My daughter has a vision impairment, and I wasn't sure if she'd even get anything out of finger plays... until her therapist suggested using brightly colored finger puppets - why didn't I think of that?!
Puppets are wonderful tools for learning and interaction. A puppet is an excellent distraction method, and can be easily transportable! Puppets can take the form of people, objects or animals, and can be made from almost anything!
On our podcast episode, Become A Puppeteer!, we discussed why the puppet is such a wonderful tool to promote interaction, and I used my dishwashing gloves to create 10 adorable finger puppets to maximize the entertainment value of my finger play.
When we take a marker to draw simple little faces on each finger to maximize their personalities and the effect of our hands' disguise, we might call each of their individual names, bending each in acknowledgement.
- 2 Dishwashing gloves (any color will do, but a lighter color like yellow will allow for more detailed faces)
- Various permanent marker colors (black is the most necessary, but the more variety in color can certainly "dress up" the faces you create!)
- Ensure your gloves are clean and dry. Lay them on a flat surface.
- Draw a face on the top "knuckle" of each finger - for variety, use differently-shaped features, various eye, lip and hair colors and styles, add accessories (glasses, necklaces, hair bows, hats). There is no limit to your potential creativity... but remember, the base level (and important thing to remember) is that even your actual fingers - without any added glamour - will be entertaining!
- Place the gloves on your hands, and recite the finger play of choice! There are a few great ones on our album, Strength In Words: Music For Families! Here are some ideas from previous podcast episodes in which we've featured finger plays (or songs highlighting the fingers!)
- You might find your little one wanting to try on the gloves herself! This provides a wonderful turn-taking opportunity...
- Play at home, during a caregiving routine, or while out-and-about - an easy toy to fit in your pocket or purse!
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- From birth, infants are more interested in looking at human faces than other objects, and are learning to focus on things that are within 12 inches of their faces.
- The movement, paired with the sound of your voice, will intrigue even a young infant and support communication development (vocabulary, turn-taking, receptive language), social/emotional development (interaction and bonding time with you, as you validate her responses), and visual-motor development (tracking each finger as it moves!).
- Playing with the pacing, taking pauses in unexpected places, and creating moments of anticipation and silliness will "up" the fun factor!
- An emergently verbal toddler (and beyond) may want to point to each finger as it is named, or wear the gloves herself. She may request this game as a social routine (or come to associate dishwashing gloves with finger plays, as my son has done!)
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