Snip, snap crocodile

Poems + action and other rhymes for children

A little seed

A wise old owl sat on an oak

A goblin lives in our house

Are you going to golf sir?

Busy little ants

Come, little leaves

Five little owls in an old elm tree

Grasshopper Green

Here are grandma’s glasses

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?

I wish I lived in a caravan

If you should meet a crocodile

In a hickory nut

Jack Frost is about!

Juniper, Juniper

Kind hearts are the gardens

Knock, knock, knock, knock


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: 9/19/2017 4:22 PM

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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 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?



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.






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.



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.






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.




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!"





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.





Here are grandma’s glasses


Glasses are among the most desirable objects for young babies – shiny and great to put in the mouth but with a bit of luck they might learn how to place them back on their owner’s nose especially if it belongs to grandma or granddad having a nap!


Here are grandma’s glasses,

Here is grandma’s hat,

This is the way she folds her hands

And puts them in her lap.


Here are grandad’s glasses,

Here is grandad’s hat,

This is the way he folds his arms

And has a little nap.

Make glasses with thumbs and fore fingers.

Make hat above head.

Link hands.

Place in lap.





Make larger glasses with thumbs and fore fingers.

Make a big hat above head.

Fold arms.

Place in lap.




































How much wood would a woodchuck chuck?


A tongue twister.

Challenge yourself and say it faster each time.



How much wood would a woodchuck chuck,

If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck,

If a woodchuck could chuck wood?


I wish I lived in a caravan O


William Brighty Rands was a Victorian children’s poet who also wrote ‘Gypsy Jane’ and a thoughtful poem ‘The world’.



















I wish I lived in a caravan,

With a horse to drive, like the pedlar man!

Where he comes from nobody knows,

Or where he goes to, but on he goes.


His caravan has windows two,

And a chimney of tin that the smoke comes through,

He has a wife and a baby brown,

And they go riding from town to town.


Chairs to mend and delf to sell -

He clashes the basins like a bell.

Tea-trays, baskets, ranged in order,

Plates, with the alphabet round the border.


The roads are brown and the sea is green,

But his house is just like a bathing machine.

The world is round, but he can ride,

Rumble, and splash to the other side.


With the pedlar-man I should like to roam,

And write a book when I came home.

All the people would read my book,

Just like the Travels of Captain Cook.




If you should meet a crocodile


A crocodile is not a pet and is not there to be petted!


If you should meet a crocodile

Don’t take a stick and poke him

Ignore the welcome in his smile,

Be careful not to stroke him.

For as he sits upon the Nile,

He thinner gets and thinner;

And whenever you meet a crocodile,…

He’s ready for his dinner!


Wag finger back and forth.

Wag finger from side to side and poke.

Draw big smile with two fore fingers.

Stroke back of hand.

Put one hand on top of the other, open and close.

Move palms slowly together.

Wag finger back and forth.

Rub tummy.

Extend arms, open and close.


































In a hickory nut 🔊



Originally titled ‘It’ by James Whitcomb Riley. Find out more about this children’s poet from Indiana USA at:  

This poem can be used as a hand play.

Music by Dany Rosevear.


Wiggle finger in palm of hand. Draw a smile on face. Put crossed hands to heart. Draw large circle with hands. Throw ot hands looking pleased and then point to self.


































A wee little worm in a hickory nut

Sang, happy as he could be,

“Oh, I live in the heart of the whole round world,

And it all belongs to me,…

And it all belongs to me!”





Jack Frost is about!


A poem for winter by Cecily E. Pike. I have been familiar with this poem since childhood and have often used it in teaching since the 70s It appears in the 'The book of a thousand poems' - she has only one in this anthology! The poem is credited to the National Sunday School Union.

Research often comes up with intriguing information; according to The United Methodist Jan, 28 1926 she wrote music for someone else’s primary school song. I would love to know if she wrote a tune for Jack Frost!

She also wrote a poem ‘The sea’ which was taught in Jamaican schools in the 1970s.


Explore the wonderful ice patterns made on windows and trees.


Look out! Look out!

Jack Frost is about!

He s after our fingers and toes;

And all through the night,

The gay little sprite

Is working where nobody knows.


He’ll climb each tree,

So nimble is he,

His silvery powder he’ll shake.

To windows he’ll creep,

And while we’re asleep,

Such wonderful pictures he’ll make.


Across the grass

He’ll merrily pass,

And change all its greenness to white;

Then home he will go,

And laugh “Ho! ho! ho!

What fun I have had in the night!”



Juniper, Juniper 🔊



A poem for winter and Autumn.

Set to music by Dany Rosevear.


This waltz could be played as a simple pair dance. Hold hands with a partner and swing them from side to side; on ‘prickly you grow / prickles and all’ turn the blanket over – with hands still held lift them up and move under.





















Juniper, Juniper,

Green in the snow;

Sweetly you smell

And prickly you grow.

Juniper, Juniper,

Blue in the fall:

Give me some berries,

Prickles and all.





Kind hearts are the gardens 🔊



This poem will be recognized as one by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; the second verse, however, is a corruption of the first and more familiar as a nursery rhyme. I found both appealing and complementary and set it to the tune ‘When Mary went walking’ which immediately came to mind. There is also a version set to music called ‘Walk in love’ from Shining River: A collection of new music for Sunday schools 1875.




















Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the flowers,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

Take care of your garden;

And keep out the weeds,

Fill, fill it with sunshine,

Good words, and kind deeds.


Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the blossoms,

Kind deeds are the fruits;

Love is the sweet sunshine,

That warms into life;

For only in darkness

Grow ill-will and strife.


La la la….

Take care of your garden,

And keep out the weeds,

Fill, fill it with sunshine,

Good words, and kind deeds.




Knock, knock, knock, knock



From the ‘Young Puffin book of verse’; not sure if it is still politically correct!


Knock, knock, knock, knock,

Hear the knockings four!

Each a knock for someone standing

At our kitchen door.


The first is a beggar man,

The second is a thief,

The third is a pirate,

And the fourth a robber chief.


Close all the windows,

Lock the door, and then

Call for the policeman quick

To catch those four bad men!


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