Pat-a-cake; The Itsy Bitsy Spider ... and ....?
November 20, 2007 5:45 AM   Subscribe

Pat-a-cake; The Itsy Bitsy Spider ... and ....? Can you suggest some traditional rhymes/games with motions like the two above that I can play with my 16 month old son. Preferably things that can be done lying down (so Head Shoulder Knees and Toes won't work well).
posted by anastasiav to Society & Culture (29 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Check if your local library has a Mother Goose Time or a lap-sit program; we do a lot of these.

See the little mousie, climbing up the stair (climb fingers up arm)
Looking for a wam place -- there, oh, there!! (tickle baby's armpit)

Round and round the garden goes the teddy bear (circle fingers on palm)
One step, two step (climb fingers up arm)
Tickle you under there! (tickle baby's armpit)

Here is baby's ball, big and soft and round (circle arms like a ball)
Here is baby's hammer, see how it can pound (pretend to hammer)
Here is baby's trumpet, toodle-oodle-oo (form trumpet with fingers)
Here is baby's favorite game, it's called (cover eyes with hands) peekaboo!
posted by Jeanne at 5:56 AM on November 20, 2007

Oh, and this one you can do with the baby sitting on your lap:

(bounce knees up and down for 'riding')
Ride a horse to Boston
Ride a horse to Lynn
Keep on riding, baby
Don't fall in! (spread your knees and gently 'dip' baby)
posted by Jeanne at 5:58 AM on November 20, 2007

The Wheels on the Bus might be good. You could improvise movements that would work while lying down.
posted by jvilter at 6:01 AM on November 20, 2007

My wife took our daughter to a Kindermusik class that had a lot of that sort of thing; I imagine there are other similar classes out there.
posted by TedW at 6:03 AM on November 20, 2007

Here are Grandma's glasses (two "okay" signs placed against eyes)
Here is Grandma's hat (mime small hat, holding brim primly)
Grandma folds her hands like this
And puts them on her lap.

Here are Grandpa's glasses (more like binoculars)
Here is Grandpa's hat
Grandpa folds his arms like this
And takes a little nap (tilt sideways and snore softly).
posted by tempest in a teapot at 6:12 AM on November 20, 2007

This Little Piggy?
posted by saladin at 6:15 AM on November 20, 2007

Here's a link to Wheels on the Bus, complete with descriptions of the gestures.
posted by jvilter at 6:17 AM on November 20, 2007

No, HERE is the link to Wheels on the Bus. D'oh.
posted by jvilter at 6:19 AM on November 20, 2007

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
(open hands on 'open', shut on 'shut')
Give yourself a clap clap clap.
(clap on the 'claps')
Open shut them
Open shut them
Lay them in your lap lap lap.

Creep them crawl them
Creep them crawl them
(crawl your fingers, a-la itsy-bitsy spider, around your body)
Right up to your chin chin chin.
(right up to your chin chin chin)
Open up your little mouth but

don't put them in!
(this last line is said quickly and in a different cadence than the rest of the song, and you pull your hands away from your mouth quickly. Gets big larffs, every time)
posted by dirtdirt at 6:47 AM on November 20, 2007

Another version of Jeanne's, with the bouncing and the falling in:

Trot trot to Boston,
Trot trot to Lynn,
Be careful when you get there
that you don't fall in!

Hickory Dickory Dock, the four verses version. You can run your hand up the baby like a mouse, hold up the right number of fingers for the numbers, etc. It goes:

Hickory Dickory Dock,
the mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one [you can clap once for 1, too]
The mouse ran down.
Hickory Dickory dock.

Verses 2-4:

The clock struck 2 (clap 2x if you want, but it kind of messes with the rhythm)
The mouse said "Boo!" (Flash your fingers open from fists)

The clock struck 3
The mouse said "Wheee!" (move your hands like they're sliding down a slide)

The clock struck 4
The mouse said, "No more!" (open your hands, palm up, and shrug)
posted by not that girl at 6:52 AM on November 20, 2007

Where is thumbkin?
posted by waterlily at 6:59 AM on November 20, 2007

My 12-month old is wild for the songs suggested by dirtdirt and waterlily.

Another favorite is "Five Little Monkeys" (you know the one, "Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head..." I just count down using my fingers, and sometimes I pantomime a telephone.

On Laurie Berkner's "Under a Shady Tree" CD, there is a song called "Drive My Car" that works well with hand movements (I think the liner notes even suggest some specific ones). The song is available for download on Amazon, among other places, and a bonus is that it's pretty long and involved so it seems to keep kids' attention.

