Poems and Fingerplays

There are so many valid, important reasons to use a lot of poems and fingerplays with young children.  First of all, they are interactive and fun, they help get children’s attention and participation and keep them engaged.   Poems and fingerplays are also great ways to expose children to rhyming and new vocabulary.  Some fingerplays encourage counting, or counting backward.

We all know that different children learn through a variety of styles, and you can present poems and fingerplays different ways too.  Sometimes you might just chant off a poem, encouraging listening or echoing back; which is great for auditory learners.  You might add physical movements – whole body movements, or hand and finger movements as you recite the poems; that suits kinesthetic learners.  I also love acting out poems and nursery rhymes – or having 5 children stand up and sit down one at a time with a count down rhyme.

I found the easiest way to keep most children engaged and participating with simple poems and rhymes is to include pictures.  When you allow the children to hold and manipulate the pictures as you recite the poems you are incorporating auditory, visual and kinesthetic styles, and the kids love it!

One of my favorite sources for clipart is DJ Inkers.  If you are not familiar with their great products please check them out at http://www.djinkers.com.  Most of the clipart I am sharing on this post are copyright by Dianne J. Hook.  I know you will love her pictures too!

photo 2 (7)

Here is a book I made for my grandchildren that holds pictures to go with a bunch of different rhymes.

photo 1 (10)

I printed off a copy of each poem and pictures to go along with them.  I bought a 1 1/2 inch binder and these clear plastic sleeves.  These probably would not hold up if a classroom of kids were taking the pictures in and out, but it works great for a family.  When I used these at school I laminated the pictures and kept each poem along with the pictures in a 9 x 13 inch manilla envelope.  For my grandchildren I put the poem into one plastic sleeve, and the cut out pictures into another.

photo 1 (6)

photo (19)

I cut small pieces of magnetic tape (from JoAnn’s or Michael’s) on the back of each piece.  If you are more comfortable with a flannelboard instead of a magnet board, you might put a small piece of sandpaper on the back of each piece and that works great too!

photo 3 (5)

You can use a large pan or cookie sheet as a magnet board too.

photo 2 (8)


Here is the cover I put into the clear cover on the outside of the binder.  I have made these books for several families and usually put the child’s name on the cover.

Here are some of the poems I included:

5 Little snomen fat

5 snowmen2

5 snowmen1

You could also laminate these pictures and call on 5 children to hold the snowmen.  I put the sun on a tongue depressor – or made a larger one on a paint stick.  When we recite the part that says “out came the sun and melted one” a child holding the sun touches the snowman, then we removed that snowman from the magnet board, or if kids were holding them – that child sat down.

We often made a project by folding paper to make a pocket and cutting out 5 snowmen and a sun.  The children could keep their snowmen in the “snow pocket” and act out the poem at home.

Five Monkeys



More monkeys



Five Green Frogs

frog pic1

frog pic2

Five Ducks

5 Duck pics


hive pic


Here are a few more poems that I enjoy doing with children, but I didn’t use pictures with these – we just did the motions!

Tommy Thumbs

Ten Fingers

Open shut

Grandma's glasses

Crackers and Crumbs

shapesI had songs about shapes that I shared on another post, and used these simple shapes to go along with those songs.

Coming soon – Nursery Rhymes!

Thank you to Dianne J. Hook and djinkers for allowing me to share their wonderful clipart, please respect their copyright.  They allow me to share these images because I do not charge for any of the things I share with you.  They do offer a license at a reasonable price, please check them out at http://www.djinkers.com.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nurul Huda
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 23:09:21

    Reblogged this on Broken Phrases.


    Jan 12, 2014 @ 10:51:34

    awesome. I love the storage idea

    >________________________________ > From: Kindergarten Nana >To: mmmmward@rogers.com >Sent: Saturday, January 11, 2014 8:57:11 PM >Subject: [New post] Poems and Fingerplays > > > > WordPress.com >dbsenk posted: “There are so many valid, important reasons to use a lot of poems and fingerplays with young children. First of all, they are interactive and fun, they help get children’s attention and participation and keep them engaged. Poems and fingerplays are also” >


  3. Anne
    Jan 12, 2014 @ 17:09:33

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’ll do this for my sweet grands too…they will love it.


  4. KArla
    Sep 20, 2016 @ 21:30:13

    who is the author of the little fingers? please


    • dbsenk
      Sep 21, 2016 @ 22:31:23

      I’m so sorry but I don’t know the authors of any of the fingerplays – they are ones I have used and loved, or heard at library storytimes. Most have been around for a very long time. If anyone recognizes them, please let me know so I can give credit to the authors.


  5. Dessy
    Mar 31, 2017 @ 16:27:24

    Thanks, all of them are amazing!


  6. Trackback: Poems and Fingerplays - Kids Activities
  7. littlebookworms
    Dec 30, 2020 @ 10:23:52

    Love, Love, Love all of these poems. I love using them in my prek classroom and will be using some of them next week with the cookie sheet magnet boards! Thanks for sharing this post with ut!


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