Appalachia Rhymes

Childhood Rhymes


Last Spring we discussed all sorts of childhood games here on the Blind Pig & The Acorn. Talking about the old games brought to mind the myriad of rhymes I remember from childhood.

Some rhymes were connected to games; some were learning related; and some were said just to hear the words roll off the tip of your tongue. I think most all them are worth remembering and over the coming weeks I’ll be posting about some of them here on the Blind Pig.

When I tried to think of the first rhyme I learned-Jack and Jill came to mind. I’m not sure that was the first one-but it was among the first ones I learned.

I asked Chatter and Chitter if they could remember the first rhyme they learned as kids. Chatter said “I think it was Mother Duck” I said “Never mind you don’t even know what you’re talking about.” Chitter said she thought it was Jack and Jill for her too.

What’s the first rhyme you remember learning? Leave a comment and tell me-or email it to me @ [email protected]


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  • Reply
    popular 3d rhymes
    September 11, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Gorilla Teach about rainbow colors animation for kids and toddlers Children’s Nursery rhymes

  • Reply
    April 11, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I have a nine month old grandson. He is at that age that doesn’t like to get a diaper
    The other day I remembered a rhyme my mother used to use to calm the children.
    The rhyme went, while rotating your finger over their tummy moving downward, Bore a
    hole, bore a hole, stick a pig, and you poke their tummy.
    It still works. My mother would be 106 if she were still living. Do you know the origin of
    rhyme. I would love to know what it mean.

  • Reply
    Sharon Roberts
    February 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Being “birthed” on the red dirt roads of Alabama some of our rhymes were unique to our area. One of the first ones all of us should remember is : “This little pig went to market, this little pig stayed home, this little pig had roast beef, this little pig had none, this little pig cried wee wee all the way home.” This was recited with each toe. When weaning me from the bottle when my mother got to the last toe I would say “wee wee, I want my bobble little pig.”
    2. “Farmer Brown went to town, riding a billy goat leading a hound, the hound barked the billy coat jumped THREW Sharon over a stump. This was recited while bouncing child on the knew. When being thrown over the stump the child was gently dumped in the floor, Indeed a “Do it Again” rhyme.
    3. This one shows how creative country kids were in using their surroundings for entertainment. “If you see one buzzard & you don’t see two, you’ll see someone you’re not expecting to. If he flaps his wings before he goes out of sight, you’ll see this person before 8:00 tonight.”
    4. Oh! another buzzard one: “One’s for sorrow, two’s for joy, three’s for a letter, four’s for a boy.” If more than 4 were seen you started over. These two were fun in our early teens.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    This will be delightful!
    The first ones that popped into my head were “Ring Around the Rosie” (lots of interesting explanations around for that one) and “A Tisket, A Tasket”. Were they the first? – don’t know. My mother, grandmothers, and great-grandmother all loved to say rhymes and sing songs with me, and later, my sister.
    I, too, had a thick “Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes” book and loved to read it. I’m still fascinated by children’s verses and by folklore and the stories and history behind them so I am really looking forward to this series.
    I also would try to “make sense” of the verses and often came up with my own possibilities for explanations. For instance, of the two mentioned above which I hadn’t heard (“Bore a hole” and the “little doggie”) I wonder if “Bore a hole” had to do with planting time – perhaps potatoes – or if close enough to the coast – with digging for clams – – just some possibilities.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I can remember Mommy holding me in her lap and sing Knoxville Girl. Is that a nursery rhyme?
    Daddy used to sing,
    My name a Chang A Lang, I come from China.
    In a lilla saila ship a come along here.
    I gonna marry, have a lilla wifie.
    Lilla piggie tail a hanga down her back.
    I’ma gone a Hong Kong, meet a man a come along,
    Pulla piggie tail till her face turn black.
    I guess they ain’t no wonder I turnt out like I did.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I remember a weird little rhyme: What are Little Boys made of: Little Boys are made of Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog tails that’s what little boys are made of.. What are little Girls made of: Little Girls are made of Sugar and Spice and everything nice, that’s what Little Girls are made of.. ( I’m not so sure if all of them are, I know some that are not) 😉

