nursery rhymes, finger plays and songs Preschool
Rhymes for Self and Family Themes




Alphabet Theme

Preschool action poems, fingerplays, nursery rhymes and songs that reinforce preschool children's sense of; identity, family, and self-esteem.  These early childhood education rhymes serve as a curriculum resource to teachers developing themes about family relationships and self-awareness.  They are easily included during circle and large group times. If you're looking for lesson plans go to:  Me & My Family Theme

The Rainbow Resource Room has lots of activity plans in the My Body Theme, the All About Me Theme, the Family Theme and the Health Theme which also has hand washing & tooth brushing activities.

Books about self and family are listed in Preschool Books Listed by Themes

Animal Rhymes

Counting and
Number Rhymes

Fingerplays, Action Poems, Songs and Nursery Rhymes

The words suggest the hand, body and finger movements

Community Helper Rhyme Theme

Insect and Bug Rhymes

Special Occasion

Transition  Time

Rhyme Theme

Click Here for Activity Central


Hands on Shoulders
Follow the actions 
described in each line

Hands on shoulders, 
hands on knees.
Hands behind you, 
if you please;
Touch your shoulders, 
now your nose, 
Now your hair and now your toes; 
Hands up high in the air,
Down at your sides, and touch your hair;
Hands up high as before, 
Now clap your hands, one-two-three-four!



My hands upon my head I'll place,
Upon my shoulders, on my face,
At my waist and by my side,
Then behind me they will hide.
Then I'll raise them way up high,
And let my fingers fly, fly, fly,
Then clap, clap, clap them--
One - Two - Three!
Now see how quiet they can be.

My Toothbrush
A self help rhyme

I have a little toothbrush
I hold it very tight
I brush my teeth each morning,
And then again at night
(preschoolers perform the actions)


Head and Shoulders

Touch each body part   with both hands and follow the action described.

Head and shoulders, knees and toes.
Knees and toes, knees and toes
Head and shoulders, knees and toes
Make your feet go stamp, stamp, stamp.

Nose and elbows, feet and waist
Feet and waist, feet and waist
Nose and elbows, feet and waist
Make your hands go clap, clap, clap.

My Head
Action Poem

This is the circle that is my head
  make large circle with both hands
This is my mouth with which words are said
  point to mouth
These are my eyes with which I see
  point to eyes
This is my nose that's a part of me
  point to nose
This is the hair that grows on my head
  point to hair
And this is my hat all pretty and red
  place hands on head, fingers pointing up and touching 

I Have Two Eyes

I have two eyes to see with,
I have two feet to run,
I have two hands to wave with,
And nose I have but one.
I have two ears to hear with,
And a tongue to say "Good day". 

   Body Parts
Repeat this rhyme many times, inserting a different child's name in the blank.
Body parts, body parts,
We've got more than a few.
We even have a few
I bet you never knew.
We can touch the ceiling,
Or even touch your shoe.
Now,__________ show us something
we can try and do.
This Is The Church
A fingerplay with interlocking fingers

This is the church,
(children hold hands down with fingers interlocked)
This is the steeple.
(Now put up both index fingers in the shape of a steeple)
Look inside.
(children turn hands over)
And see all the people.
(everybody wiggle fingers)

If You're Happy (or Sad)
Traditional Song

If you're happy and you know it clap you hands
  clap 2 times
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands
  clap 2 times
If you're happy and you know it then your face will surely show it
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands 
  clap 2 times
If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet...
...tap your head
...jump up and down.
  any action that is appropriate

Variation: substitute sad for happy with appropriate actions.

This Is The Way

This is the way we wash our hands,
Wash our hands, wash our 
This is the way we wash our hands
So early in the morning.
....Brush our teeth
...Comb our hair
...Give a hug etc.


Where is Thumbkin?
Where is Thumbkin?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you this morning?
Very well I thank you.
Run and play.  Run and play.

Where is Pointer
...Tall Man
...Ring Man
...the whole family

Five Fingers
A fingerplay

Five fingers on this hand.   hold up one hand
Five fingers on that: hold up the other hand
A dear little nose. point to nose
A mouth like a rose. point to mouth
Two cheeks so tiny and fat. point to each cheek
Two eyes, two ears point to each
And ten little toes; point to toes
That's the way the baby grows. 

