Using Fingerplays for Educational Purposes

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How sad it is to me when I am speaking at a kindergarten conference and teachers tell me they “Don’t have time” for fingerplays anymore!  What?  I understand the pressures of the trickle down curriculum, but honestly, fingerplays are an important connection to all the cognitive areas.

The use of fingerplays (child controls puppets) develops:
     1. motor control;
     2. self-expression;
     3. a strong foundation for building math skills
        (in fingerplays with numbers and counting)
     4. self-control; and
     5. control of fine motor finger skills for writing

Fingerplays also meet the directive of child-directed activity.  Once you introduce a song, you leave the props for the children to then make it their own.

Here’s a suggestion for the upcoming holiday this week:

Five Valentines
(Available on Songs at My Fingertips)

I have five valentines for Valentines Day
I have five valentines I can give away
The first is for mom; the second’s for dad.
When they get them, they’ll be glad.
Grandma and Grandpa, this third one’s for you.
Now I am left with only two.
For my teacher at school, I’ve said number four.
Now it’s time to give away one more.
This last valentine I’m going to send
Is for you, my very special friend. 


  •    Have children count as you put the hearts on your fingers.  To keep them paying attention (and to introduce addition and subtraction), begin putting them on and then take one off or two off.  Put back on.  They giggle and get very challenged. 
  •    Discuss to whom you may give a valentine song.  Sing song. 
  •    Ask who was mentioned in song and to whom else we can give valentines.
  •    Make valentines!

Written by Maryann “Mar.” Harman

Listen to a clip from "Five Valentines" in the audio player, below.