Snip, snap crocodile L-S

Poems + action and other rhymes for children

“Little by little,” the acorn said

Little seeds we grow in Spring


Look at your hat!

Lullabye, Lullabye

Minnie and Winnie

Moby Dick

Monday’s child

Mousie, mousie


My Lady Spring

Old John Muddlecombe

On the Ning Nang Nong

One day I saw a downy duck

One for sorrow, two for joy

One-eyed Jack the pirate chief

Only my opinion

Picnic tea

Pretty cow

Pussy willow


Red in Autumn


Sing, little bird

Six little mice

Someone came knocking

Sun and moon

Also see:

Stars of the summer night

Sweet and low

The night will never stay

The Starlighter


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: 4/26/2021 11:59 AM

Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page


To watch and listen to the rhyme 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.




“Little by little,” an acorn said 🔊



A tiny acorn to a magnificent oak tree; like the little seed we too can improve every day.

The longer poem has more verses ending with:

“Little by little, I’ll learn to know

The treasured wisdom of long ago;

And one of these days, perhaps, we’ll see

That the world will be the better for me”;

And do you not think that this simple plan

Made him a wise and useful man?

Tune by Dany Rosevear.





































“Little by little,” an acorn said,

As it slowly sank in its mossy bed,

“I am improving every day,

Hidden deep in the earth away.”


Little by little, each day it grew;

Little by little, it sipped the dew;

Downward it sent out a thread-like root;

Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot.


Day after day, and year after year,

Little by little the leaves appear;

And the slender branches spread far and wide,

Till the mighty oak is the forest’s pride.




Little seeds we sow in Spring 🔊



A Spring poem by Else Holmelund Minarik.

Music by Dany Rosevear.



































Little seeds we sow in spring

growing while the robins sing,

give us carrots, peas and beans,

tomatoes, pumpkin, squash and greens.

And we pick them

one and all

through the summer,

through the fall.

Winter comes, then spring, and then

little seeds we sow again.







Hooray! Once again the trains are running through Exeter on their way to Looe and other parts of Cornwall after this year’s winter storms (2014) made the journey impossible. Once steam trains followed the same route and this poem by Roland Egan makes the excitement of the journey feel real.


Imitate the rhythm of the train when reciting this poem.

Make lines trains with hands on shoulders – move with a shuffle Don’t forget to wave and stoop down through the tunnel.



Bidderly-do, bidderly-do,

I'm on a train and I'm off to Looe.

Ra-ta-ta-tar, ra-ta-ta-tar,

I'm going to visit my Grandmamma.

Tickety-tack, tickety-tack,

Into a tunnel that's ever so black.

A-rumpety-tum, a-rumpety-tum,

I'm taking a present to Granny from Mum.

Tickety-boo, tickety-boo,

I always enjoy the journey to Looe.






Look at your hat! 🔊



This comic rhyme from Barabara Ireson comes from her collection written with Christopher Rose ‘Over and over again’.

You will need to be sensitive to the feelings of others when singing but children also enjoy laughing at themselves and expressing exasperation or bemusement.

It is also a song that lends itself to dramatisation.
























Look at your hat!

Just look at your hat!

It’s back to front

And squashed quite flat.

Look at your hat!


Look at your shirt!

Just look at your shirt!

It’s inside out

And black with dirt.

Look at your shirt!


Look at your dress!

Just look at your dress!

It’s rumpled and crumpled

And needs a press.

Look at your dress!


Look at your shoes!

Just look at your shoes!

They’re full of holes

Not fit to use.

Look at your shoes!


Look at your face!

Just look at your face!

It hasn’t been washed

What a disgrace!

Look at your face!






Lullabye, Lullabye 🔊



A gentle poem by Phyllis L. Garlick.

Music by Dany Rosevear.
























Lullaby, Lullaby,

Shadows creep across the sky.

See, the sun has gone to rest,



Lullaby, Lullaby,

Little one to Dreamland fly,

Till the morning sun awakes,






Minnie and Winnie 🔊



A delightful poem and lullaby by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Music by Dany Rosevear; there are several lovely tunes set to this poem but none I found easy to sing.































































Minnie and Winnie

Slept in a shell.

