Performed by jeanniemack
Remember when you were a kid and you used to sing tons of songs? You knew all the words and hand motions that went with each song, didn't you?
Then you grew up and had kids of your own and all those lyrics and signs just blew right out of your brain!
Simple nursery rhymes like Itsy Bitsy Spider or Wheels on the Bus are staples of childhood, and there's a good reason for it, too. These songs help with memory and language comprehension; teach social skills as we all sing together; and aid in strengthening a child's fine and gross motor muscles.
If your child is blind or visually impaired you may think that songs with hand motions are "too visual" for them, but there is so much more to these songs than what you can see with your eyes!
Think about all your child can learn just by moving their hands in rhythm with a song: they can connect with you as you teach them the signs hand over hand; they can learn basic turn taking skills; they may find themselves motivated to reach high above them as they do Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; or they might learn body awareness as they do Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes; plus they'll have fun doing it because music always makes things more enjoyable!
We've teamed up with local Massachusetts children's performer jeanniemack to help you re-learn these rhymes and hand motions so you can teach them to your kids. Below you'll find videos for some of your favorite songs, like Itsy Bitsy Spider, Where is Thumbkin, and Wheels on the Bus. We'll be adding more videos soon, so be sure to let us know if there are any songs you'd like to see featured here!
You can also check out jeanniemack's entire collection of nursery rhyme videos.
The Wheels on the Bus is a song that gets the whole body moving: your arms swing in and out with the doors, your body jumps up and down with the people, and your hands move back and forth with the wipers. Ivan's favorite part of the song is the babies who say, "Wah, wah, wah." The hand motion used to do this is actually very difficult to master, so help your child ball their hand into a fist and rub their eyes. The twisting and turning of the wrist is a great fine motor activity, too.
This song includes a lot of grand motions way up high and way down low. This is a great song to sing with kids who don't like to reach out too far from their bodies.
Peanut Butter & Jelly is a great song to pair with the real thing. Pull out some peanut butter and jelly and bread so your child can touch the objects while you sing and sign about them.
I love this song because it's so easy to sing. Plus it's a great song to help teach body awareness as your sticky hands get "stuck" to your head, nose, and shoulders. Also, notice how jeanniemack sings some verses fast and some slow. Here's another opportunity to teach your baby a new concept!
Where is Thumbkin? is such a classic song and perfect for kids who don't like to use their hands and fingers. Get your child to isolate each finger in the song so they'll be more aware of their hands.
Honey Bees isn't really a song, but more of a rhyme. This game teaches counting and also encourages your child to isolate each of their fingers.