Harvest time/ At the mill
Adam and Eve
Creep, mousie, creep
Dingle dangle scarecrow
Jimmy crack corn
Jolly is the miller
Oats and beans and barley
Old Roger is dead
Pick a bale of cotton
Shake them ’simmons down
The muffin man
Last updated: 24/10/2015 15:03
The songs below are part of ‘Hop, skip and away we go!’ The original collection
compiled, adapted and illustrated by Dany Rosevear
Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page
To listen to music from these songs click on O
© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved
You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:
· you must give the original author credit
· you may not use this work for commercial purposes
· for any re-use or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work
· any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder
Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.
Adam and Eve O
(Words by Dany Rosevear; a ring game to the tune of Old Roger is Dead)
Children make a circle. Choose Adam and Eve, God, a snake and an apple tree to stand in the circle.
At any point freeze-frame actions and allow the children in circle to ask the main characters questions about what is happening, their feelings or what happened next.
Creep, mousie, creep O
Get creative in this adaptation of a song by Angela Diller. The choice of animal and movement is limitless. The ideas below will get you started.
Let the children move, acting in role, freely around the room. The cat / crocodile / hound crouches in the centre, jumping up on each last line to catch a victim who then becomes the new predator.
Dingle dangle scarecrowO
A great game for recognising the difference between quiet and loud. When the children shout, encourage them to cup hands round their mouth to lessen the impact of the sound on others. They need to recognise that too much sound can be painful for those who have more sensitive ears – including those of the teacher.
Hot potato O
This game is more familiar as a ‘Pass the Parcel’ type game, where a steady rhythm is kept as the hot potato is passed around the circle from hand to hand.
The version below allows greater movement, co-ordination and interaction. To begin with ask the children to walk round the room clapping to the beat. Then on ‘Get rid of the hot potato’ wave to a friend. Later when children are able to pass an item confidently on the beat from one hand to the other, challenge them to march, tiptoe or stamp as they move round the room. Ask for other movement ideas.
Also encourage the children to think of other foods and ways to describe them, the objects used in the game could be used for: oodles of noodles, hot chapatti, sticky rice.
Jimmy crack corn O
an old minstrel song, with possible plantation origins and dating from around
the 1840s, ‘Gimme crack corn’ probably referred to
illegal corn liquor -‘moonshine’. It has also been suggested that the chorus
was taken from older crow scaring songs from across the
Now he lies beneath the ‘simmons tree,
His epitaph is there to see.
‘Beneath this stone I’m forced to lie,
The victim of the blue tail fly!’
Abraham Lincoln would play this tune on his harmonica and asked for it to be played at Gettysburg. Versions have also been sung by Big Bill Broonzy, Burl Ives, and Bugs Bunny among others.
Jolly is the miller O
Leisure time activities of
pioneer children and their families in the
Partners stand side by side to form a double circle ready to move clockwise. Hands are crossed in skating style (shake hands, join the other hands underneath). A child chosen to be the miller stands in the centre of the circle.
Oats and beans and barley grow O
A song to sing at harvest time. The last three verses have been adapted to bring them up to date. Younger groups could sing the first two verses and then repeat the first verse.
Old Roger is dead O
Another suitable ring game for harvest time. Children stand in a circle. You will need volunteers to be Old Roger who lies on his back, with arms across chest, in the centre, an apple tree that crouches at his head ready to grow, an old woman who skips round the outside of the circle.
Pick a bale of cotton O
Classed as a work song ‘Pick a bale of cotton’ was often used by those who worked in the cotton fields as a dance tune or reel. This traditional cotton picking song was a favourite of Leadbelly’s in the1940s, sung with gusto by Lonny Donegan’s skiffle group in the late 1950s and the pop group ABBA in the 70s. You can hear and watch Leadbelly sing a joyous version on YouTube. This is also the place to find fascinating footage of cotton picking by hand and to watch huge, noisy cotton picking and pressing machinery. Picking a bale of cotton would have been an impossible task for one person to achieve in a day as a cotton bale weighs several hundred pounds.
Dance on the spot or use a larger space. Make a circle to play the copycat version.
Shake them ’simmons down O
’Simmons or persimmons, a
dark red-orange fruit, grow in many varieties around the Pacific rim of Asia
Pete Seeger recorded a version of this song in 1959: Possum up persimmon tree, Raccoon on the ground, Raccoon says to Possum, “Won't you shake them ‘simmons down.”
Play this game with a partner or in a partnered foursome or as below part of a larger class circle.
The muffin man O
Fresh muffins were delivered door to door in Victorian times as were other fresh foods. Drury Lane is a street in London.
Traditionally children sit
in a circle and sing the refrain ‘Do you know…?’ to their neighbour, who
replies ‘Yes I know…’ The sequence is repeated round the circle. A lovely
alternative is to use each child’s own name and street: “Do you know Rebecca
Brown who lives on
In the more active version below the children weave in and out of the ‘doors’. Three or four children could be the muffin man.
Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page