Sleep, little ladies!

And they slept well.


Pink was the shell within,

Silver without;

Sounds of the great sea

Wander’d about.


Sleep, little ladies!

Wake not soon!

Echo on echo

Dies to the moon.


Two bright stars

Peep’d into the shell.

“What are you dreaming of?

Who can tell?”


Started a green linnet

Out of the croft;

Wake, little ladies,

The sun is aloft!





Moby Dick


A wonderful poem by R.C. Scriven.

Whales are the biggest mammals in the world which makes them a very attractive topic for young children; like many adults they can begin to understand the difficulties faced by whale populations in our world.


Moby Dick is the great white whale with a tiny little eye and a big black tail.

He snorts and wallows where the icebergs roll round and round the huge North Pole.

The ice at the Pole is ten feet thick.

What do I care?

What do I care? - asks Moby Dick.


I’m Moby Dick the great white whale with a tiny little eye and a big black tail

And I make my breakfast and my dinner and my tea

Of all the little fishes in the deep blue sea.



Monday’s child 🔊



How does this traditional rhyme accord with your own experience!

It is normally recited as a rhyme rather than sung as a song.

Arranged and set to music by Dany Rosevear.




































Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,

Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,

Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Monday's child is fair of face,

Tuesday's child is full of grace,

Wednesday's child is full of woe,

Thursday's child has far to go,

Friday's child is loving and giving,

Saturday's child works hard for a living,

And the child that is born on the Sabbath day

Is bonny, and blithe, and good, and gay.





Mousie, mousie


A poem by Rose Fyleman.

Rose Fyleman is a wonderful children’s poet and you will find many more delightful rhymes

for 4-8 year olds in any anthology that includes her work.

More favourites by this poet: ‘The goblin’, ‘I think mice are rather nice’, ‘Wanted’.


Mousie, mousie,

Where is your wee little housie?

Here is the door,

Under the floor,

Said mousie, mousie.


Mousie, mousie,

May I come into your housie?

You can’t get in,

You have to be thin,

Said mousie, mousie.


Mousie, mousie,

Won’t you come out of your housie?

I’m sorry to say,

I’m busy all day,

Said mousie, mousie.



Mud 🔊



This poem by Polly Chase Boyden was always a favourite in my classes; very few children dislike playing in mud but only a small number get to do so with bare feet.

Music by Dany Rosevear.


























Mud is very nice to feel

All squishy-squash between the toes!

I’d rather wade in wiggly mud

Than smell a yellow rose.


Nobody else but the rosebush knows

How nice mud feels

Between the toes.





My Lady Spring  🔊



A poem from ‘The book of 1,000 poems’. Music by Dany Rosevear.































My Lady Spring is dressed in green,

She wears a primrose crown,

And little baby buds and twigs

Come clinging to her gown;

The sun shines if she laughs at all,

But if she weeps the raindrops fall.

My Lady Spring. My Lady Spring!




Old John Muddlecombe O


Losing things is common problem for the elderly but the young also have their moments of forgetfulness; a song to be enjoyed by all.



































Old John Muddlecombe

Couldn’t find his hat.

He looked for it everywhere,

Poor old chap.

He went down the high street

And everybody said.

Silly Johnny Muddlecombe;

Your hat is on your head!




On the Ning Nang Nong O



A wonderful nonsense poem by Spike Milligan. Set to music for the Australian Play School.
























































On the Ning Nang Nong

Where the Cows go Bong!

And the Monkeys all say BOO!

There's a Nong Nang Ning

Where the trees go Ping!

And the tea pots Jibber Jabber Joo.

On the Nong Ning Nang

All the mice go Clang!

And you just can't catch 'em when they do!

So it's Ning Nang Nong!

The Cows go Bong!

Nong Nang Ning!

The trees go Ping!

Nong Ning Nang!

The mice go Clang!

What a noisy place to belong,

Is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!

The Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!





One day I saw a downy duck 🔊



Or ‘Good Morning’ by Muriel Snipe. A greeting song.

This one is great for the use of adjectives and making up further verses.

Traditional music arranged by Dany Rosevear.
























