short short short.
This is tall tall tall.

This is fast fast fast.
This is slow slow slow.

This is yes yes yes yes.
This is no no no no.


Tiny Tim

I have a friendly frog.
His name is Tiny Tim!
I put him in the bathtub,
To see if he could swim.

He drank up all the water!
He ate up all the soap!
And now he’s home sick in bed,
With bubbles in his throat!

Bubble bubble bubble
Bubble bubble POP!
Bubble bubble bubble
Bubble bubble POP!

Repeat with tiny frog and giant frog.


Two Little Friends

Two little friends sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Run away Jack! Run away Jill!
Come back Jack. Come back Jill.

Two little friends sitting on a cloud.
One named soft and one named LOUD.
Run away soft! Run away loud!
Come back soft. Come back loud.

Two little friends sitting down below.
One named fast and one named slow.
Run away fast! Run away slow.
Come back fast! Come back slow.


Two Little Pigeons

Two little pigeons sittin’ on a hill
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Run away Jack, run away Jill.
Come back Jack, come back Jill.

Two little pigeons sittin’ on a cloud.
One named soft and one named loud.
Run away soft, run away loud.
Come back soft, come back loud.

Two little pigeons sittin’ down below.
One named fast and one named slow.
Run away fast, run away slow.
Come back fast, come back slow.


Two Little Llamas

Two little llamas sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Run away Jack! Run away Jill!
Come back Jack. Come back Jill.

Two little llamas sitting on a cloud.
One named soft and one named LOUD.
Run away soft! Run away loud!
Come back soft. Come back loud.

Two little llamas sitting down below.
One named fast and one named slow.
Run away fast! Run away slow.
Come back fast! Come back slow.


Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’re going to the moon.
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’ll get there very soon.

If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my rocket ship.
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
We’re going to the moon.

In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
BLAST OFF!

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