  • Reply
    Deborah E. Catoe
    January 28, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    My mama used to look out the window and sing I see the moon and the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God Bless me., and she would also sing Starlight, starbright, First star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might have this wish I wish this night. It would be nice to hear her again. Deborah Catoe

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    and Pepper….
    We jumped rope to Pease Porridge (actually original rhyme was pudding) Hot…
    When we finished the rhyme the swingers of the rope would ask…
    “Do you want your Porridge Hot or Cold? If we said, “Hot” they would swing the rope very fast, and you would jump fast til you missed…If I was tired I would ask for “Cold” and then let the swingers decide when they would say “Hot”!…Lots of fun back in the forties…There were lots of hot and cold jump rope rhymes!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Still snowing here, about an inch and a half now…more than a “skif”!
    The birds are beautiful! The feeders have been full all Fall and Winter…plus homemade suet mixtures…My husbands says, “They feathers sure should look good, you’ve spent about a million dollars apiece on them!” LOL
    Got me a comfort food in the oven..”Cheese Danish” with cinnamon!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 28, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    and Ann….wonder if Bore a hole, bore a hole, where, where, where, etc…came from all those oil wells being dug in Texas back in the day and the decision of where the rig would be placed…there, there, there…converted into a nursery rhyme to quiet babies during all the noise of drilling…
    Just a thought…do you know?
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    January 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Finally this thing opened back up. I
    read most of the Blind Pig today before
    I got interrupted, then it wouldn’t
    open till much later.
    Maybe with the many readers offering
    Nursery Rhymes, I can remember those
    from my childhood.
    B. Ruth’s informational comment about
    Jack and Jill brought back memories
    and I didn’t remember that…Ken

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I don’t know if I have the right words, but from my memory it went:
    Peas porridge hot
    peas porridge cold
    peas porridge in the pot
    nine days old
    Some like it hot
    some like it cold
    some like it in the pot
    nine days old
    (and I can’t even remember what we did with it except clap babies hands together as we’d say it)
    My granny used to sing me a song about a bushel and a peck when I was really small.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    After rereading my post before I zapped it to you, the thought came in the back recesses of my mind…How could I have forgotten…
    the rhyme that was sung or spoken to one of my children years ago, by a relative…
    Bye baby Bunting,
    Daddys gone a’hunting.
    Gone to get a rabbit skin,
    To wrap the baby Bunting in.
    It’s a wonder our babies weren’t tramatized by all that bear and rabbit killin’…LOL
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…However, “rabbit” is really very warm fur, I can’t give up my gloves just yet. I wear them with dedication to its furry, little cotton-tailed life. ooooh, bad, I know…must be the “winter devil” in me!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I’m with Chatter. It was Mother Duck.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    January 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Whoa, late to log in to Blind Pig this early afternoon…Reason”
    Cold, snowing, deciding to make potato soup, chicken dumplin’s or stew…Had chili last week for a few days, over it…then there was the bread and milk trip to the store…LOL So far the schools let out at 10:00 AM this morning along with big ole fluffy flakes falling fast. My daughter-in-law was sent home from work, she works in Maryville the foothills of the Smokies…So “gal” if you don’t have any snow…look out it will be there soon!
    I wouldn’t want to tell the real story of Jack and Jill to my young grandchildren…In France Jack (the King Louis) lost his head and (crown) and soon the Queen (Marie Antoinette) Jill came tumbling after, 1793….The rhyme was told with a softening touch so the children back then would be protected somewhat of the violence!
    I can’t remember my first nursery rhyme but I think since I was born in Appalachia it would be:
    Finger pointing to the babies little round belly…and repeat..
    “Round and round” (making a target with the finger) “shoot a little bear?” “Where you gonna shoot him at?” “Right in there!” Move finger and tickle in the center of the belly!…
    You know I love nursery rhymes and their history and origins…
    This is going to be my favorite posts, I think!
    Stay Warm…
    Eat your Pease Porridge (pudding) Hot, even if it has hung in the fireplace for nine days! LOL You know back in the day, Pease porridge (pudding) really did hang in a big covered pot all day for days…not only in the winter either! ewwwwwww!

