Snip, snap crocodile

Poems + action and other rhymes for children

A little seed

A goblin lives in our house

A growing rhyme

A little green frog

A little lovely dream / Hindu cradle song

A wise old owl sat on an oak

Adventures of Isabel

Apples in the attic

Are you going to golf sir?

Bed in summer

Boats sail on the rivers

Busy little ants

Calico Pie

Cats sleep anywhere

Come, little leaves


Dad and the Cat and the Tree

Down in the earth

End of summer


Fairy shoes

Five little owls in an old elm tree

Four ducks on a pond

Four little birds

Garden fairies

Good night

Grasshopper Green


Have fun with this collection; it’s a great way to:

• increase verbal skills, expand vocabulary and horizons

• interact with a partner or larger groups and understand turn taking

• learn to follow or synchronize actions with each other

• learn to start and stop and discover the value of rules

• use children’s natural response to rhythm and rhyme

• sharpen listening skills

• improve memory

• continue the tradition of children’s verse from this and other countries

• be creative, there are many opportunities change words or actions, add verses, use different

voices or change roles

• above all to have lots of tremendous fun – even the most timid child will follow the rhyme

and with the group soon begin to join in.


The rhymes and poems below are part of ‘Away we go!’

compiled and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

Last updated: 9/5/2022 9:55 AM

Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page


To listen to music from these songs click on 🔊

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:


© Dany Rosevear 2012 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.




A goblin lives in our house 🔊



Rose Flyeman wrote this poem possibly translating it from an old French folk rhyme.

Music by Dany Rosevear.


Skip round the room for the first two lines then move as suggested by the words. One the last two lines find a partner cross hands and skip round.

Older children might like to skip in a circle and then make a clapping pattern.






































A goblin lives in our house, in our house, in our house,

A goblin lives in our house all the year round.

He bumps

And he jumps

And he thumps

And he stumps.

He knocks

And he rocks

And he rattles at the locks.

A goblin lives in our house, in our house, in our house,

A goblin lives in our house all the year round.





A growing rhyme 🔊



A poem and hand play by J. M. Westrup from ‘The book of 1000 poems’ first published 1942.

Music by Dany Rosevear.


1. Place seeds on palm of hand, pat hand. 2. Pretend to water and tug at weeds. 3. Wave arms upwards with pushes in both directions. 4. Move both hands upwards, open fingers and put to face.










































A farmer once planted some little brown seeds

With a pit-a-pit, pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, pat.

He watered them often and pulled up the weeds,

With a tug-tug at this and a tug-tug at that.

The little seeds grew tall and green in the sun,

With a push-push up here, and a push-push up there,

And a beautiful plant grew from every one,

With a hey diddle holding their heads in the air.




A little green frog once lived in a pool 🔊



You don’t need much to be happy!

A poem by Rose Fyleman

Music by Dany Rosevear.



























A little green frog once lived in a pool,

The sun was so hot and the water so cool.

He stayed in the water the whole day long,

Singing his dear little, queer little song,

"Quaggery, quaggery, quaggery dee,

No one was ever so happy as me!"



A little lovely dream / Hindu cradle song 🔊



This calming lullaby was written by the Indian poet and activist Sarojini Naidu.

‘Neem’ is a Hindstani lilac tree.

Music by Dany Rosevear.







































From groves of spice,

O'er fields of rice,

Athwart the lotus-stream,

I bring for you,

Aglint with dew

A little lovely dream.


Sweet, shut your eyes,

The wild fire-flies

Dance through the fairy neem;

From the poppy-bole

For you I stole

A little lovely dream.


Dear eyes, good-night,

In golden light

The stars around you gleam;

On you I press

With soft caress

A little lovely dream.





A wise old owl sat on an oak



I first came across this wise saying when it was put in my autograph book at the age of eleven in the 1950s.

It can be found in the Opie’s Oxford dictionary of Nursery Rhymes.

Find out more about this rhyme at: .



A wise old owl sat in an oak,

The more he heard the less he spoke,

The less he spoke the more he heard,

Why aren’t we all like that a wise old bird?



Adventures of Isabel



‘Tis the season to be scared but not for Isabel.

A poem by the wonderful Ogden Nash.

A  zwieback’ is a rusk  a type of crisp, sweetened bread, made with eggs and baked twice. It originated in East Prussia.  Zwieback - Wikipedia










Isabel met an enormous bear,

Isabel, Isabel, didn't care;

The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,

The bear's big mouth was cruel and cavernous.

