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Musical Memories: Finger Plays and Silly Stuff

Posted on: May 8th, 2014 by bubbyjoysandoys 2 Comments

Enjoyed this? Share it, and attribute it. Copyright 2014, Bubby Joys and Oys, M. Hendeles

When I think back on the fun and quality times with my children, I recall the music and singing.

At one time or another,  my sons took piano  clarinet, violin and trumpet lessons. But that process of practicing and performing is not the music I remember as fondly as I do the finger-plays.

The little ditty rhymes that I chanted with each of my sons when they were toddlers.

Finger plays such as Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and of course  “Open Shut Them”  were the most fun to sing and chant. I still do this latter one with my grandsons.

Open shut them, open shut them. Give a little clap, clap, clap…..

Open shut them, open shut them. Put them in your lap, lap, lap.

Oh – the motions, smiles, giggles and fun. The little hands copying my actions while sitting on my lap.

Creep them, crawl them….right up to your chin…open up your little mouth…but do not let them in!

No matter how many times we did that chant with the child, he always burst out laughing at the ending.

Do not let them in! — while quickly hiding his hands behind his back. How funny is that!

Suspense, surprise endings, repetition and giggles. That’s what childhood is made up of. And when those elements are put into song, there is no limit to the magic.

Where did I find out about these finger plays?

They were either those I picked up at Mommy-n-Me classes, heard on tapes (Hap  Palmer, anyone?) and recalled from my own childhood.

One example of a song from my childhood that was passed down to my children and now my grandsons:

“Sing a song of Sixpence a pocket full of rye, four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie, when the pie was opened the birds began to sing, wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king…”

I sang the song while face to face with the child on my lap. As I got to the last rhyming word of each line, I paused so that the child filled in the word on his own – in his cute singing voice.

All that was a lot of fun, hearing the rhyme, bouncing on my knee and saying the words on cue. But nothing was as thrilling as the ending where the line –

“Down came a blackbird and pecked off his nose.”

For some reason, this resolution elicited more giggles and laughter than the conclusion of “Open Shut Them.”  Not sure why, but there’s something really funny about noses when you’re a two or three year old, and having it pecked off makes for great humor.

Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Mary Had a Little Lamb – add the motions, puppets, rhythm and jokes…and you’ve got great times and great memories for this grandmother.

Watching the kids grow, learn and speak. Listening to them pronounce big and little words, and even mispronounce some of them. I never corrected them when they said pisgetti or splinklers.

When one of our sons (3 1/2 years old at the time) said “Mahzer” (for mother of course!) and upslide down, ekscalators, and other such coinages, I composed a song revolving around his adorable words.

We played the tune from Mary Poppins, “Supercalifragilistic” on a tape, and listened to the tune repeatedly. Then I wrote down all his words and fit them into the tune. We sang the song, taped ourselves singing it, and then played it back in the car while driving the older boys for carpools. This is a song that we will always remember.

Whenever we talk about the good ol’ days, we rehash the memory of the Splinkler Song.

Music. Songs. Tapes. CD’s. Movement. Laughter. Giggles….and more!

Musical memories that I’ll always treasure.



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2 Responses

  1. What cuties they are! Yes, playing silly games and singing silly songs is one of the many wonderful things about having grandkids-getting to do all that again! You might want to check out Bill Harley– he entertained our kids (and us) and now our grands are enjoying his stories– great for long car trips.

    • OmaOrBubby says:

      Omg! That’s a great idea. I’ve heard of him but never played his music for my kids or grandkids. We had this favorite tape for carpool and long trips – called “Shluffie Bokerveker” about a guy who wakes sleepy kids up every morning and impersonates another character each morning…quite funny. Will check out the Harley tape – thanks!

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