Using Fun and Games to Teach Piano Finger Numbers

It seems like it should be pretty easy to teach piano finger numbers. Just tell your student which fingers are which, and you’re all set. Right? If that doesn’t work, you can always go a step further and show them the pictures in their method book. That’ll do it for sure…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had great success by simply using those 2 methods alone to teach piano finger numbers. Most of the students I’ve taught need a bit more practice to fully integrate this information before they can actually use it to play the piano.

Luckily there are plenty of creative, fun strategies to solidify finger numbers for your students. And we’ve got your shortlist of fantastic finger number games and activities right here.👇

Some content in this blog post was originally published in May and September of 2014. It was substantially updated and expanded in June 2024.


If you haven’t used games to help piano students learn and internalise their finger numbers, there’s no better time than today to start! Try one of these activities and you’re certain to get a better outcome than you will with a perfunctory explanation.

The Ring-Off

In this simple game, toy rings provide the fun factor. The idea is to see who can get a ring on all 10 of their fingers first, or whoever has the most fingers covered when time runs out.

Here’s how it goes:

  • Have the first player determine RH or LH by drawing a card, rolling a special die or using a spinner app like Decide Now!.
  • Then have them roll an ordinary die to determine which finger on that hand gets a ring. (If they roll a 6, they can choose any finger.)
  • Lastly, they put a ring on that finger!

Super fun, super easy, super sticky learning!

Use this piano game to teach finger numbers if you want to get kids giggling and smiling in a flash, as they try to keep the inevitably oversized rings from sliding off when rolling the die.

Finger Twister

‘Finger Twister’ is a fun take on the full-body ‘Twister’ game of yore. I use this to teach finger numbers because it not only lets students practise their newfound knowledge – it also gives little fingers a nice dexterity workout.

Want your own copy of this fun piano finger number game? Enter your info below, and you’ll receive a free copy of Finger Twister in your inbox.

Piano finger twister

Subscribe to the newsletter and get the Finger Twister game

Enter your details to subscribe to the newsletter for piano teachers with information, tips and offers.

I hate spam as much as you do! I will only send you emails related directly to piano teaching and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Members of Vibrant Music Teaching can download ‘Finger Twister’ from the VMT Library. Not a member? You don’t know what you’re missing! Check it out and join today at vibrantmusicteaching.com.

Simon Says

This classic game is a tried-and-true hit with students of just about any age. Start by saying, “Simon says…” then add directions for a finger number to use and a key for the student to play.

You can also add directions for the student to play in specific parts of the piano (high, middle, low) or have them play a specific rhythm pattern. And don’t forget to do silly things like “Simon says to touch your elbow with LH finger 4” or “stick your RH finger 2 in your ear”.

There’s no end to the fun ways you can use this simple game, reinforcing several important preschool concepts all at the same time.

Pin Pointers

Sometimes you just need a straightforward, get-’er-done kind of game to lock in learning for your students. This is where ’Pin Pointers’ comes in.

In 3 minutes or less, students will be pinpointing the correct piano keys, hands (RH/LH) and finger numbers all at the same time.

piano finger numbers music theory game

For an added wiggle-reducing bonus, set the cards farther away from the piano so kids can burn some energy. 🏃‍♀️

’Pin Pointers’, just like the literally hundreds of other games and activities in the VMT Library, is exclusively for members of Vibrant Music Teaching. Not a member? Learn more about the global teaching revolution and join today at vibrantmusicteaching.com.

Pencil and Paper

When it comes to learning finger numbers, sometimes you just can’t beat the benefits of using a pencil (or crayons or markers) and paper. 

Hand Tracing

This is another one of those piano finger number activities that can work at almost any age.

Students can go bare-bones by simply tracing their hand and writing in the finger numbers on the correct finger (or using number stickers, for the very littlest kiddos).

Or they can get creative and use markers or crayons to add colour, patterns and other decorations. E.g., ask them to colour both finger 2s in green and finger 1s in red. After all, colouring is a wonderful activity for promoting finger dexterity.


Worksheets sometimes get a bad rap in music education circles. But if you approach worksheet activities with excitement and glee, your students will likely respond in kind.

There are some great ones out there like the worksheets found at TeachersPayTeachers and Pinterest, or you could get creative and make your own. To (hopefully) inspire you to flex your creative muscle, here are 2 examples of worksheets you might make:

piano finger numbers worksheet
piano finger numbers worksheet

If you’re not winning any artist-of-the-year awards, Canva makes it pretty easy to create your own worksheets.


I love to add movement to lessons whenever I get the chance. (And it isn’t just for my students. I kind of need to get the wiggles out sometimes, too.) If this sounds like your jam, try some piano finger number-focussed movement activities.


Rhymes, chants and simple songs are multipurpose, music teacher go-tos. Not only can they help internalise rhythmic pulse for your students, they can aid in solidifying finger numbers, too

Don’t let the “preschool” part of the title fool you into thinking you can’t use these to teach finger numbers to slightly older kids; piano students up to ages 7 or 8 will enjoy some of these as well.

A printed version of this wonderful set of ’Preschool Fingerplays’ is available in the VMT Members-only Library. Not a member? Want to know more? Take a tour and join today at vibrantmusicteaching.com.

What’s your favourite way to teach finger numbers?

Tell us about it in the comments so we can add it to our toolbox. If you’re looking for more tricks and tips for teaching youngsters, check out the Colourful Keys hub page on Teaching Piano Preschoolers.

Leave a comment

Item added to cart.
0 items -  0.00