hands - books and activities

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I were looking for treasures in the children's section of a bookstore, and we both picked up this gem.  (Pete and Mo also found their way into my shopping bag.)

Hands Can
author: Cheryl Willis Hudson
illustrator: John Francis Bourke
publisher: Candlewick
reprinted February 12, 2013
delightful for children 2-5

This inviting offering provides youngsters with an almost sensory experience in which they can experience how their hands help them to explore and interact with their world.

  -- School Library Journal

Comparing our choices, my friend told me that she was going to add  Hands Can to her beginning of the year focus on hands.

She told me what she does in her classroom.  Brilliant.  Just like her.  

Hands connect with a lot our our classroom routines.

give me 5                        

source: Old Fort Church

How many of  us hold up a hand and remind the kidlets to 

give us 5?

I have always taught my kids that  5 is 2 looking eyes, 2 listening ears and 1 quiet mouth.

There are lots of other versions - 

and some free printables out there.
Peace Love & Learning
First Grade Wow
Have Fun Teaching

An essential kindergarten skill.  
We eat snack and lunch in our classrooms and I want them to have clean hands for that.  I also like to keep the germs down to a dull roar. 

We have a wash and walk:  the kids line up by the sink, get their hands wet take a squirt of soap and walk around the perimeter of the room washing rubbing and scrubbing.  By the time it's their turn back at the sink to rinse, it has been at least 20 seconds of scrubbing.  

finger plays and songs
I am always surprised how much my kindergarten kidlets enjoy a good round of Where is Thumbkin.  I might think that they are a bit grown up, but when I use it as a transition, they love it.  Another fave is Open Shut Them.

brain breaks

Clapping songs are a fabulous brain break. Miss Mary Mack is a traditional favourite and Double Double This That  went viral at my school last year. 

hands photos  

My friend took photos of all of her kids' hands and put them up on a bulletin board to see if they could identify their own hands - and to see if the parents could identify their child's hands at Meet the Teacher Night.  I think that the pictures would make a wonderful class book when they were taken off the wall.

class book
My friend make a class book about what hands can do.  The kids cut out pictures from magazine and wrote about what hands can do. 

We make a Peaceful Hands book at Remembrance Day.  I paint the kids' hands, and they tell me what their peaceful hands can do. My favourite "peaceful thing" was shared by a boy whose mum was pregnant.  He said " My peaceful hands get the puke bucket for my mum".  Can only love that peacefulness.

first day handprints
Parents, especially mums are totally mad about their kids' handprints.  Great PR to send home a first day handprint.  Click on the graphic for a free download. 

books to read

I put together a collection of my friend's favourite hand books, and some of my own.

Do you have any to add to the list?



  1. Hands are fascinating to me. We have some of those books on your list. I'll have to check out the other ones. Thanks for sharing all the fun!

  2. I have never seen this book before, but it sure does look like a great book! I also love your activities to incorporate this book into every day! Thanks for sharing and linking up!

    Reading Toward the Stars

  3. Wow, this is a wonderful resource with so many great activities! Thanks so much for linking up and sharing all your ideas. This sounds like a great book that I will have to check out. :)


  4. I love this!! Thank you so much!
    Michelle @togolightly

  5. Those are all terrific choices. Here is another one.
    Hand Rhymes by Marc Brown. Liz :)


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