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Childrens singing games

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JUMP ROPE CHANTS
THREE SIX NINE


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Mo the caller 05 Jun 10 - 09:30 AM
Tug the Cox 05 Jun 10 - 10:37 AM
Mo the caller 06 Jun 10 - 08:06 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Jun 10 - 06:10 PM
Mo the caller 07 Jun 10 - 07:40 AM
GUEST,Ed 07 Jun 10 - 07:53 AM
Mo the caller 07 Jun 10 - 08:15 AM
Tug the Cox 07 Jun 10 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,kasbee 29 Jun 11 - 08:48 AM
Mo the caller 30 Jun 11 - 06:00 AM
paula t 30 Jun 11 - 07:14 PM
GUEST 01 Jul 11 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Richie 02 Jul 11 - 12:35 AM
Crowhugger 02 Jul 11 - 01:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jul 11 - 04:19 PM
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Subject: Childrens singing games
From: Mo the caller
Date: 05 Jun 10 - 09:30 AM

In these days of paid childrens entertainers do children still play singing games like 'Ring-a-Roses' and 'Oranges and Lemons' at children's parties?

In the late 40s we did, also games like Postman's Knock that involved kissing, but by the time we might have wanted to take someone outside the door and kiss them we were too old for such childish games.

I'd like to build a picture of the playing of singing games in different decades so can you tell me when you played them and how old you were please.

In London in the late 1940s the under 10s (my memory isn't quite clear how young, but there would have been a mixed age bunch of cousins) were organised into playing them at parties


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 05 Jun 10 - 10:37 AM

Big ship sails on the allay allay o
The farmers in his den
In and out the dusty bluebells
London bridge is falling down ( last person is decapitated!!)

all around in London Playgrounds of the 50's.


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Mo the caller
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 08:06 AM

Thanks Tug.

I've got a gig in a primary school were they are preparing for a "Culture Exchange" evening, with visiting Ukrainian children. They have a team of Ukrainian dancers from Manchester performing, and Morrismen, and an Early Music group, and I'm teaching the older children English dances from 1651, 1908,1957 & 2008, I thought I'd teach (remind) the 4-7 yr olds some singing games to perform.
Which started me wondering if they are played now, and if not, when they stopped.


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Jun 10 - 06:10 PM

Nearly all superceded by clapping games in the 70s. Oh and draconian playground safety rules put the mockers on a lot of it. See Iona Opie's book 'The People in the Playground' and Steve Roud's major update of the Opies' 'Lore and Language' should be out any time now.


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:40 AM

Thanks Steve. What age are the experts in clapping games (Infants or Juniors)?


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:53 AM

Nearly all superceded by clapping games in the 70s

Personal experience would not bear that out. I was born in '67 and clearly remember playing 'Oranges and Lemons' (with the chopping off head bit) although it was a playground game rather than a party one.

I'm guessing I was 6 or 7, so 1973/4.

I have a vague recollection of playing 'Ring-a-Roses' but can't remember any details. There were various skipping games that had rhymes but I can't recall ever playing any clapping games.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Mo the caller
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 08:15 AM

Interesting.
I learnt these games at home (probably supervised by someone's parents), my husband learnt them from a teacher (Yorkshire, 1940s), and you learnt them in the Playground.


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 08:35 AM

The playground....without any adult influence...was normally the place..passed on virtually unchanged for generations ( compare collections by Gomme and the Opies).
    Adults often suppresed them in the name of safety, and old playground ganes like Ji Jimmy Knacker, British Bulldog,Hoppity bump etc were all 'outlawed' when I was in primary school in the fifties.


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: GUEST,kasbee
Date: 29 Jun 11 - 08:48 AM

I'm currently teaching traditional playground games at a school in south london... the children are hearing many of these rymes and games for the first time and are a real hit. after a hour sining cats got the messals I often have no voice


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Mo the caller
Date: 30 Jun 11 - 06:00 AM

Re-reading this thread a year on stirs memories.
Although most of the songs were taught by parents as party games we played 'The big ship sails on the alley-alley-o' at infant school (W. Kensington) in the playground.
At junior school (E.Acton) games went in waves. Sometimes it would be balls against the wall, or skipping (with long or short ropes), or we used a set of steps that went all along the front of a building (10 or more could stand on the same step)to play 'days of the week', then we'd had enough of that and played 'what's the time Mr Wolf'

At Secondary school (Chiswick) there was a tradition of singing in the playground on the last day of term. I remember a big row one year because the Boys side (it was 2 schools at different ends of the building) had gone in for End of Term Service while the Girls were outside singing
She was bathing in the river and she got her *toes* all wet
But she hasn't got her - - wet
Yet
*(different each verse), tune similar to John Brown's body.

