I adapted this traditional song to meet my piano teaching purposes. There are two variations. With young children it is beneficial to start with large motor (that use big muscles like legs & trunk) activities and then work gradually towards the fine motor (that use small muscles like hand and fingers) skills required for playing the piano when the child masters the skill.
Large Motor Skill
Make a giant staff (5 parallel lines) on the floor using yarn,masking tape or an old sheet or tablecloth written on with marker. Have the child place circles (notes) starting on the bottom line and going up the staff 5 notes (line, space, line, space, line) and then back down (a five finger scale) so it looks like a mountain. Then sing this song while holding a toy fish marching up and down the mountain.
1,2,3,4,5 (Walk up the notes)
I Caught a Fish Alive (Walk down the notes starting w/"a fish alive")
6, 7,8,9,10 ((Walk up the notes)
I let him go again (Drop the fish)
Why did I let him go? (Tap sway or march in place to the beat for the rest of the song)
Because he bit my finger so.
Which finger did he bite?
My (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th) finger on the (right/left). (Wiggle the correct finger on your right or left hand).
This introduces in a subtle way the idea of line notes, space notes, steps on the staff, high & low notes finger #s, feeling the beat, and left & right. I might even let the children choose a cute rhythm fish card with basic notes and rests on it from www.susanparadis.com website and name them Mr. Half Note, or Miss Quarter Rest, etc.
Small Motor Skill
Once this is easy for the child, we'll switch to moving the fish in the air with our arms like it is climbing up and down the stairs. Next we'll go to the piano and play the first part of the song on the C scale using the 3rd finger supported by the thumb like in the My First Piano Adventures Tigers At My Door Song - (Select the Song & Watch Nancy to Learn How).