Spanish teacher

Juego de manos…/ Game for little hands

Looking at our hands and fingers can be a very profound experience when you are three months old… only second to staring at mom or dad’s face. They spend a long time looking, bringing them together, fingers in mouth, it’s a love affair with the hands.

This affair continues with teething relief, again hands in mouth, or pacifier, or any other hard object for that matter, and we are constantly looking to… ¡hay que lavarte esas manos!… clean and wipe those hands clean that have been all over the place.

Throughout early childhood we are exploring with our tactile sensorimotor system. Our hands, feet and mouths contain more cells than any other part of the body to provide information to our brains about our environment. Especially the first four months of life, the sensorimotor system comes alive and is very sensitive.

It’s a window of opportunity for exploring rough, smooth, wet, dry, sticky, hard, soft, all of the textures you can imagine… a baby will need all of this stimulation for their ongoing development. So yes, I would say, go ahead and “juega con la comida” after you’re done eating it…it’s O.K. to get dirty and play with that mushy batata or squash or feel the rough edges of la arepa. And after that we’ll go outside in the yard and find all kinds of textures we can, playing with mud, a hose for water, pots, pans and rocks…outdoor kitchen!

A growing number of children are having sensory processing disorders that could be due to lack of the sensorial experiences they needed at a young age, since academics (in the form of flashcards, technology, etc.) is being introduced earlier and earlier in life. I used to joke that if they could introduce academics in vitro they would…But now that’s a reality! Is this really necessary?

Back to the hands…did you know that a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain (the part that controls all movement in the body) is devoted to the muscles of the hands? So play with those little hands and massage them and have fun! Massaging hands can also help a child fall asleep faster and relieve colic.

Before we get to the game for this week, we’ll go over the names of the fingers in Spanish, formal and informal:

Little finger – meñique –  (el niño chiquito) (the small child)

Ring finger – anular – (el señor de los anillos) (the lord of the rings)

Middle finger – medular – (el tonto loco) (the crazy one)

Index finger – índice – (lame casuelas) (the one to lick bowls)

Thumb – pulgar – (mata piojos) (the killer of lice)

For Spanish songs, games and poetry you can find more at our new CD “Me Encanta el Español” and now available at A very old finger story having to do with little fingers is included in the cd:

Este dedito…

Este dedito…encontró un huevito. (You show them their pinky.)

Este dedito…lo echó en agua hirviendo. (You show them their ring finger)

Este dedito…le quitó la cáscara. (You show them Mr. tall man)

Este dedito…le echo la sal. (You show them their index finger)

Este dedito…gordito chaparrito…se lo comió... (You show them the thumb )

You can extend the story with:

Pero le dió mucha sed y buscó agua…y buscó, buscó, buscó…

y aquí encontró, encontró, encontró… (You look for more and more and more and tickle them)

Subscribe now and receive notifications regarding new upcoming articles, songs and resources to assist you in your efforts to teach your kids Spanish.The opinions in this page are simply coming from the perspective of Prof. Constancia. I am sharing with other mothers and fathers with the intention of helping our children in their development, creating a community that will help all of them progress in their Spanish studies and cultural expression.

Subscríbase ahora y podrá recibir los avisos de nuevos artículos, canciones y recursos para enseñarles a sus hijos español. Las opiniones en esta página son simplemente una perspectiva de la Sra. Constancia. Compartiendo con otras madres y padres un deseo de ayudar en el desarollo de nuestros hijos y crear una comunidad que los ayude a progresar en sus estudios y expresiones culturales en español.


One thought on “Juego de manos…/ Game for little hands

  1. I really enjoyed this article. Thank you for your clear and relevant explanation of the sensory development.

    I am trying to learn Spanish with my children (ages 5, 3, and 6 months). Could you please share a translation for the finger play to help me teach it? Thanks!


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