Would you be willing to incorporate a piece of fabric for peekaboo? If so, a couple of standards from Gymboree are:

Where oh where oh where is baby (or Mommy) -- put cloth over baby or Mommy's face
Where oh where oh where is baby (or Mommy)
Where oh where oh where is baby (or Mommy)
Way down yonder in the paw paw patch! -- pull cloth off with a flourish

Jack in the box, all quiet and still -- cloth over baby or Mommy's face
Won't you come out? Of course I will! -- pull cloth off with a flourish

Also, here's one I found to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot:

I'm a little airplane: (raise arms to side at shoulder height)
I can fly, (turn right arm in front of you for propeller)
Here is my throt-tle; (reach hand out to instrument panel)
Give me a try. (push throttle in)
When I get all revved up (make engine noises)
Then I fly (keep moving forward)
Off the run-way (keep moving forward)
To the sky! (go up on tiptoe running forward)
posted by justonegirl at 7:24 AM on November 20, 2007

I meant to say also, that the Gymboree-produced book "Baby Play" has a ton of finger plays, simple songs, and other basic games that can be played with a child who is lying down. I found mine at Barnes & Noble, but you can also get it in the Gymboree play and music centers.
posted by justonegirl at 7:25 AM on November 20, 2007

Oh yeah, and don't forget Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
posted by justonegirl at 7:26 AM on November 20, 2007

Let's Go On A Bear Hunt has always been a favorite of the little kids I've played with. Oh, and "hunt" in this case is more in the context of looking for than shooting and killing.
posted by kimdog at 7:29 AM on November 20, 2007

One good and easy one goes:

Two Little Dicky Birds
Sitting on a wall (hold up index fingers on each hand)
One named Peter (move one hand forward)
The other named Paul (then the other)
Fly away Peter (put first hand behind back)
Fly away Paul (other hand behind back)
Come back Peter
Come back Paul

Barefoot Books puts out a nice volume called "Playtime Rhymes for Little People" which is full of more examples. Be warned, my 21-month-old has requested it daily for the last 6 months.

Also, look for "finger plays"
posted by libraryhead at 7:29 AM on November 20, 2007

Justonegirl reminds me of another "Five little monkeys":

Five little monkeys, swinging in a tree (swing hand)
Teasing Mr. Alligator, can't catch me, you can't catch me! (point with index finger to 'tease')
Along comes Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be... (put palms together, snake back and forth)
And SNAPPED! (snap arms together) that monkey right out of that tree.
posted by Jeanne at 7:49 AM on November 20, 2007

Five little ducks went out to play
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said, "quack quack quack"
And four little ducks came running back

Repeat (Four/three)
...(omitting the links I already put in)...
One little duck went out to play
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said, "quack, quack, quack"
But no little ducks came running back
Mama duck got scared
She yelled "QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!"
(very fast)
And five little ducks came running back

This is not ASL - this is Pdgin Signed English, but it goes a long way to kinesthetically highlight a kiddie song. As a side note, I have learned regional variations of these signs so they look like they have a strange accent to me. I'd never actually sign none, but just shake my head while I signed little-ducks-run-return. You can also instead of signing hill-far, you could pantomime rolling hills with your hands and then put your flat hand, thumb to forehead (shading your eyes) and pretend to look far away.

I can't say enough good things about Signing Time (which when we started with an 8 month old wasn't really geared for the young). There is now a Baby Signing Time, which I have not yet seen, but intend to get for my infant son.
posted by plinth at 9:05 AM on November 20, 2007

In Hebrew school, they taught us this one song, David Melech Israel, which had an accompanying "hand jive." I can't really describe the motions, but youtube is your friend...
posted by Afroblanco at 9:10 AM on November 20, 2007

(not geared for the very young)
posted by plinth at 9:10 AM on November 20, 2007

There's a book called Be Prepared that has lots of games to play with young 'uns.
posted by mark7570 at 9:11 AM on November 20, 2007

Here is the church,
Here is the steeple,
Open the doors,
And see all the people.

A high school friend's version using the same basic hand gestures (she swore her mother taught her this one):
Here's the little piggy,
See his snout,
Slit him open,
And guts fall out.

posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:36 AM on November 20, 2007

Best answer: BTW, googling "finger rhymes" brought up a bunch of links.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:36 AM on November 20, 2007

My family sang In a Cabin in the Woods. The link is to lyrics, music and motions. I just taught it to my friend's 2-year old and she loves it.
posted by kamikazegopher at 9:50 AM on November 20, 2007

Oh, and we only did the first verse. The second and third thing seemed sorta weird to me.
posted by kamikazegopher at 9:51 AM on November 20, 2007

Little Bunny Foo Foo has hand gestures my way, but I don't know if they're widely known. They entail a hopping bunny represented by ftwo fingers, scooping up, bopping on the head (one hand on the other), floating fairy wing hands descending and finger wagging when the good fairy is doing her thing, and waggly ooky fingers for "goon." It's mostly just your basic kid pantomime.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:26 AM on November 20, 2007

Here is 5 little speckled frogs:
5 little speckled frogs (5 fingers)
Sat on a speckled log (show opposite forearm, which represents the log. place the hand with 5 frogs (fingers) up behind forearm)
Eating the most delicious bugs YUM YUM (bounce raised fingers up and down)
One jumped into the pool (make a diving motion. One finger (bouncing frog) dives over the forearm and into the invisible pool)
Where it is nice and cool
Now there are 4 green speckled frogs (hold up 4 fingers)
Count down 4, 3, 2, 1 speckled frogs. At the end there are no more speckled frogs.
posted by crazycanuck at 3:21 PM on November 20, 2007

This is a slight variation on how I learned it, but close enough:

The Crocodile Song.
posted by naoko at 9:10 PM on November 20, 2007

My nieces taught me Baby Bumble Bee
This link even has a little recorded clip of the tune.
posted by BoscosMom at 3:00 PM on November 21, 2007

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