The headmistress stormed out and said there was to be 'no singing'. There was a lot of muttering and plans not to sing in our end of term service, but I think it was shortened to avoid this.


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: paula t
Date: 30 Jun 11 - 07:14 PM

I teach singing games as part of music lessons at primary school.My year 3 and 4 children have just composed and recorded some of their own,and written down their lyrics, so that others can learn and play them. They based them on old favourites such as "A sailor went to sea,sea,sea" and "Salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard" etc. Noisy lessons, but fun!


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jul 11 - 01:57 PM

I was born in 1956 and my sister in 1960. We grew up in the urban northeastern USA. Singing was more of a girls' thing back then. One endlessly-repeating song my sister used to sing was

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 fifteen cents cents cents
To see the elephants elephants elephants
They jump so high high high
They reach the sky sky sky
And she never came back back back
And that was the end end end
Of Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
All dressed in black black black (etc.)

The music for every line of this song was the same:
Tonic, second, third, fourth, fourth, fourth

She was also fond of singing a version of My Little Playmate:

My little playmate
Come out and play with me
Climb up my apple tree
Hee hee hee hee hee hee
Slide down my rainbow
Into my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends
Forevermore forevermore

One song I can remember us boys singing at around age 11 or 12 went to the tune of John Brown's Body:

She waded in the water and she got her ankles wet (repeat 3 times)
But she didn't get her wet... yet

In each verse the water would rise another anatomical landmark up her leg until after she had gotten her thighs wet in the previous verse the concluding verse ran:

She waded in the water and she finally got it wet (repeat thrice)
Yes she finally got her bathing suit wet!

Back in the 80's a friend's elementary school aged daughter used to chant this:

CIN der RELL ah DRESSED in YELL ah
Went upstairs to kiss a fellah
Made a mistake and kissed a snake
How many stitches did it take?


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 02 Jul 11 - 12:35 AM

Hi,

I've been putting some collections of children's play-party songs on my web-site, most are from the early 1900's, I think I have about ten published collections- soem have music.

One of my favs is the early collection from 1911 by Ames:

http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/the-missouri-play-party--ames-1911.aspx

Richie


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Crowhugger
Date: 02 Jul 11 - 01:08 PM

Guest,
From Ottawa, ON in mid 1960s, our version of Mary Mack has one more line:
After:
To see the elephants elephants elephants
Goes:
Inside the tent tents tents.

We used the same musical phrase for the first four lines, which I would notate as 5 6 7 8_ 8_ 8 (not 1 2 3 4 4 4) because of how it fits with the B musical phrase, two lines long and used for the next four lines:
3 2 1 2_ 2_ 2
4 3 2 1_ 1_ 1

Then back to A tune, down to 5 to start the 9th line. But sometimes we stayed on the pitch of 1 and made a key change by using it as the 5 in the A tune, till after a while we were squeaking ridiculously high and ending in gales of laughter.

I never heard boys sing this. Miss Mary Mack was definitely a girls clapping song in my neighbourhood.

Most of our playground games escaped the safety police, but one serious contact game, Red Rover, was banned for the rest of the school year after someone broke an arm. The following year we played it again after promising we'd no longer launch and and hurl ourselves at the arms through which we intended to break, but keep feet on the ground at all times. Yes, sometimes we forgot those earnest intentions. Red Rover was definitely never played at a birthday party though. Parents in control of parties never scheduled it and we never asked, probably knowing the physicality, especially among girls, would spook them.

Party games were much more civilized: Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Guess When a Minute Has Passed, 3-legged races, egg-races. (Often the first activity was to fold pieces of newsprint into party hats and paint them.)

In my area I don't think anyone older than kindergarten would've been caught playing ring around the rosy unless amusing a younger child.


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Subject: RE: Childrens singing games
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jul 11 - 04:19 PM

Long gone here in Alberta cities- but as posted here, there are some teachers who try to revive some of them.
And absent where I went to school back in 1930s, but the city was heavily Hispanic (New Mexico). We did Mexican dances, but no games.

Thanks, Richie, for posting Ames in your great website. There are others that are in JAFL and are hard to find unless one is a member of the Society.


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