Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dissecting "STICKY BUBBLE GUM": The Elements of a Great Song!

Sticky Sticky Sticky Bubble Gum!
   It’s Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup – better known to many children as “the STICKY BUBBLE GUM LADY!”  Yes, my very first recording shared the title “Sticky Bubble Gum…and Other Tasty Tunes” with the song for which I’m best-known all across the US – and internationally!  
   For my May musings, I’d like to take the song apart to think about why children and those who care for them love it so. Does it have the qualities I associate with a Great Song? You decide for yourself if you’d put it in that category. For more detailed presentation instructions, go to my website's Song of the Month page.
   When considering what songs to share with my audiences – concert-goers, students, early childhood educators, librarians or a combination of groups - I listen for 4 things.

A great song:
1. Is sing-able!
2. Invites participation
3. Increases knowledge or skill 
4. Is developmentally appropriate for my audience?
   First, for those who don’t know “Sticky Bubble Gum” – here’s my version:

Sticky Bubble Gum     c.Carole Stephens 2001  
      Hear it here (with interactive introduction.)

Sticky sticky sticky bubble gum
Bubble gum, Bubble gum
Sticky sticky sticky bubble gum
Sticking your hands to your shoes!  UN-STICK!


 (Stick backs to backs, elbows to knees, toe to nose, head to the floor – add your own verses!)

1.  The simple tune is within a small range. It can be accompanied with 2 chords (C & G – add a G7 if you want to get fancy) should you be so inclined. And it has an obvious stop – "Un-stick!" Is it singable? Heck yes!

2.  We call this kind of song a “zipper song” – sing the same verse over and over, just zip in new body parts! (“Old MacDonald Had a Farm” is a favorite zipper song, just zip in a new animal and the appropriate animal sound and sing it again!) Zipper songs are especially useful when singing with young children – they can learn them quickly and join in! Participation factor? Check!
Sticking your toe to your nose! Awesome kids!

3.  Can a child actually learn something with this song?  It sounds like it's "just fun!"  Whoa there, pardner! Fun is essential in early learning! 
  • In order to learn, children must be engaged
  • In order to be engaged, you must get their attention
  • In order to get their attention, you may have make it fun.

Here’s the short list of what can be accomplished during “Sticky Bubble Gum”:  
   Cross-lateral movement. By modelling side-to-side clapping during the first 3+ lines of the song, you are encouraging children whose brains are ready to cross the midline. Those who are not ready will clap in front of their bodies.
   Children are expected to listen and do – valuable information processing steps for following directions.
   Body-part identification.
   Appropriate social interaction – sticking hands to hands, backs to backs, etc – all part of my campaign to teach children to use gentle hands, make eye-contact and smile at each other.
   Increasing knowledge AND skills - right on!
Sticking your head to the floor!
4.  It’s been my experience that children of all abilities enjoy this song. I have sung it with Toddlers to 7 year olds, in inclusion classrooms, and with families. Everyone sings – and there are a lot of smiles, too! 
   Try it, you'll like it!

   BONUS! I love adding a good book to this song.  Here are two of my favorite Book Buddies:
Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler  (for 3-5’s)
The Bubble Gum Kid by Stu Smith   (for 5-6’s)
    No time for “fun”?  Music and Movement are not “extras” – you can teach and reach kids while singing! And yes - I touch MY toe to my nose!

   Tell me about your favorite “Great Song!”

Click here to order your own copy of
 "Sticky Bubble Gum".

Yours for a Great Song!
“Miss Carole” Stephens

Macaroni Soup! Active Music for Active Learners! 


  1. I did enjoy reading articles posted on this site. They are impressive and has a lot of useful information.

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    1. Thanks on behalf of all the PreKandKSharing authors. We do our best to keep writing thoughtful and informational pieces that can be used by all kinds of readers!

    2. Thanks on behalf of all the PreKandKSharing authors. We do our best to keep writing thoughtful and informational pieces that can be used by all kinds of readers!

  2. Thank you, Carole. Your dissection is great for reflection!

    1. Very cute and very sweet -
      Likewise YOU are very neat!


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