One day I saw a downy duck

With feathers on its back;

I said, “Good morning, downy duck,”

And it said, “Quack, quack, quack!”


One day I saw a timid mouse

It was so shy and meek;

I said, “Good morning, timid mouse,”

And it said, “Squeak, squeak, squeak!”


One day I saw a curly dog

I met it with a bow;

I said, “Good morning, curly dog,”

And it said, “Bow-wow-wow!”


One day I heard a scarlet bird

It woke me from my sleep;

I said, “Good morning, scarlet bird,”

And it said, “Cheep, cheep, cheep!”


One day I saw a snowy owl,

Three little owlets too;

I said, “Good morning, snowy owls,”

They all said, “Whoo, whoo, whoo,

Whoo are you?!”






One for sorrow, two for joy O



A nursery rhyme to recite / or sing when one catches sight of one magpie or more. Traditionally the number of magpies determine one’s fortune. Many rhymes continue: Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss, Ten for a bird, You must not miss. Find out more at:

The one below I remembered chanting with my siblings as a child. The melody and doleful last couplet was added by Dany Rosevear.



















One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret,

Never to be told.

Magpie, magpie, why do you sigh?

I sit so alone as the world goes by.




One eyed Jack, the pirate chief 🔊



A pirate themed rhyme for pirate play set to music by Dany Rosevear.

Encourage fierce expressions in looks and voice as this song is sung.





























One eyed Jack, the pirate chief

Was a terrible, fearsome ocean thief.

He wore a peg upon one leg;

He wore a hook and a dirty look!

One eyed Jack, the pirate chief

Was a terrible, fearsome ocean thief.




Only my opinion 🔊



Short and sweet. This can be played by a child on their own hand or played on a toddler’s palm. By Monica Shannon (1890–1965) a Canadian-born American children's author and poet.

Set to music by Dany Rosevear.

Wiggle finger across palm. Tickle palm.
















Is a caterpillar ticklish?

Well, it's always my belief

That he giggles, as he wiggles

Across a hairy leaf.




Picnic tea O



A minibeast poem for summer by David Harmer.

Music by Dany Rosevear.

Find his website at:






We found a shady spot under a tree.

Here’s what we had for a picnic tea;

We had ants in the sandwiches,

Wasps in the jam,

Slugs in the lettuce leaves,

Beetles in the ham,

Midges in the orange juice,

Flies on the cheese,

Spiders on the sausages,

Ice-cream full off bees!




Pretty cow 🔊



A lullaby and poem by Jane Taylor who was born on 23rd September 1783 and lived in Colchester, England. She is remembered along with her older sister Ann as a poet, hymn writer and children's author. It comes from Poems of Home: II. For Children.

Poems like this were often passed on by word of mouth, with the text slightly changing on the way; music like the one below might have been added later.

This version and tune is from Bill Crawford’s ‘Biding time’ album which was collected by Dave Lowry from a Mrs Atkinson of Rocky Park Road, Plymstock, Devon in the 1960s.

The music below is transcribed by Dany Rosevear and the two versions have been modified to work together.



























Thank you, pretty cow, that gives

The pleasant milk to soak my bread,

Every morning, every night,

Warm, and fresh, and sweet, and white.

Fresh and clean, and pure, and white.

Where the purple heather grows,

Where the bubbling stream runs clear,

Where the grass grows fresh and fine,

Pretty cow, go there and dine.


Do not chew the hemlock rank,

Growing on the weedy bank;

But the yellow cowslips eat,

That will make it very sweet.

Where the purple violet grows,

Where the bubbling water flows,

Where the grass grows fresh and fine,

Pretty cow, go there and dine.




Pussy willow



A poem by Aileen Fisher.


Creep around the room with a sprig of pussy willow. Stroke it gently across the children’s cheek as they sit with eyes closed.


Close your eyes

And do not peep

And I’ll rub Spring

Across your cheek-

Smooth as satin,

Soft and sleek-

Close your eyes

And do not peep.





Another question and answer rhyme. Mime actions.


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?



Who is that?

Only grandma’s pussy cat

What do you want?

A pint of milk

Where’s your money?

