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We often have short activities in a class that we like to call “Fingerplay.”
Fingerplays are short poems, verses, chants or stories that rhyme. The lyrics correspond to hand movements and pair the words with actions. Fingerplays and action rhymes have been shaped and passed down through generations by the caregivers of history; parents, grandparents and teachers. They have been used to teach counting, colors, rhyming, and other language structures, and also help children sharpen their memory through imitation and repetition. They also encourage children to match words with physical actions. You may remember finger plays like The Itsy-Bitsy Spider or Johnny Whoops!
Fingerplays, footplays and action rhymes are simple, fun, and all children love them – from the smallest of babies to the early elementary aged child. However, did you realise just how many educational benefits they provide?
Fingerplays and action rhymes offer a multisensory approach to learning, engaging multiple senses – visual, auditory, touch and movement. They build language and speech skills, gross and fine motor skills, coordination, body awareness, rhythmic proficiency, social skills and auditory discrimination.
These games offer children learning experiences that help to build solid foundations for learning.
Exploring rhythm and wordplay with fingerplays will introduce your child to the sounds in spoken language. This develops phonemic awareness – the ability to segment and manipulate the sounds – a key component of reading readiness. When children sing, listen and act in response to songs and fingerplays, they increase their vocabulary and develop listening and comprehension skills. Fingerplays help children practice speaking their language. Repeating phrases and words encourages the shaping of vowels and consonants in an enjoyable way.
Try to make them a part of your everyday routine and have fun whist helping your child’s development in so many ways!
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