This Little Piggy...


Remember the joy of playing "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home"? Fingerplay, footplay and rhyming action songs are multisensory learning experiences that help build a solid foundation for later learning.


Fingerplays are short chants or stories that rhyme. The words correspond with hand and finger movements that match the words with actions. Fingerplays and action rhymes have been passed down for generations to teach children counting, colors, rhyming and more.

Here are just a few of the benefits of fingerplay:

  • As children listen to and memorize new chants or rhymes, they develop pre-reading, memory and comprehension skills.
  • Fingerplay boosts oral language skills and promotes healthy brain development.
  • Fingerplay teaches children that fingers can represent numbers.
  • Fingerplay gives children an opportunity to practice finger isolation (hiding or holding some fingers down).
  • Fingerplay fosters the development of bilateral coordination (the ability to coordinate both sides of the body at the same time in a controlled and organized manner).

Rhymes, songs and movement are tried-and-true teaching tools for children who are learning to count. When we use fingerplay, we help children develop a rudimentary understanding of addition and subtraction as they raise or lower their fingers. These patterns help lay the foundation for early math prediction and reasoning skills.

Songs such as "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" or "The Wheels on the Bus" help children develop body awareness and coordination, hand-eye coordination and foot-eye coordination. They also promote the development of fine-motor skills, which are essential for tasks such as holding a pencil when children enter elementary school.

Fingerplays for toddlers don’t need to be longer than three or four lines. “This Little Piggy” or “Round and Round the Garden” are great choices for early learners. Do you remember any of these other fingerplays?

  • "Five Green and Speckled Frogs"
  • "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed"
  • "Here's the Church, Here's the Steeple"
  • "Open Shut Them"
  • "Pat-a-Cake"
  • "Where is Thumbkin?"

Why knew that learning could be so much fun?

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