Snip, snap crocodile P-S

Poems + action and other rhymes for children

Picnic tea

Pretty cow

Pussy willow


Red in Autumn


Sing, little bird

Six little mice

Someone came knocking

Something told the wild geese

Sun and moon

Swift things are beautiful

Swing high, swing low

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: 5/1/2023 9:01 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.




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 of 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.



Something told the wild geese



A poem for Autumn / Fall when there is a chill in the air.

The seasons are turning, Summer is gone, Autumn is here, and Winter is on its way.

By Rachel Field.







Something told the wild geese

It was time to go.

Though the fields lay golden

Something whispered,—‘Snow.’

Leaves were green and stirring,

Berries, luster-glossed,

But beneath warm feathers

Something cautioned,—‘Frost.’

All the sagging orchards

Steamed with amber spice,

But each wild breast stiffened

At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese

It was time to fly,—

Summer sun was on their wings,

Winter in their cry.




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.




Swift things are beautiful 🔊



There is beauty in the fleeting and the ephemeral just as there is in more unhurried rhythms in life. Catch the moment and make the most of what you can see.

By Elizabeth Coatsworth, author and poet, 1893-1986.

Set to music by Dany Rosevear.


































Swift things are beautiful:

Swallows and deer,

And lightening that falls

Bright-veined and clear,

Rivers and meteors,

Wind in the wheat,

The strong-withered horse,

The runner's sure feet.


And slow things are beautiful:

The closing of day,

The pause of the wave

That curves downward to spray,

The ember that crumbles,

The opening flower,

And the ox that moves on

In the quiet of power.



Swing high, swing low 🔊



The delight of rising up high on a swing.

A poem for the summer by Patience Strong.

Set to music by Dany Rosevear.

































Swing high,

Swing low,

Up to the top of the tree you go,

Seeing the mill at the water's edge,

Seeing for miles over field and hedge.


Swing high,

Swing low,

Down to the ground and then up you go.

Catching a glimpse of the old green pond,

The church in the lane and the woods beyond.


Swing high,

Swing low,

Just like a bird on the wing you go,

But what would you say if the swing swung high,

And left you up there in the bright blue sky?


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