Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Hi!  “Miss Carole” Stephens of Macaroni Soup here, and I've got exciting news! 

  I've released a new recording – “Polka Dots!”  It’s chock-full of 24 great songs and fingerplays for movement, singing AND learning! In this month's blog I’ll share one that has a familiar tune, one spoken piece, and then GIVE YOU – FREE - a fun new song that I wrote! 
                  Keep reading!
    In 25 years of teaching music and movement with young children, I've often wished for songs about certain subjects, or songs that promote practice of specific skills, or songs that are for annual events that are age appropriate for my typical classroom/concert audience – sixes and younger. I've written little pieces of songs, and in some cases whole songs that fit the bill – but they never got finished, polished and ready to record. Well, TEN of the songs on “Polka Dots!” are written by me!  I hope you like them – the teachers that have been using them are giving me a thumbs up, for which I am very grateful! 
    Here we go! Let’s start with one based on an old English poem, sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

A sung fingerplay adapted by Carole Stephens

Little Arabella Miller found a creepy caterpillar
First it crawled upon her mother – EWE!
Then upon her baby brother – WAAH!
All said, “Arabella Miller, take away that caterpillar – YUCK!”

Little Arabella Miller found a creepy caterpillar
First it crawled on little brother  - (baby giggle)
Then upon her dear grandmother – “Hmmm…”
Gran said, “Arabella Miller, how I love your caterpillar!”

Line 1: start walking two fingers – I use pointer and tallman – from wrist to shoulder.

Line 2: walk fingers to top of head, pause to “Ewe!”

Line 3: walk fingers to other shoulder, pause to “waah!”

Line 4: walk fingers down other arm, speeding up as you finish, tossing the caterpillar to the floor!

    This song can be done with each child creeping their fingers on themselves, or a caregiver or friend playing the caterpillar with their fingers.  No matter how you do it, it’s a giggle.  AND it is a wonderful way to demonstrate Appropriate Touch – we use gentle fingers!  I love doing this one with babies, toddlers, and my preschoolers still love it, too!

    At the end of the first verse you might say, “Then Arabella Miller’s Grandma came to visit, and she saw things a little differently!”   Sing the second verse, going in the opposite direction with the walking fingers.  End gently petting the hand. Nice!

A flower grows like this!
GROWING   (spoken)  
             adapted by Carole Stephens

A FLOWER grows like this
A TREE grows like this
A CARROT grows like this
And I grow like this - 

ACTIONS:  Start standing, hands cupped around face like a blossom.  For the tree – shoot hands straight upward. For the carrot, put tips of fingers together, and dive to the floor.  For the last line, stand up and strike a pose – “ta dah!”

    As with many short action rhymes like this, plan to do it again – and again!  The better the children know the rhyme, the more fun it becomes!  I use a visual before we start – that the children can “read” left to right, as we identify the different items. As you can see, you don’t have to be an artist to draw something the kids will recognize – my sister got all the artistic talent in our family, but I get by!  Just some markers and foam board.  It works!

                                Now for the “freebie!” 
    Years ago I got tired of being hit when I complimented a child for something saying “That was great – high 5!” BOOM! It felt like they’d broken my wrist!  Then came the “nucks” – BOOM! I got punched.  Instead of giving up completely, I decided to try to change the behavior by teaching my students how to give a gentler high 5.  I taught them the five little words – which we tap each finger on one hand for each word to emphasize that “High Fives Should Not Hurt!” 
Good job, Anna and Belle!

    Guess what – it works. The children are gentler with each other, with teachers – even teaching friends how to give a softer high 5!

    You can hear the song sample here, or hear and download the whole song off the Soundcloud!  It’s so short and easy to learn, you’ll be able to sing it after a few listens! 
          That's the freebie!

High Fives Should Not Hurt   

               by Carole Stephens ©2014
High 5’s should not hurt – 
No no no no no!
Hi 5’s should not hurt!
High 5’s should not hurt – 
No no no no no!
Hi 5’s should not hurt!
When you want to say “good job” to a friend
Remember “high 5’s should not hurt!”
These 5 little words should go through your head:
High – Fives – Should – Not – Hurt!

MOTIONS: Hold up one hand, fingers splayed, in the air, tapping each finger with the pointer of the other hand each time you sing the title phrase. You can shake your head or waggle that pointer for the “no-no’s”.  Give a thumbs up for “good job”.  That’s it!  Spread the word: “High Fives Should Not Hurt!”

    Like what you hear?  You can purchase the cd at CdBaby!  Get these 3 songs, plus “A Very Fine Day”, “Mother Nature”, “No More Pie!”, “Giddy-Up!” (all featured in my previous blogs) – AND 17 MORE highly usable songs like “Rainbow ‘Round Me” and “I May Be Little!”
Remember - High 5's Should Not Hurt!
     I wish everyone a wonderful end of 2014 – and a joyous start on 2015!

  Yours for a Polka Dot Song!


  1. Hi Carole, I just got back from a trip out of the country, and read your latest post. Congratulations on your CD "Polka Dots!" How can I get a copy? I am always looking for fun music for my movement classes. Keep up the good work, and Happy 2015!

  2. Hi Connie - you can order directly from me (send me an email by going to the Contact Me page of my website) or order on my website's "Recordings Page". Happy New Year Back atcha!


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