Friday, January 16, 2015

Friendship In Action With Music!

   Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup here in chilly Chicago! After finally coming back from Winter Break and Weather Interuptus Days, I love introducing songs that promote friendship.  In February we get all lovey-dovey for Valentine’s Day – but what does that mean to a young child?  I go for the angle of being kind to our friends, caring to our families, and sharing the joy of music-making and dance.

   This month I’ll introduce you to three of my favorite songs and dances that promote sharing, caring and fun through music and movement.  
                        Here we go!

1. Who Will Be My Friend Today?
    The tune is “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush” – hear it here.  The activity is fairly simple.  Make 2-3 hearts – they can be paper (single use) or plush or felt (multiple uses.)  My hearts are felt with a little stuffing, then hot glued around the edges.  They’ve lasted years!

THE SONG:        Who will be my friend today,
                        Friend today, friend today?
                        Who will be my friend today,
                        This bright and sunny morning?

                        You will be my friend today,
                        Friend today, friend today!
                        You will be my friend today,
                        This bright and sunny morning!

For Preschool:  Everyone sits together in the middle of the room (or rug, or any open space.)  The teacher gives the hearts to 2-3 children - if your group is fewer than 8 children, you may use 2 hearts, use 3 hearts for larger groups.  The children with the hearts walk around the group while everyone sings the first verse.  Then each child gives their heart to a sitting friend, taking them by the hand to walk around the circle with them as everyone sings the second verse.  The hearts are collected by the teacher, who gives them to new children.  Repeat the sequence until everyone’s had a chance to go around the circle.

For K’s:  Everyone sits together in the middle.  The teacher gives the hearts to 3 children, who walk around the group while everyone sings the first verse.  Here’s where it’s different for some groups.  If your children have become self-conscious about holding a classmate’s hand, as I occasionally find with K’s, the game becomes a hand-off – with the new carrier of the heart now going around the circle and the original carrier sitting in their place on the floor.  You may have to try it once to see how your class reacts. In this case, you would only use the first verse.

NOTE:  I ask children to only give the heart to someone who has not walked yet. “If you haven’t walked yet, raise your hand silently so that the walkers know who they can choose. Should a friend offer you a heart and you've already had a turn say 'Thank you, but I've already had a turn.'”

Jump Jim Joe!
2. Jump Jim Joe! 
    This is one of my absolute favorite partner dances!  Hear it here.  It’s a folk dance of the best tradition!  Please learn this song well enough to sing it with your students at a slow enough tempo for them to do all the dance moves.  You may never use the recorded music – I don’t!  We need the slight pauses (P) I put in at the end of each action so that everyone can do it well.
THE SONG:     
        Jump, jump, jump Jim Joe
        Nod your head (P) and shake your head (P)
        And tap your toe.
        ‘Round and ‘round and ‘round you’ll go
        Now you find another partner
        And you jump Jim Joe!

THE DANCE:    Each child faces their partner, holding hands. 
        Line 1:  They jump!
        Line 2:  Nod heads up and down - demonstrate “yes”
                    Shake head – demonstrate “no”
        Line 3: Tap toe to the side (still holding partner’s hands)
        Line 4: Two hands circle – not too fast!
        Lines 5-6: Find a new partner – someone you haven’t yet danced with!
...And tap your toe!
'Round and 'round and 'round you'll go...


 I do "Jump Jim Joe" with three year olds through school-aged children, and they LOVE IT!  Also great for mixed-age groups and parent participation events!

Yes, I know the Muffin Man!
    This one is for the youngest among us – 3’s and younger.  Not that a 4 year old won’t enjoy it – it’s a great introductory partner dance – because it’s VERY simple!  Hear it here.

THE SONG:      
Oh do you know the Muffin Man,
The Muffin Man, the Muffin Man?
Do you know the Muffin Man
Who lives in Drury Lane?

Yes, I know the Muffin Man,
The Muffin Man, the Muffin Man!
Yes, I know the Muffin Man
Who lives in Drury Lane!

THE DANCE:  Help children choose partners – they’ll be keeping their partners in this one!  They hold “inside hands” so that they can walk together around the room (as they did with the hearts in our first song.)  For the first verse, couples walk hand-in-hand around the room.  For the second verse, they face each other and clap hands pattycake style.  Repeat! 

REMEMBER: Demonstrate the dance before inviting the children to stand and join in. Use another teacher OR a child to help show what to do (choose your partner wisely!)  
   There you go!  Get those dancing feet moving – especially when the weather prevents you from going outdoors!  It’s not just good for the kids, if you know what I mean…

Yours for a Song and Dance!
“Miss Carole” Stephens


  1. Charming ideas - easily able to replicate in the Pre-K and K classroom!

  2. Thank you, Brigid! I know you use "Jump Jim Joe" often in your classrooms, keeping your students moving and smiling! For those looking for more easy-to-learn and do dances, please check out Peter and Mary Alice Amidon's "New England Dancing Masters" collections: "Down In The Valley", "Chimes of Dunkirk" and "Rise Sally Rise" - the latter has "Jump Jim Joe." All can be purchased with cds and are invaluable resources!


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