Interactive Songs and Fingerplays

by Lee Scott, Goddard School Educational Advisory Board Member
Kindergarten student dancing with an instrument in classroom

Interactive songs and fingerplays are part of every infant, toddler and preschool teacher’s repertoire. If you think back, I bet you can name a few such as, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “The Wheels on the Bus.” Several parents have reached out to us and asked where they can find good interactive songs and when they should start singing these with their child. 

The time to start is anytime. Interactive songs and fingerplays can start as soon as your infant is born. Singing, as well as talking and reading, support your child’s brain development, and this is especially important in the first 1,000 days. It’s also a great tool to help increase bonding with your child. The interactive songs help you to hold eye contact, view facial expressions and connect with your child. Research from the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child found that “when an infant or young child babbles, gestures or cries, and an adult responds appropriately with eye contact, words or a hug, neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain that support the development of communication and social skills.” Singing simple songs supports these interactions. 

Repeating the songs over and over also supports language, working memory and social-emotional development. Who knew these funny little songs could do so much? Think about what “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” (and “three, four, shut the door”) teaches — math, sequencing, self-care and more. These simple chants and songs are powerful learning tools. 

Here are three of my favorite resources my colleagues at The Goddard School® have shared with me to help you get started: 

You can also make up your own. Sing about what you are doing as you feed or bathe your child. The most important thing is to enjoy the fun and giggles with your little one. 

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