Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
If play has always been a child's first teacher, then parents become a child's first toys. German educator Friedrich Froebel (1782–1827) asserted, “What a child imitates, he begins to understand.” For a newborn's strong grasp reflex action, finger games provide the first play that can quiet a child. Finger games are derived from natural play between mother and infant and strengthen and develop flexibility. The actions are not as important as the interaction between parent and child. Newborns feel different sensations, but respond most affirmatively to soft stroking, cuddling, and caressing. Newborns are comforted when they suck their thumb or a pacifier, or when they hear the pitch of a parent's voice. Eye contact builds bonds between parent and child. Repeated sounds and motions form foundations for formulating memory. At the most elemental level, finger play is an individual's first lesson in living. By simply talking about ordinary actions, a ...