Finger Rhymes

I loved “Eensy Weensy Spider” when I was young. I was amazed with how my mum worked her fingers to get the spider climb up the water sprout. Now with two young kids of my own, I too performed this age old favourite for them and it was always a hit.

I began to look beyond the English finger rhymes and discovered Chinese nursery finger rhymes. Like their English counterparts, the rhymes are easy to chant and more importantly incorporate the everyday life and culture of a Chinese. A necessity for my children to remember their roots.

Here are  my boys performing “包饺子” aka “making dumplings” – a staple dish in northern China.

I taught them the above rhyme from this book.

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It shows step by step instructions with illustrations. Moreover, it comes with a DVD demonstration of each and every rhyme. I like that the book informs you which finger muscle group you are working for each rhyme and categorizes each rhyme into different age group. However, I think the age indicated is the age to introduce the rhyme to your child and not when your child is able to perform the finger rhyme independently. Although it was stated that the rhyme in the video was suitable for ages 1 to 2 years old in the book, Xxm can only perform it independently at 39 months.

Finger rhymes:
1. Exposes the child to phonemic awareness for early language development
2. Practices muscular coordination & finger dexterity
3. Activates both left and right brains
4. Awareness of subject matter e.g. in the video above, my boys were reciting the steps to make a dumpling
5. Encourages self expression

For parents, finger rhymes does not require any props – just you and your fingers for hours of endless fun. Read more about the benefits of finger rhymes or plays from here.

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