The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,

How do, Isabel, now I'll eat you!

Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry.

Isabel didn't scream or scurry.

She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,

Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.


Once in a night as black as pitch

Isabel met a wicked old witch.

The witch's face was cross and wrinkled,

The witch's gums with teeth were sprinkled.

Ho, ho, Isabel! the old witch crowed,

I'll turn you into an ugly toad!

Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry,

Isabel didn't scream or scurry,

She showed no rage and she showed no rancor,

But she turned the witch into milk and drank her.


Isabel met a hideous giant,

Isabel continued self reliant.

The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid,

He had one eye in the middle of his forhead.

Good morning, Isabel, the giant said,

I'll grind your bones to make my bread.

Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry,

Isabel didn't scream or scurry.

She nibbled the zwieback that she always fed off,

And when it was gone, she cut the giant's head off.


Isabel met a troublesome doctor,

He punched and he poked till he really shocked her.

The doctor's talk was of coughs and chills

And the doctor's satchel bulged with pills.

The doctor said unto Isabel,

Swallow this, it will make you well.

Isabel, Isabel, didn't worry,

Isabel didn't scream or scurry.

She took those pills from the pill concocter,

And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.




Apples in the attic 🔊



A poem for a time of plenty. The blossom has come and gone and little apples are beginning to form on the tree ready for the end of summer harvest. My preference is for pears and since there are three pear trees in the garden we should be well provided!

Music by Dany Rosevear.





























Apples in the attic,

Apples in the hall,

Apples in the summer,

Apples in the fall.

Apples make you healthy,

Apples make you tall.

I will eat some apples,

I will eat them all!





Are you going to golf sir?


A question and answer rhyme. Traditionally it is played as a playground ball game.


Sit the children in two lines facing and looking at each other. Once the children are familiar with the rhyme each group take turns to ask and answer questions using good expression (make sure you sound quizzical for the questions). Swap over. Who was most effective? Why? Encourage use of different voices – loud, soft, angry, amused. What other voices could they use?


Are you going to golf sir?

No sir.

Why sir?

Because I’ve got a cold sir.

Where did you get the cold sir?

Up at the North Pole sir.

What were you doing there sir?

Catching polar bears sir.

How many did you catch sir?

One sir, two sir, three sir, four sir, five sir, six sir, seven sir, eight sir, nine sir, ten sir

– that’s all there were sir!





















Indicate counting fingers to ten.

Shrug and throw out hands.



Bed in summer 🔊



Contrasting seasonal routines.

Written by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) who wrote so many delightful poems for young children. The music is an ‘English folk song’.

























In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer, quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.


I have to go to bed and see

The birds still hopping on the tree,

Or hear the grown-up people’s feet

Still going past me in the street.


And does it not seem hard to you,

When all the sky is clear and blue,

And I should like so much to play,

To have to go to bed by day?




Boats sail on the rivers 🔊



There is nothing to compare to a rainbow. A poem by Christina Rossetti.

Music by Dany Rosevear.




































Boats sail on the rivers,

And ships sail on the seas;

But clouds that sail across the sky

Are prettier far than these.


There are bridges on the rivers,

As pretty as you please;

But the bow that bridges heaven,

And overtops the trees,

And builds a road from earth to sky,

Is prettier far than these.





Busy little ants 🔊



Ants are never still especially when the weather is warm; investigate the many jobs they

have to do.

Words: Anon Music and arrangement:Dany Rosevear.






























Ants are always busy,

They hurry here and there.

You never see one sleeping

Or sitting in a chair.

I can see a hundred ants,

A thousand ants or more,

Crawling up and down their hill,

And in and out each door.





Calico Pie 🔊



A poem from the amazing Edward Lear 1812-1888. I have no idea where this tune came from but I’ve known it for a very long time – a children’s radio programme??!

The words are slightly adapted from the original to accommodate the tune.

























Calico Pie,

The little Birds fly

Down to the calico-tree,

Their wings were blue,

And they sang Tilly-loo!

Till away they all flew, -

And they never came back to me!

Back, they never came back!

They never came back to me!

Back, they never came back!

They never came back to me!


Calico jam,

The little Fish swam

Over the Syllabub Sea,

He took off his hat,

To the Sole and the Sprat,

And the Willeby-wat, -

But he never came back to me!

Back, he never came back!

