UPDATE 2023: I added some new books and edited this one!
I’ve done several storytimes about body parts, but this is the first one I did solely about hands. Eye hand coordination is obviously very important for a child’s development, so I think I picked some great stories, rhymes, and an activity to help with that.
“Hi-Five Animals!” or “Hi-Five Farm!” by Ross Burach are both great starts, since a high five is the best gift you can ever give someone 🙂 So this one has lots of silly ways you can give a high five–the moose high five is the best. This one works best with older groups since it involves some complex coordination and following of instructions, but it’s worth trying since it’s so much fun. For younger groups, it’s easy to just switch it up and just talk about the animals instead and just do animal noises while hi-fiving.
“Little Dinos Don’t Hit!” or “Little Dinos Don’t Push!” by Michael Dahl is a great series. These two work great, but I prefer “Don’t Hit!” This one talks a lot about the things you can do with your hands, BUT also some of the things you SHOULDN’T do, like hit. So we all act it out a bit–for example, when it says to not hit our sister, we all wag our finger and shake our head no, but then the next page we all help our sister by using our hands to pretend to build with blocks. We end by giving ourselves a pat on the back (another great thing to do with your hands) and giving ourselves a hug!
“Kiss For You” by Joan Holub is another great interactive picture book since it talks about all the things you can do with your hands, like blow a kiss, give a high five, or wave good-bye. QUICK NOTE: If there’s a board book you use a lot in storytime, BUY IT NOW! Board books go out of print all the time for no reason, so buy it now while you still can!
You can also do a basic counting book like “Five Little Ducks” and have kids count on their fingers, but I feel that’s better for a number storytime!
There’s obviously a lot of rhymes about hands, but here’s a few of my favorites. Some of these you can sing and put to music, but I find they work just better as rhymes.
Put Your Hands up High (Found on Jbrary)
Put your hands up high
Put your hands down low
Put your hands in the middle
And wiggle just so.
Put your elbows in front
Put your elbows in back
Put your elbows in the middle
And quack quack quack!!
Hands Go Up (Found on Literary Hoots)
Hands go up and hands go down,
I can turn around and round.
I can jump with my two shoes.
I can listen, so can you.
I can sit, I’ll show you how.
Story time is starting now!!
Hands Reach Up (Source Unknown)
Hands reach up
Hands reach down
Hands reach out
And all around!
Hands In (Source: I think I wrote most of this one? It’s been so long I don’t remember…)
Hands in the air
Hands in your hair
Hands on your hips
Hands on your lips
Hands on your nose
Hands on your toes
Show your hands if you got ‘em.
Put your hands on your bottom!!
This one also goes well with a body storytime theme–but it’s also a hit no matter when you do it. Teaches body parts but more importantly it teaches following instructions in a group setting. So in between each verse I always tell my kiddos that we’re going to do a different body part so make sure to listen so you can play along.
“Hokey Pokey” is also an option, but my kiddos are so little that I don’t do “left hand” or “right hand” since that’s too confusing, even for me. So if we do “Hokey Pokey,” I just tell my kids to put hands in and hands out, as we sing.
I originally found this activity here, it’s incredibly easy to prep and great practice for eye-hand coordination!! All you need is some colanders, some laundry baskets, some yarn, and some tweezers. Put some yarn in the holes of the colander to create a webbing effect. If it’s red yard, you can say it’s LASERS!! Throw some pom-poms in there and have the kids try to fish them out with the tweezers. Just make sure your tweezers are big enough for your kiddos to actually hold.
I set this one up for my older kiddos, but I also had an easier one I set up for my younger peanuts. Basically I just did the same thing, but with laundry baskets. So put some yarn through the holes of the basket to create that web again. This time I threw our ball-pit balls in there and have the kids try to fish them out with their hands.
I think I made three colanders and two laundry baskets, and that was fine for my group. Make sure that you give instructions beforehand, and try to direct kiddos younger kiddos to the laundry baskets and older kiddos to the colanders at first, just to make it easier on everyone. Kids can always switch later–this way there aren’t just older kiddos easily grabbing balls out of the basket.
Hope this gives you a “hand” with storytime 🙂
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