In my pocket

Where’s your pocket?

Oh I forgot it

Oh you silly old pussy cat!



Red in Autumn O



A poem for Autumn by Elizabeth Gould.

Music by Dany Rosevear.
































Tipperty-toes, the smallest elf,

Sat on a mushroom by himself,

Playing a little tinkling tune

Under a big red harvest moon;

And this is the song that Tipperty made

To sing to the little tune he played.


“Red are the hips, red are the haws,

Red and gold are the leaves that fall,

Red are the poppies in the corn,

Red berries on the rowan tall;

Red is the big round harvest moon,

And red are my new little dancing shoon.”






A poem by Tao Lang Pee which describes a river with sampans floating on it using rhyming, repetitive language. These boats can commonly be seen in China and Malaysia. This arrangement can be found in the Ladybird book of ‘Bedtime rhymes’.

Can be used as a hand play as below.


1. Move hands up and down across body and in parallel. Place on hand on the other and move thumbs. ‘clap’ fingers. Point hands up and ‘flap’.Tap forefingers together. 2. Wind arm along. Flicker fingers.Point fingers down and wave from side to side. Flicker fingers.

3. As in one in reverse.


Waves lap lap

Fish fins clap clap

Brown sails flap flap

Chop-sticks tap tap;


Up and down the long green river,

Oh hey, oh hey, lanterns quiver

Willow branches brush the river,

Oh hey, oh hey, lanterns quiver.


Chop-sticks tap tap

Brown sails flap flap

Fish fins clap clap

Waves lap lap.




Sing, little bird 🔊



Oh, how we need the calming sound of bird song and other soothing sounds of nature in this busy, noisy, chaotic and unpredictable world of ours!

A poem from ‘In the nursery of my bookhouse’, edited by Olive Beaupre Miller and published in 1920. It comes at the end of a little Scotch folk tale. ‘Wee Robin’s Christmas song’.

Music by Dany Rosevear.


























Sing, little bird, when the skies are blue;

Sing, for the world has need of you;

Sing, when the skies are overcast;

Sing, when the rain is falling fast.


Sing, happy heart, when the sun is warm;

Sing, in the winter's coldest storm;

Sing, little songs, O heart so true;

Sing, for the world has need of you.





Six little mice


Not all stories for children end happily and flattery can be successful. C’est la vie!



Six little mice sat down to spin.

Pussy passed by and she peeped in.

"What are you doing my fine little men?"

"We’re weaving coats for gentlemen."

"Can I come in and cut off your threads?"

"Oh no, Mistress Pussy, you'd bite off our heads."


Said pussy, “I think you’re wonderfully wise,

I love your long whiskers and your round black eyes.”

The mice were so pleased that they opened their doors.

And pussy soon laid them all dead on the floor!

Spin with first fingers and thumbs. Make hands into creeping paws. Slyly.

Spin with first fingers and thumbs.

Snip with fingers two and three.

Draw finger across throat.



In a flattering voice.

Indicate whiskers and eyes.

Open tiny door enthusiastically.

Sweep hand across.








Someone came knocking



A night time poem. By Walter de la Mare, 1873-1956, one of England's greatest poets and a writer especially for children. Recite with a sense of mystery.


Mime the actions.


Some one came knocking

At my wee, small door;

Someone came knocking;

I'm sure-sure-sure;

I listened, I opened,

I looked to left and right,

But nought there was a-stirring

In the still dark night.

Only the busy beetle

Tap-tapping in the wall.

Only from the forest

The screech-owl's call.

Only the cricket whistling

While the dewdrops fall,

So I know not who came knocking,

At all, at all, at all.



Sun and Moon 🔊




A poem by Charlotte Druitt Cole. Music by Dany Rosevear.

The sun and moon might be so very far away but still connect to us in a very intimate way as their sunbeams and moonshine accompany us through our lives.

Social distancing has made life difficult this year but the company of these distant heavenly bodies can be very comforting.


































The moon shines clear as silver,

The sun shines bright like gold,

And both are very lovely,

And very,very old.


They hang up there like lanterns,

For all beneath the sky;

And nobody can blow them out,

For they are up too high.




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