Spring Fingerplays for Children

Michele Meleen
Contributor: Donna Cosmato
Girl with hands raised doing fingerplays

Spring fingerplays for children are excellent teaching tools for exercising memory and recall skills. They can also be an awesome transition activity and an entertaining way to fill a few spare minutes during the day.

5 Spring Fingerplays for Preschoolers

Fingerplays are activities that use the fingers to illustrate parts of the story, such as One Potato, Two Potato, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, or Monkeys on the Bed. They are fun spring activities for everyone to enjoy, not only the kids. Liven up your story time or play time with these new fingerplays featuring familiar tunes and simple hand motions.

Ants Marching Fingerplay

Spoken rhythmically with a brief pause between phrases, this fingerplay celebrates the discovery of a line of ants.

One ant, two ants, three ants, four (Hold up the correct amount of fingers on one hand as you say each number.)
Five ants, six ants, seven ants, more! (On "more," hold both hands, palms up, in front of you as if asking a question.)
Eight ants, nine ants, ten ants found, (On "found," reach both hands, fingers pointing down, to touch the ground.)
Marching, marching into the ground! (Make all ten fingers march on the ground in front of you.)

Young boy counting on his fingers

Little Squirmy Wormy Fingerplay

Little Squirmy Wormy is a funny fingerplay that is recited to the spoken tune of Little Miss Muffet.

Little Squirmy Wormy slithered through the dirt, (Stick out your pointer finger on one hand and make it slither in front of you.)
Digging and digging his tunnel. (Point your finger toward the ground and move it down with each beat.)
Along came a child whose digging was wild, (Using both hands, pretend to wildly dig dirt on the ground.)
And frightened Squirmy Wormy away! (Stick out your pointer finger on one hand and make it slither until your hand is behind your back.)

Making the little squirmy worm slither

Budding Flower Fingerplay

Using the familiar tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, the Budding Flower fingerplay uses both hands and lots of movement.

Open, open, little bud, (Make a fist with one hand in front of your chest and open it each time you say "open" then close it when you say "little bud.")
Time to grow out of the mud. (Pump your closed fist upward on each beat of this line until your arm is extended over your head.)
Up above the grass so high, (Open your fist with arm extended overhead and wave it from side to side.)
Where the bees go buzzing by. (Flutter your fingers and move your hand in a zig-zag pattern in front of you.)
Open, open, little bud,
Time to grow out of the mud.

Child raising hands up

Warming Sun Fingerplay

The classic tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat is used with this fingerplay to celebrate the sun's warmth in spring.

Sun, Sun, Sun come out, (Touch your fingertips together to create a circle with your hands and move it upwards with each beat.)
Help the flowers grow. (Place both hands face-up in front of you and raise them up several times.)
Warm them, warm them, warm them, warm them, (Hug yourself and rub your arms with your hands.)
Blossoms shout "Hello!" (On "blossoms," hold your right arm up with elbow bent and wide palm facing out and do the same with your left on "shout." Reach both arms, with hands open wide, above your head on "Hello!")

Five Year Old Girl Hugging Herself

Three Little Butterflies Fingerplay

Recited to the spoken tune of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, this fingerplay can be extended by your creativity to include numbers up to five or even ten.

Three little butterflies (Hold up three fingers on one hand.)
fluttering through the air, (Move your three fingers around as if fluttering.)
one found a flower (Open your left hand like a flower and move one finger from your right hand onto your open left palm.)
and stopped to snack there.
"That's not fair!" (Shake your pointer finger as if scolding.)
shouted the others with a glare, (Put your hands on your hips, tilt your head, and make a grumpy face.)
"No more snacking unless you share!" (Shake your pointer finger as if scolding.)

Two little butterflies (Hold up two fingers on one hand.)
fluttering through the air,
one found tree sap (Hold your left arm up straight as a tree and move one finger from your right hand onto your arm.)
and stopped to snack there.
"That's not fair!"
shouted the other with a glare,
"No more snacking unless you share!"

One little butterfly (Hold up one finger on one hand.)
fluttering through the air,
she found a fruit (Make a fist with your left hand as the fruit and move one finger from your right hand onto your fist.)
and stopped to snack there.
"That's not fair!"
shouted no one with a glare, (Look around curiously as if listening for a sound.)
"I'm all alone, so I don't have to share!" (Bring your hands to your mouth quickly as if gobbling up as much food as you can.)

Hispanic girl holding up three fingers

Tips for Teaching Fingerplays

Teaching new fingerplays to preschool children incorporates several skills and the ability to multi-task. Consider these tips when incorporating finger plays with children:

  • To create your own, start by coming up with a spring theme, then come up with a short text about the theme, and, finally, pair hand motions with the text.
  • Teach children the movements by demonstrating a few times and make sure to sing the song slowly.
  • For preschool children, learning the words first, and then tackling the fingerplay, can reduce confusion.
  • Enhance lessons about wind or rain by using fingerplays that encourage the children to imitate rain falling, wind blowing, or clouds swaying.
  • Incorporate fingerplays about seeds growing or flowers blooming in lessons about plants or gardens.
  • Depending on the age of the children and how much time you have for the activity, you may also encourage the kids to come up with their own fingerplays instead of simply teaching them one you made up or adapted from another source.
  • As you have children develop their own fingerplays about spring, encourage them to work in steps. You may even refrain from telling them at the beginning of the activity that it is going to be a fingerplay.
  • These teaching tools help children learn listening and verbal skills and the finger motions develop fine and gross motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination.

Spring Themes for Inspiration

Expand your library of fingerplays by exploring the many themes related to spring, like:

  • Plants
  • Baby animals
  • Butterflies and bugs
  • Weather
  • Easter
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Mud
  • Gardening
  • Birds

Extension Activities

Extend the fun of learning spring fingerplays by letting students perform them for their parents or other classes. Alternatively, use a camera or computer to record the fingerplay and then play it back for the kids' enjoyment. Depending on the age of the children for whom the plays are intended, you can vary the amount of freedom included in the activity. Older students can develop their own unique movements and create their own fingerplays based on springtime ideas and objects, which is also an exercise in creativity.

Spring Fingerplays for Children