Appalachia children Games

Hand Clapping Games

Chitter and Chatter trying to remember the hand clapping games they knew –
if you look close you can see one of the turkeys running to find out if any food is involved 

Just like jumping rope, hand clapping games were also a big part of my childhood school days. An old friend and I sat down and tried to remember all the ones we did. Here’s what we come up with.

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack,
All dressed in black, black, black,
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons,
All down her back, back, back
She asked her mother, mother, mother,
For fifty cents, cents, cents,
To see the elephant, elephant, elephant.
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.
He jumped so high, high, high,
He reached the sky, sky, sky,
And he never came back, back, back,
‘Till the end of July, ‘ly, ‘ly.


Say say oh Playmate, won’t you come and play with me
and bring your dollies three
climb up my apple tree
Slide down my rainbow
Swing on my cellar door
and we’ll be friends for evermore!”


Ennie minnie pesidenny you pop pop adennie
Education alteration I love you
Down Down by the roller coaster
Caught you with your boyfriend
Naughty naughty
Ate all the candy
Greedy greedy
Won’t do the dishes
Lazy lazy
Jumped out the window
Crazy crazy
Ennie minnie pesidenny you pop pop adennie
Education alteration tooti fruiti


My momma had a baby
She named him Tiny Tim.
She put him in the bathtub,
To see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water,
He ate up all the soap,
He tried to eat the bathtub,
But it wouldn’t go down his throat.
My momma called the doctor.
The doctor called the nurse.
The nurse called the lady,
With the alligator purse.
In came the doctor.
In came the nurse.
In came the lady,
With the alligator purse.
Mumps said the doctor.
Measles said the nurse.
Hiccups said the lady,
With the alligator purse.


I remember some version of the following one, but can’t remember if this is how we started it.

ABC is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Oh ah I wanna piece of pie.
Pie too sweet, I wanna a piece of meat.
Meat too tough, I wanna ride a bus.
Bus too full, I wanna ride a bull.
Bull too mean, I want my money back.
Money too green, I want a jelly bean.
Jelly bean not cooked, I wanna read a book.
Book not read, I wanna go to bed.
Bed not made, I want some lemonade.
Lemonade too sour, I wanna take a shower.
Shower too cool, I wanna go to school.
School too dumb, I wanna suck my thumb.
Thumb too dirty, I wanna ride a birdie.
Birdie to slow, and that’s all I know.
So close your eyes and count to ten.
Whoever messes up is a big fat hen!


Another one I remember some version of:

Miss Susie had a steamboat,
The steamboat had a bell.
Miss Susie went to heaven,
The steamboat went to

Hello operator,
Please give me number nine.
And if you disconnect me
I’ll chop off your

Behind the frigerator
There was a piece of glass.
Miss Mary sat upon it.
It went right up her

Ask me no more questions,
Please tell me no more lies.


Granny and Pap would have probably whipped me if they heard me saying the last one, and that’s probably why I can’t remember exactly how it went 🙂


Bob Dalsemer taught me a fun hand clapping game that goes along with a contra dance, it’s called Shasah. You can see a version of it here, although the dance is usually a little more rowdy than the video shows.


I find it interesting that some folks used the silly songs we used for hand clapping games for jumping rope or vice versa. I guess as the nonsense songs made their way down through the generations kids used them for whatever was needed at the time.

If you remember any other hand clapping songs, please share them with me in a comment.


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  • Reply
    Jane W Bolden
    August 30, 2018 at 8:52 am

    This comment didn’t show up yesterday afternoon. I’ll try again.
    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

    Passed several generations on my maternal side

  • Reply
    August 30, 2018 at 12:57 am

    We did hand clapping to ”Peas Porridge Hot.” I recall us getting stuck somewhere for what seems like hours in my memory. Because kids could entertain themselves so well, we made up our own version for the hand clapping. I still remember it. I need to check to see if my sis remembers.

  • Reply
    Susie Etheridge
    August 29, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    We loved the clapping games too,ours was … A sailor went to sea, sea,sea, to see what he could see, see,see, …. but all that he could see, see,see, was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea,sea . Loved watching the contra dance video looked like a lotta fun , we would speed up our hand clapping game just that same way.