Los Pollitos
Improvise a tune for this bilingual song / rhyme.
Los pollitos dicen:  pio, pio, pio.
Cuando tienen hambre;  cuando tienen frio.
La Gallina busca, el maiz y el trigo.
Les de la comida, y les presta abrigo.
Bajo su dos alas acurucaditos hasta el otro dia duermen los pollitos.

Baby children are crying:  pie, pie, pie.
Mama, we are hungry;  Mama, we are cold.
Mama brings them wheat;  Mama brings them corn,
She will feed them dinner; 
She will keep them warm.

For an entire Spanish Rhyme Theme go to the Rainbow Resource Room

Let the words describe the actions

Here's a ball for baby, big and soft and round
Here is baby's hammer, see how he can pound.
Here's the baby's music, clapping, clapping so
Here's the baby's soldiers, standing in a row.
Here's the big umbrella to keep the baby dry
And here is baby's cradle, to rock the baby bye. 

Open, Shut Them
Traditional fingerplay

Open, shut them, Open, shut them,
Give a little clap.
Open, shut them, Open, shut them,
Put them in you lap.
Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them,
Right up to your chin, chin, chin
Open wide your little mouth
But do not put them in.


Johnny Johnny Jingles
Johnny Johnny Jingles
Jumped out of bed
Brushed his teeth and washed his face,
And combed his tousled head,
He put his clothes on carefully
His shoes he neatly tied,
Then he went to breakfast,
And sat by his mothers side.

The Farmer In The Dell
Traditional Song

The farmer in the dell
The farmer in the dell
Heigh Ho! the Derry O!
The farmer in the dell

2. The farmer takes the wife
3.  The wife takes the child
4.  The child takes the nurse
5.  The nurse takes the dog
6.  The dog takes the cat
7.  The cat takes the rat
8.  The rat takes the cheese
9.  The cheese stands alone.


Ready for School
Perform the actions that the words suggest.

When I get ready to come to school,
I jump right out of bed,
I wash my face, brush my teeth,
Pull my clothes over my head,
I run down stairs, drink my milk,
And eat my breakfast so slow,
Then I wave good-bye as I walk down the street
I'm so happy (smile) that I can go.

A Very Nice Place

The fish lives in the brook   palms together tightly and wiggle  forward 

The bird lives in the tree  bend forearms at elbows and extend them upwards, cup hands and spread them open But homes are the very nicest place
For a little girl (boy) like me.    Point to self
Easy fingerplay

This is a next for Mr. Bluebird  cup both hands
This is a hive for Mrs. Bee fists together
This is a hole for bunny rabbit  fingers
And this is a house for me         finger tips together for a roof peak 

Hokey  Pokey
In a circle

You put your right hand in
You put your right hand in
You put your right hand in
And shake it all about,
You do the Hokey Pokey  wiggle
And you turn yourself about,
That's what it's all about.

Continue by putting in all the other parts of the body, and finish up with your whole self!

  Point to the Right

Use both arms to point for all the movements.
Point to the right of me. 
Point to the left of me.
Point up above me.
Point down below.
Right, left, up.
Increase speed in  pointing
And down so slow.
 Decrease speed.

A Family Fingerplay

This is a family    hold up one hand, fingers spread
Let's count them and see, 
How many there are,
And who they can be    count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This is the mother    touch pointer finger
Who loves everyone
And this is the father   touch big finger
Who is lots of fun.

This is my sister    touch ring finger
She helps and she plays,
And this is the baby    touch little finger
He's growing each day.

But who is this one?    touch thumb
He's out there alone,
Why it's Jackie, the dog,
And he's chewing a bone.   wiggle thumb.

Family Items

These are Mother's knives and forks
  interlock as in praying fingers and lift them slightly
And this is our dining table
 lower fingers keeping them interlocked, straighten wrist  to form a flat surface
This is Sister's looking glass
  form a circle by touching thumbs and index finger
And this is the baby's cradle
  cup hands together to form cradle.

Grandmother's  Glasses
These are Grandmother's glasses
  make circles around each eye with fingers
This is Grandmother's cap
  hold fingers interlocked over head
This is the way she folds her hands
  fold hands
And lays them in her lap
  lay hands in lap. 
Lots of activities and lesson plans in the  Me and My Family Theme

The Rainbow Resource Room has lots of activity plans in the My Body Theme, the All About Me Theme, the Family Theme and the Health Theme which also has hand washing & tooth brushing activities.

Books about self and family are listed in
Preschool Books Listed by Themes

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nursery rhymes, finger plays and songs