He never came back to me!

Back, he never came back!

He never came back to me!


Calico Ban,

The little Mice ran,

To be ready in time for tea,

Flippity flup,

They drank it all up,

And danced in the cup, -

But they never came back to me!

Back, they never came back!

They never came back to me!

Back, they never came back!

They never came back to me!


Calico Drum,

The Grasshoppers come,

The Butterfly, Beetle, and Bee,

Over the ground,

Around and around,

With a hop and a bound, -

But they never came back to me!

Back, they never came back!

They never came back to me!

Back, they never came back!

They never came back to me!




Cats sleep anywhere 🔊



A poem by Eleanor Farjeon for all cat lovers and those who love the precision of verse and words.

Music by Dany Rosevear.






































Cats sleep, anywhere,

Any table, any chair

Top of piano, window-ledge,

In the middle, on the edge,

Open drawer, empty shoe,

Anybody's lap will do,

Fitted in a cardboard box,

In the cupboard, with your frocks,

Anywhere! They don't care!

Cats sleep anywhere.




Come, little leaves O



A poem by George Cooper 1838–1927. My version came from ‘The book of a thousand poems’ but according to some internet sources there are two more verses. There are also some great blogs to show this poem has been loved by past generations:


This is another one that can be mimed by gently moving back and forth, round and round, up and down to represent the wind, leaves and snow, finishing falling gently down to the floor and sleeping.




































“Come, little leaves,” said the wind one day,

“Come over the meadows with me and play;

Put on your dresses of red and gold;

For summer is gone, and the days grow cold.”


Soon as the leaves heard the wind’s loud call,

Down they came fluttering, one and all;

Over the fields they danced and flew,

Singing the soft little songs they knew.


Dancing and whirling the little leaves went;

Winter had called them and they were content;

Soon, fast asleep in their earthy beds,

The snow laid a coverlet over their heads.




Crocuses 🔊



A little song inspired by a Japanese Haiku by Josa Busson (1716-1783).

What is a Haiku? Find out more at:

Melody and translation by Dany Rosevear.

























Sparkling sun-kissed dew,

On the yellow crocus flow’rs;

White and lilac too.


White and lilac too.





Dad and the Cat and the Tree



A poem by Kit Wright.

This was a big favourite when I was teaching.










This morning a cat got stuck in our tree.

Dad said, “Right. Just leave this to me.”

The tree was wobbly, the tree was tall.

Mum said, “For goodness sake don’t fall!”

“Fall?” scoffed Dad, “A climber like me?

Child’s play this is! You wait and see.”

He got out the ladder from the garden shed,

It slipped, he landed in the flower bed.

“Never mind,” said Dad brushing the dirt

Off his hair and his face and his trousers and shirt,

“We’ll try plan B. Stand out of the way”,

Mum said, “Don’t fall again, OK?”

“Fall again?” said Dad. “Funny Joke!”

Then he swung himself up on a branch – It broke.

Dad landed, wallop! – back on the deck.

Mum said, “Stop it! You’ll break your neck!”

“Rubbish!” said Dad, “Now we try Plan C.

Easy as winking to a climber like me!”

Then he climbed up high on the garden wall,

Guess what? He didn’t fall!

He gave a great leap and he landed flat

In the crook of the tree trunk right on the cat!

The cat gave a yell and sprang to the ground,

Pleased as Punch to be safe and sound.

So it’s smiling and smirking, smug as can be,

But poor Dad’s

Still Stuck Up The Tree!





Down in the earth 🔊



The flowers are awakening – it is time to be outside.

Written by H. Henley.

Music by Dany Rosevear.






























Down in the earth in their dark winter bed

Someone is calling, the crocus said,

In colours bright they quickly dressed,

In lavender, purple and gold of the best.

Then out in the grass they dance in a ring

And call to the children, "Come out! It is Spring."




End of summer 🔊



Where have all the insects gone?

A nostalgic change of season poem by Rowena Bastin Bennett.

Melody by Dany Rosevear.






































The little songs of summer are all gone today.

The little insect instruments are all packed away:

The bumblebee's snare drum, the grasshopper's guitar,

The katydid's castanets - I wonder where they are.

The bullfrog's banjo, the cricket's violin,

The dragonfly's cello have ceased their merry din.

Oh, where is the orchestra? From harpist down to drummer

They've all disappeared with the passing of summer.



