Rice Fingerplay Rhymes

Rice Story - Gopher Fingerplay 1

A Bit About Fingerplay

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Fingerplay is often presented in early childhood classrooms. They are story-sketches because there is  imagery involved in fingerplay but it is usually not a fully developed story. For this reason, finger play is great for toddlers and for children who  have not yet developed long attention spans.

Story-sketches are the first step to help children develop an ever increasing ability to comprehend symbolic representations. In time, after exposure to many story-sketches, children will have the capacity to string more complex ideas and images together. Consequently, they will understand and appreciate longer and more intricate stories.

Holding images in the head requires a lot of brain power, and manipulating these mental images in complex ways requires a good deal of neural networking. The brain workout achieved through storytelling is important not only to develop imaginative thinking, but also to develop abstract and complex thinking. Therefore, the story-sketch serves as a good beginning exercise to prime the brain for more complex image making to come.

Fingerplay in Rice

The following fingerplay stories were created especially for rice.

Fingerplay 1: Gophers

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Five Little Gophers Digging a Hole
They’re Digging and Chomping and Out of Control
Five Little Gophers Peek Up And See
A Cat Comes Near and Away They Flee

Five Little Gophers Digging a Hole
They’re Digging and Chomping and Out of Control
Five Little Gophers Peek Up And See
The Rain Pounds Down and Away They Flee

Five Little Gophers Digging a Hole
They’re Digging and Chomping and Out of Control
Five Little Gophers Peek Up And See
A Coyote Jumps Out and Away They Flee

Five Little Gophers Digging a Hole
They’re Digging and Chomping and Out of Control
Five Little Gophers Peek Up And See
A Hawk Circles ‘Round and Away They Flee

Five Little Gophers Digging Five Holes
They’re Eating My Plants, Those Little Scoundrels!

Five Little Gophers Peek Up And See
One, Two, Three, Four, Five! I caught them!

Here is a video of the gopher fingerplay in rice:

Note: An Introduction will Make it Personal

Before starting a new fingerplay, you might introduce the story idea with a personal anecdote. For example, for the gopher fingerplay, I might tell the children that I have gopher holes everywhere in my yard. But I have never once seen a gopher because they are such expert hiders. Or I might relate how my sister had tried to grow plants at her house but the gophers would eat every single one of them up. In fact, if you sat on her porch, you could sometimes watch the plants being sucked down into the ground, disappearing one by one before your eyes.

If you don’t have a personal story, consider giving a short introduction about gophers, such as describing their appearance, their habits, or how farmers have a tough time growing plants when gophers are around.

And then again, you may choose not to give an introduction if you feel it would break up the flow of activities.

Fingerplay 2: Ocean Waves

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The waves of the ocean lap on the shore.
Now receding, now crashing, with a great big roar.
One wave, two waves, three waves, four.
The waves of the ocean lap on the shore.

 

Here is a video of the ocean waves fingerplay in rice:

(coming soon)

Fingerplay 3: Dolphins

BOTTLENOSED DOLPHIN
Mommy dolphins cruising the deep blue ocean.
Flipping, splashing, what commotion!
Baby dolphins ride on the crests of waves,
Then circle back to their enclave.

 

 

This particular fingerplay rhyme I chose to do as a song. You can, of course, just say it if you feel more comfortable.

Here is a video of the dolphin fingerplay in rice:

(coming soon)

See an introduction to rice as a sensory experience for children:

An Introduction to Rice Play: A Soothing Sensory Experience

Several years ago, when I first put out several pounds of uncooked rice onto a black cloth for my niece ...
Read More

An Introduction to Rice Play: A Soothing Sensory Experience

IMG_1962.jpgSeveral years ago, when I first put out several pounds of uncooked rice onto a black cloth for my niece to explore, she plunged into the rice with her hands, then her arms. She felt it between her toes, then on her legs. Soon enough, she was laying down on the rice, covering herself with the cloth, rolling in it and looking quite content. Rice has such a pleasing and soothing feel, it is the perfect sensory material for all ages.

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For classrooms, placing several pounds of uncooked rice in a dark-colored bin (or any bin lined with dark cloth) provides a nice visual contrast and keeps the rice contained. If you choose to go all out and purchase a lot of rice, you can put it in a larger bin that the children can sit in, like a little sandbox – or rather, a ricebox.IMG_1811.jpg

Rice by itself is wonderful. Try it without adding anything and see what happens. Older children will quickly create images in the rice: volcanoes, monsters, fountains, etc.

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Younger children will just enjoy the feel of the rice and explore it for its sensory qualities.

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In time, you may choose to add little figurines or natural objects to the rice to see what stories these might inspire.

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This is a bit of dialogue between my niece and nephew when I took these pictures.

Niece: Look, I’m making a beach. An elephant has found the beach.

Nephew: My elephant found a beach.

Niece: The elephant got buried in the sand at the beach. It’s raining and the elephant is unhappy.

Nephew: It’s raining….. It’s fun doing this.

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Nephew to Niece: What’s happening over there?

Niece: The elephants one day crossed the town. “We are friends and will never lose each other.” One person saw them. “We must make the road here clear. Then with tail and heel we make the line.”

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When you are ready, tell your own rice stories! For large groups, you will probably need to spread the rice on a large cloth instead of a bin so it is visible to everyone.


Note: As with all materials, teachers and parents will need to establish some limits with rice. In order to keep the rice within the confines of the cloth or bin when children play, you might consider querying the children in a group discussion first, “Before I let you explore the rice, I want you to watch me carefully and try to figure out how I am able to keep every grain of rice in the bin (or on the cloth).” Demonstrate for them various hand motions in rice that you use in your stories. Then challenge them to show you that they can also do it. Children can volunteer to demonstrate one by one in the group setting with full focus and awareness placed on this task. They usually like doing this. You will probably have to revisit these limits from time to time either with individual children or with the group.

Rice is a great medium for stories that have different settings because you can quickly form the rice to make a mountain, a river, a lake, waves of the ocean, etc. Explore the rice yourself to see what you can come up with! IMG_1963.jpg

Check out rice stories and rice fingerplays:

Rice Fingerplay Rhymes

A Bit About Fingerplay Fingerplay is often presented in early childhood classrooms. They are story-sketches because there is  imagery involved ...
Read More