“I have TWO friends that I carry with me everywhere I go… my Tommy Thumbs ! How about you? Did you bring yours?” Toddlers love to have friends with them, who are ready for a game or two whenever they are called out. “Tommy, Tommy Thumbs, where are you? Oh… THERE you are. Are you ready for a dancing game?”
Tommy Thumbs UP, and Tommy Thumbs DOWN.
Tommy Thumbs are dancing all around the town. (this is fun to repeat … with a beat.)
Dancing on my shoulders, dancing on my head
Dancing on my knees, now tuck them into bed.”
Your toddler spends a lot of time working the big muscles she needs for walking and running. Equally important are the smaller muscles in her fingers, the fine motor skills.
We use these muscles when we’re “walking” fingers, shaking eggs, rolling hands, wiggling thumbs, playing the sand blocks, tapping the drum with one finger, and even giving tickles! These activities help your toddler learn to use hands and fingers, which will lead to skills like stringing beads, turning the pages of a book, cutting with scissors, and gripping pencils.
Tommy Thumbs is a little rhyme, with a lot of reasons and expansions to challenge your child. As we first introduce the Tommy Thumbs song in a Kindermusik Our Time class with children from 18 m. to early 3 year olds, it may not be as “flashy” and engaging as some other activities we enjoy, but make no mistake, once it becomes familiar to your child, it is likely to become a favorite. Initiate it at home at times when your child is ready to engage with you face to face. When my own child was little, I would start this when he was seated in a high chair, totally engaging one-on-one in the fun placements of the hands. Then I would continue to repeat the rhyme as I was cooking or cleaning in the kitchen. He really liked it when I put black olives on each of his thumbs to start the next repeat, before putting them to bed in his mouth ! You could easily dab just a couple of dots of ketchup as eyes for a similar effect.
“… and tuck them into bed.” – This little line, all by itself, can lead to a whole new realm of fun for this rhyme !!!
OH…. it is amazing how much the little ones enjoy pretending to sleep and snore while hiding our Tummy Thumbs, then counting to 3 and waking them up with an alarming sound ! Brrrriiinnnng !!
To add to the fun factor, they can tuck their thumbs into their hands, or under their arms, or under their legs, or behind their back. “Where will your thumbs sleep now?”
“Tommy Thumbs” is an excellent song for building the ability to use each of our thumbs and fingers. And children do truly like to repeatedly work on skills that challenge them when they are developmentally ready for that challenge.
Your child may be ready to just work on singling out their thumb, sticking it up in the air and moving their hands around different places. OR, your child may be ready to use one finger individually. Obviously some are very difficult to use individually, and may be more frustrating than fun.
If good with Tommy Thumb, try the verse for Pointer Finger (aka Peter Pointer).
If good with both of the above, try adding a verse for Baby Pinkie (aka Penny Pinkie).
And it is MOST fun to add Finger Family at the end to have all of them dancing around your child.
The lyrics that include these silly names for EACH of the fingers can be found here.
During just one of our classes in Lakeland, FL, there are activities that include both fine motor and gross motor skills. For example, when we sing “There’s a little Wheel a turning in my heart” we start with our fingers and gradually grow into bigger circles with our own bodies and connecting with others, which then also adds the social/emotional connection between the group, the family, and the self.
Another fun “finger” song is “Where is Thumbkin” My daughter loved using her fingers for this song, but it took many repetitions to use the correct digit at the right time in the song. But it is a FUN way to practice using each of these fingers !
The lyrics for “Where is Thumbkin” and the above adorable picture of a mom and toddler with their thumbs can be found on this LeapFrog Page.