The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63097   Message #2399404
Posted By: Azizi
28-Jul-08 - 09:50 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes?
Subject: RE: Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes?
Hello, Guest,Ida Tolgensbakk Vedeld

With regard to your thank you to me, "You're welcome"! I love collecting, sharing, and studying versions of children's playground rhymes. It's great to find other people who are also interesting in doing these things too.


Ida, thanks for letting us know about that website. Here is its hyperlink:

Is there a way built in feature on the Internet that that page can be translated to English? If not, Ida Tolgensbakk Vedeld, would you please translate what the English words are to this rhyme? Thanks!

Btw, I like the inclusion of the photographs on that page. I have a large collection of children's rhymes on my website at

Unfortunately, there are no photographs, videos, or song clips on my website. Hopefully, I'll eventually be able to add those features, but that words only website is the best that I can do by myself.


Ida, you wrote that "in Denmark and Norway the handclapping songs are almost uniquely something girls do. Boys might do them at home or in the classroom, but seldom "in public" / on the street". And you asked if that was the same in the USA.

In my experiences as an African American woman who grew up in the state of New Jersey in the 1950s, and who has lived in the state of Pennsylvania since 1969, the answer to your question depends on which kinds of handclapping songs you are talking about and whether they are directed to participate in circle games during school {as a fun, end of period group activity or for other reasons-see my last comment in this post about circle handclap games}.

In the states that I mentioned, among Black Americans {and I think Americans of other races/ethnicities [by "ethnicity" I mean "Latinos"/Hispanics which are not considered a race in the USA"], I think that some boys between the ages of 5-7 may do partner handclaps. But most boys that age and older don't because they have come to realize {as the results of comments from other boys and girls} that these games are considred "girl games".

I think that after age 7, few boys "do handclaps" at home and they definitely don't do so in the classroom or the playground or the streets.

But, in my experiences of conducting an after-school program & summer sessions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania {1997-2004} and working as a substitute teacher in an African American school {2008} that most Black boys ages 5-12 will not start a circle handclap game such as "Strolla Ola Ola", "Quack Dilly Osa" or "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky"Ah , but when they are directed by teachers or other adults to join in a competitive circle handclap game, they will join in those games and they appear to enjoy doing playing them once they get started.

All these games involve children {and/or teenagers and adults} standing [or sitting]in a circle and while chanting the words to the rhyme, starting with a designated person who is part of that circle, with each word, each child slaps the hand of the person to his or her right. At the end of each rendition on the chant, a person whose hand is slapped is out. This continues until there are only two people left. Those people face each other, and slap each others hands while chanting the rhyme {similar to what is done in partner handclaps}. Whoever's hand is slap at the end of this rendition is out, and the remaining person is the winner.

See the links listed above for the Mudcat threads on "Stella Ella Ola" and "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky".

By the way, the only reason why I went into all that detail about dates, geographical location, and race is that any of these details might make a difference in the answers to questions about which age groups and genders play {or "do" as I say and as I've heard African Americans say} handclap rhymes.      


Ida, have you considered joining Mudcat? It's free and easy to do. Come on and join the number of us here who are interested in talking about children's playground rhymes and other subjects!

I hope you will join!

[This comment about joing Mudcat is for Ida and for any other guest who is reading this discussion thread].