The Little Girl (or Boy), Ready for Bed is my all-time favorite fingerplay. Three-year-olds can master the movements, but I often will introduce it to children as young as eighteen months, as their language begins to develop beyond single words. I love to see how this simple little hands-on activity captures children’s attention, involves them and, yes, soothes them as they engage in the narrative.  Once children become familiar with this story that their fingers enact, they often improvise on it. They will readily talk about how it relates to the routines of their own lives and engage in discussions with their teachers, parents, and peers.

Fingerplays like this are among the first steps that children take in their journey towards literacy. Before children can “crack the code” of literacy, they need to have a sense of a narrative portrayed symbolically. The way that their hands and spoken words symbolically advance the story represents the way that a story is advanced through the symbols of written words.

Have fun with this marvelous music/play activity and…

Keep singing!

From The Archive

The Roly-Poly Caterpillar: This “Featured Song” is actually a large-motor ⁄ finger-play activity. No singing necessary to have fun with the Roly-Poly Caterpillar. I use the Roly-Poly Caterpillar with children as young as 18 months and as old as 8 years. At that early stage in development, toddlers are just beginning to master these large-motor movements, but they are all eyes and ears, following the narrative and the sequence of the activity. Many are already familiar with the story of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has a similar narrative. Preschoolers and older children are able to “walk” their fingers into the “corner” and will sometimes improvise the narrative.

I often collect the rope as demonstrated in the video after the children have passed its length around our singing circle.

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