Fairies 🔊



A warning for those who would love to meet a fairy, don’t try too hard! I was lucky for in my childhood imagination I had a visit from a little troupe of them sliding down from my knees when I was very poorly in bed! There did happen to be a tree outside the window in full leaf casting its shadows through the moonlit window!

This poem was written by Eleanor Farjeon. Music by Dany Rosevear.































Don’t go looking for fairies,

They’ll fly away if you do.

You never can see the fairies,

Till they come looking for you.


La, la la la la, La la la la la,

La la la la la la, La, la la la la la,

La, la la la la, La la la la la la,





Fairy shoes 🔊



Just can’t resist a poem about fairies since I first met them when as a six year old, I was ill in bed with a childhood complaintA penguin lived on the bedroom heater around the same time. Leaves on a tree outside and flames produced flickering shadows to feed a lively imagination!

This poem was written by Annette Wynne. Music by Dany Rosevear.
























The little shoes that fairies wear

Are very small indeed;

No larger than a violet bud,

As tiny as a seed.


The little shoes that fairies wear

Are very trim and neat;

They leave no tracks behind for those

Who search along the street.


The little shoes of fairies are

So light and soft and small,

That though a million passed you by

You would not hear at all.




Five little owls in an old elm tree 🔊



A poem by anonymous until I can find the author.

Melody by Dany Rosevear.

































Five little owls in an old elm tree,

Fluffy and puffy as owls could be;

Blinking and winking with big round eyes,

At the big round moon that hung in the skies.

As I passed beneath I could hear one say,

"There'll be mouse for supper, there will, today!"

Then all of them hooted, "Tu-whit, tu-whoo!

Yes, mouse for supper, Hoo hoo, hoo hoo!"




Four ducks on a pond 🔊



Memories can be so precious.

This poem / nursery rhyme was written by the Irish poet William Allingham (1824 - 1889).

Music by Dany Rosevear.



























Four ducks on a pond,

A grass bank beyond,

A blue sky of spring,

White clouds on the wing:

What a little thing

To remember for years,

To remember with tears!




Four little birds 🔊



A poem by Mary Mapes Dodge from The Young and Field Literary Readers, Book 2 published 1916. Music by Dany Rosevear.

A very familiar scenario to parents as the little ones grow and fly to the four corners of the earth.





























Four little birds all flew from their nest—

Flew north, flew south, flew east and west;

They thought they would like a wider view,

So they spread their wings and away they flew.



Garden fairies 🔊



A poem from ‘Sing a song of seasons’ by Wilhelmina Seegmiller. The melody from ‘The golden day is dying’ has been arranged by Dany Rosevear for this song.

As a four year old fairies in the garden seemed very real; an old gentleman who had a railway embankment allotment at the bottom of our garden encouraged my belief with gifts of teeny tiny potatoes to put on rose petal plates for the fairies. They were always gone the following day!



















The garden's full of fairies;

They have a happy time.

Up, up the strings of glories,

They climb, and climb, and climb,


And then by ones and couples.

And three, and four, and five,

As if the grass were water,

They gayly dip and dive.


They climb the stalks of roses,

And hide in hollyhocks;

They play tag 'round the larkspur,

And teeter on the phlox.


The garden's full of fairies;

They dance and sing and cheer.

But when you go to the garden,

They all just disappear.




Good night 🔊



A very short night time poem by Thomas Hood.

Music by Alec Wilder, arranged by Dany Rosevear.


1. Point to self, put thumb tips together and fingers up. 2. Place palms together and rest head on it. 3. Upright hands move to close gap., raise finger cup other hand underneath. 4. Blow tip of finger, wave and put finger to lips.




























Here's a body, there's a bed!

There's a pillow, here's a head!

There’s a curtain, here’s a light:

There’s a puff, and so good night!





Grasshopper Green 🔊



A nursery rhyme.

Music by Dany Rosevear.



































Grasshopper Green is a comical chap;

He lives on the best of fare.

Bright little trousers, jacket and cap,

These are his summer wear.

Out in the meadow he loves to go,

Playing away in the sun;

It's hopperty, skipperty, high and low -

Summer's the time for fun.


Grasshopper Green has a quaint little house;

It's under the hedgerow gay.

Grandmother Spider, as still as a mouse,

Watches him over the way.

Gladly he's calling the children, I know,

Out in the beautiful sun;

It's hopperty, skipperty, high and low -

Summer's the time for fun.




Return to the Singing games for children’ home page