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    August 29, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    This and several preceding posts hark back to happy childhoods, the essential building block of satisfying lives.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    One from Sesame Street we sang at school. I have to wonder at PBS advocating little girls to do the hotdog, now a days, lol.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Oh, I forgot my sister, Sherry Whitaker, sang on Cas Walker when I was a baby! I remember the song so well, though, and thought I should sing it with her when she sang a couple of years later at a school assembly!
    Cheryl has a very close version, as well and our Mother also taught us the Rubber Dolly song.
    Great memories.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 29, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    My Momma told me if I be goodie, she would buy me a rubber dollie, my Auntie told her I kissed a soldier, Now she won’t buy me a rubber dollie. Followed by: 3 6 9 the goose drank wine, the monkey chewed tobacco on the street car line, the line broke the monkey got choked and we all went to heaven in a little row boat clap clap.
    My Wife said this was one she used.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    August 29, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    I remember the Playmate song a little differently.
    Oh little playmate
    Come out & play with me
    And bring your dollys three
    Climb up my Apple tree
    Look down my rain barrel
    Slide down my cellar door
    And we’ll be jolly friends

    Oh little playmate
    I cannot play with you
    My Dolly’s got the flu
    Boohoo boohoo hoo hoo
    ain’t got no rain barrel
    Ain’t got no cellar door
    But we’ll be jolly friends

    My Daddy took me to Knoxville to sing that on the Cas Walker TV show when I was 8 years old.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 29, 2018 at 11:54 am

    This kinda goes with yesterday and today,

  • Reply
    August 29, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Mostly my friends and I jumped rope; my daughter wasn’t interested in either jump rope (except “Chinese” jump rope) or hand clapping games; however; the older 4 granddaughters love hand clapping games more than jump rope – the 2 1/2 year old is starting to try the clapping patterns and rhymes and I’m sure the 1 1/2 year old will be joining before too long.
    I’m amazed at the intricate clapping patterns the “olders” use – describing them would be quite a challenge. I need to video the girls in action!!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2018 at 10:42 am

    My mom, who was born in 1921, said her mother taught her the “Playmate” song:

    Playmate, Come out and play with me
    And bring your dollies three
    Climb up my apple tree

    Slide down my rain barrel
    Into my cellar door
    And we’ll be jolly friends

    So sorry, playmate
    I cannot play with you
    My dolly’s got the flu
    Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo

    Ain’t got no rain barrel
    Ain’t got no cellar door
    But we’ll be jolly friends

  • Reply
    August 29, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Omg like Ed, Tipper. I did the Flea fly. Just the other day, I told it to my daughter and grandson and he laughed. We used to say it all the time. God Bless!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 29, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Oops! Here’s the music

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 29, 2018 at 9:39 am

    PS: Here, for your listening pleasure, is a little piece of music from way back before you were.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 29, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Flea fly
    Flea fly flow
    Xamini, zylamini, oohwallawallamini,
    Beetinbillie, oatindoatin, bobobadeetindotin

    That’s not all of it. That’s just all of it I haven’t been able to forget after hearing it 327,491 times when my daughter was growing up. But all it not lost! Give me another 10 years and my memory will be completely clear of it. Phewww!

    • Reply
      August 29, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Sorry Ed, you missed the middle! What I remember from girl scouts (repeating everything)…
      Flea fly
      Flea fly flo
      Koommala, koommala, koommala vista
      Oh, no, no, no, not the vista
      X a meanie, Sal’s a meanie, oowallawal a meanie, X a meanie, Sal’s a meanie, oowalawah.
      Beat bittily oatendoaten, beebop skadeetindatin sshhh.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I work on a school playground. Children still say several of these. One jump rope song I remember from childhood and I hear still is “ not last night but the night before twenty four robbers came knocking at my door, as I ran out, they ran in and hit me over the head with a rolling pin”. There are other verses but I can’t remember at the moment.

  • Reply
    Cindy Pressley
    August 29, 2018 at 7:16 am

    Tip, I have no recall of hand clapping games like these. I guess I just wasn’t paying attention. Kids will find a way to entertain themselves. Do any of these games go on now or is all attention and communication by phone!

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