Back and Forth, Up and Down


Back and Forth, Up and Down

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care. All rights reserved.

Songs and chants offer lots of opportunities to introduce patterns and counting games to babies. Say the words to a pattern or nursery rhyme as you count a baby’s fingers or toes or move his arms, legs, or whole body. Notice when a baby wants more and when he’s had enough.

Take advantage of individual times and one-on-one routines to play games such as back and forth, up and down, or 1-2-3-4-5. Here are some simple pattern games you can repeat throughout routines.

  • Move baby’s legs up and down as you chant, Kick your feet, up and down. (Baby’s name) is walking into town.” Bicycle his feet as you chant, Two feet going round and round. Move both legs together as you chant, Two legs go up. Two legs go down.
  • Move his arms up and down, apart and together, and then side to side as you chant, Up and down, out and in. Just like a windmill in the wind.
  • Sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” as you help him pull to a sit and lie back in rhythm to the song.
  • Chant, Five fingers on one hand. One, two, three, four, FIVE!  Touch each finger as you count it. On five, wiggle his finger and smile. Encourage him to smile with you.

Don’t forget classics such as “This Little Piggy” and “Clap, Clap, Clap your Hands.” And ask parents to teach you rhymes they use with their babies or traditional rhymes in their home languages. Get creative and make up your own words!

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Email this page Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Email this page