Learning through Play: What Rhyming Games Like Pat-a-cake Teach (and How to Play Them) (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 27, 2013

Where is Thumbkin? 

  • (start with both hands behind your back) Where is thumbkin, where is thumbkin?
  • Here I am (bring one thumb to the front). Here I am (bring the second thumb to the front)
  • How are you today sir? Very well I thank you (wiggle thumbs as if talking to one another)
  • Run away (put one hand behind the back). Run away (put the other thumb behind the back)
  • Repeat with Pointer (pointer finger), Tall Man (middle finger), Ring Man (ring finger) and Baby—in a baby voice (pinkie finger)
  • Finish the song with The Family and include all the fingers.

This fun action song will give your little one an introduction to the way we carry on conversations and take turns talking to one another. In addition, your child will get some practice in strengthening the muscles of the hand which will soon be used for writing (fine motor development).

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

  • One, two, buckle my shoe (bend over and pretend to buckle your shoe)
  • Three, four, shut the door (pretend to shut the door)
  • Five, six, pick up sticks (bend down and pretend to pick up sticks)
  • Seven, eight, lay them straight (make several straight lines with your arms)
  • Nine, ten a big fat hen (flap your wings and be a chicken, even add a chicken sound at the end for fun!)

As your child is busy acting out this rhyme, she will also get some practice with counting. Repeated practice makes perfect, and making it fun rather than a rote activity is the key to keeping your child interested. Just for fun, try some of the activities in this rhyme while you are out and about, just to make the actions more meaningful and fun.

Rhyme time with your toddler has many hidden benefits for learning. On your next trip to the library, ask the librarian for a book of nursery rhymes or children’s songs, or do a simple search on the computer for many wonderful sites on the web. Not only will you be giving your child a jump start on her education, you are sure to have a fabulous time doing so!

You can find lyrics and hear the tune to this and thousands of other kids songs at

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