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Finger Play and action Rhymes for Toddlers

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Location: Indoor
Promotes: Fun & Games
How to play

How it Plays

"Tommy Thumb"


Tommy Thumb, Tommy Thumb, (tuck thumbs on both hands inside fingers)


Where are you?


Here I am, here I am, (pop up thumbs, one at a time)


How do you do ? (wiggle thumbs at each other)


Toddlers tend to enjoy hide-and-seek games. It's exciting to see something disappear and reassuring to see it come back again. In this game, Tommy Thumb hides and then returns in a surprise ending.


"Tea for Two"


Here's a cup (make cup with thumb and fingers of one hand)


And here's a cup (do the same with other hand)


And here's a pot of tea. (use first hand to make pot of tea with thumb for spout)


Pour a cup (pour tea and hand to your child)


And pour a cup (pour tea for yourself)


And have a sip with me! (pretend to sip)


Toddlers are just learning how to pretend, and much of their early fantasy play consists of imitating what you do: talking on the telephone, teetering around in your shoes, pretending to prepare a meal. In "Tea for Two," your toddler will delight in pretending to share a spot of tea with you.


"Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear"


Teddy bear, teddy bear,


Turn around. (twirl slowly with arms out to side)


Teddy bear, teddy bear,


Touch the ground. (touch ground)


Teddy bear, teddy bear,


Show your shoes. (point toe forward)


Teddy bear, teddy bear


Say skidoo! (jump up)


Teddy bear, teddy bear


Sit in chairs. (squat)


Teddy bear, teddy bear


Go up stairs. (pretend to climb stairs)


Teddy bear, teddy bear


Turn out the light. (pretend to turn out the light)


Teddy bear, teddy bear


Say good-night! (rest head on hands and pretend to go to sleep)


(Traditional, Great Britain, North America, adapted)


Now that your toddler is walking, she's ready for plenty of action. The choreography in this rhyme resembles a simple dance routine. She'll love the chance to move her body in new and different ways as she pretends to be Teddy Bear, turning around, touching the ground, and finally going to bed. Good-night!


"Open, Shut Them"


Open, shut them, (open hands, then close them)


Open, shut them,


Give a little clap, clap, clap. (clap hands three times)


Open, shut them,


Open, shut them,


Put them in your lap, lap, lap. (pat lap three times)


Creep them, creep them, (creep fingers up body to chin)


Creep them, creep them,


Right up to your chin, chin, chin. (tap chin with forefinger three times)


Open wide your little mouth (open mouth)


But do not put them in! (take finger quickly away from mouth)


(Traditional, North America)


Toddlers are learning about concepts like open and close, off and on, up and down. This classic finger play connects actions to words and makes this new understanding concrete.


"Ring Around a Rosy"


Ring around a rosy, (join hands and turn in a circle)


Pocket full of posies,


Ashes, ashes,


We all fall down! (drop to the floor)


(Traditional, Great Britain, North America)


Your toddler is becoming more social and looking for activities that involve other children. This classic circle game offers a wonderful opportunity for group play as children join hands, circle round, fall down together, and giggle. Even without a crowd it can be fun; invite your toddler to start practicing with you!


Learning and Growing

A toddler is just starting to realize there's a bigger world beyond the one she knows with you. Simple, interactive group games encourage her to participate as she begins her first steps toward socialization. Sharing songs and finger play also helps her understand about turn taking. Over time, she learns to recognize the association between actions and words.


Learning and Growing
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