A lot of mine don't appear to 'think' of anything when it comes to fingering. Often it seems like it's invisible to them the way they ignore it.
I like Unreal's ideas of getting kids to THINK about fingering - why it matters (tone quality, ease of getting around the keyboard). When you let them experiment (guided of course) they actually DO realize that some fingers work better than others for certain patterns of notes!
One student made up a little melody but used appaling fingering (fingers up in the air, crossing akwardly). When I mentioned how awful her fingers looked, she agreed. She had to find a better way to do it (by sticking to a 5-finger position & turning the way we do in scales RH 1, 2, 3, 1 under). I hope now she'll pay more attention to those numbers.
If it works, I might try this experiment with all my students.