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    January 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I am sure it was Twinkle, Twinkle little star. But perhaps also “polly put the kettle on and we’ll all have tea”. My mother used to say that one 🙂

  • Reply
    Gina S
    January 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

    My mama knew many rhymes. She must have learned them from her mother. I remember FGrandpa jouncing me on his knee as he recited Trotty horse trot, down to the mill, see Grandpappy and old man Bill. Mama used to recite another rhyme as she moved my daughter up and down. The words were dig taters dig. Look this way, see nobody coming. Look that way, see nobody coming. Pick em up and run. Stealing potatoes seems to be a poor example to set, doesn’t it?

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    January 28, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Trot, little horsey, go to town.
    Trot, little horsey, don’t fall down.
    This rhyme is for bouncing a baby on your knee. When you say “down,” you drop the knee and let the baby slide down your leg.
    One I learned from East Texas Piney Woods author Winnie Graham when my kids were little is:
    Bore a hole, bore a hole, where? where? where?
    Bore a hole, bore a hole, there! there! there!
    This is a tummy-button rhyme. Circle your pointed index finger high above the baby’s tummy and gradually get it lower and lower until the first “there,” when you gently “bore” the finger into the
    baby’s tummy button. Even very young babies love this game.

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    January 28, 2014 at 10:52 am

    This little piggie was the earliest one that I can remember but Jack and Jill were around the same time period.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    January 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

    My favorite memories were of jumping rope and every child standing around would be singing various ‘rhymes’ as we each took turns on the dusty play ground. I always stayed quiet, because I could not speak plainly(SEE the movie “NELL”!)!
    When I mention this speech impediment, Jim ALWAYS says, “Well, you sure are making up for it now!” I worry about what he is implying!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Bob in Young Harris
    January 28, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I am probably of a generation of Miss Cindy. I remember a set of Childcraft Books and a My Bookhouse set. I don’t remember my first rhyme but in addition to those cited I remember “Rub-a-dub-dud, three men in a tub”. Also something about “Little Bobby Shaftoe” although for the life of me I can’t remember what it was about. Oh, and what about the old lady in the shoe, what kind of shoe can you live in?

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I think Rock A-Bye Baby was an early one, especially for me. Then there was Pat A Cake. Chatter may have been remembering Duck, Duck, Goose, a circle game. Of course, Humpty Dumpty was another early one for me as a child. Gosh! You have started my old brain remembering when —– This will be a part of my to do list for the day!

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    January 28, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Humpty Dumpty is the first rhyme I can remember knowing.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I remember my first rhyme well, along with my Jim and Judy reader. I found the reader on Amazon, and just had to get it. So many innocent memories! I am not sure of the name of this rhyme, but it made more sense than the usual. It goes like this..
    I had a little doggie that used to sit and beg,
    but doggie tumbled down the steps and broke his little leg.
    Oh doggie, I will nurse you and try to make you well,
    and you shall have a collar too and a little silver bell.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Always LOVED nursery rhymes and had several favorite books of them. The “Firsts” for me were probably “This little piggy” and “Hickory Dickory Dock”.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I’m with Miss Cindy! I used to wonder what on earth was going on in those nursery rhymes 🙂

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    January 28, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I had the same book as Miss Cindy along with an enormous Mother Goose. I remember counting rhymes for jump rope, as well.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 28, 2014 at 7:38 am

    This little piggy, same on I used with my kids first.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 28, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Tipper, I had a Childcraft Book of rhynes. I used to sit and look at that book and the pictures and try to understand what in the world they were talking about….why did Little Jack sit in the corner, why did Little Miss Muffett sit on her Tuffet, why did Jack and Jill go up the hill in the first place, Jack was a busy boy he even jumped over the candle stick.
    My problem with all the rhymes was that they made no sense! I’m so glad you are going to talk about rhymes,are you finally going to tell us what they mean?

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