Snip, snap crocodile

Poems + action and other rhymes for children

The clucking hen

The cold old house

The leaves had a wonderful frolic

The little plant

The Owl and the Pussycat

The prickly little hedgehog

The robin

The rose is red

The swing

The tadpole

The winds they did blow / The squirrel


Three jolly gentlemen

This is the boat, the golden boat

Tippety, tippety tin

To let

Under a stone where the earth was firm

Under a blanket

Walk fast in snow

We have a secret, just we three

What do you suppose?

What does little birdie say?

When you see a daffodil

Which is the way to Fairyland?

Whisky Frisky

Also see:

The night will never stay by Eleanor Farjeon

Yellow the bracken


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: 5/8/2018 5:05 PM

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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:

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·       any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder


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The clucking hen 🔊



How many chicks are hatched?

From Aunt Effie's ‘Rhymes For Little Children’ by Jane Euphemia Saxby published 1860.

Melody adapted from a traditional tune (The Fox, Time and Tune BBC Schools, Spring 1955) by Dany Rosevear.




















“Will you take a walk with me,

My little wife, to-day?

There’s barley in the barley field,

And hay-seed in the hay.”


“Thank you;” said the clucking hen;

“I’ve something else to do;

I’m busy sitting on my eggs,

I cannot walk with you.”


“Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck,”

Said the clucking hen;

“My little chicks will soon be hatched,

I’ll think about it then.”


The clucking hen sat on her nest,

She made it in the hay;

And warm and snug beneath her breast,

A dozen white eggs lay.


Crack, crack, went all the eggs,

Out dropped the chickens small!

“Cluck,” said the clucking hen,

“Now I have you all.”


“Come along, my little chicks,

 I’ll take a walk with YOU.”

“Hallo!” said the barn-door cock,






The cold old house O



This anonymous rhyme came from BBC Radio’s wonderful Poetry Corner, Spring 1973; Tune by Dany Rosevear.






















I know a house, and a cold old house,

A cold old house by the sea.

If I were a mouse in that cold old house,

What a cold, cold mouse I’d be!




The leaves had a wonderful frolic 🔊



A poem for Autumn. ‘The leaves’ is yet another anonymous classic.

Melody by Dany Rosevear.


























The leaves had a wonderful frolic,

They danced to the wind's loud song,

They whirled, and they floated, and scampered,

They circled and flew along.


The moon saw the little leaves dancing,

Each looked like a small brown bird.

The man in the moon smiled and listened,

And this is the song he heard:


The North Wind is calling, is calling,

And we must whirl round and round,

And then, when our dancing is ended

We'll make a warm quilt for the ground.





The little plant O



A poem by Kate Louise Brown 1924-1964. Music by Dany Rosevear.


1. Put finger in fist. 2. Put hands to cheek. 3. Stretch arms, make shape of the sun, finger peeps through fist. 4. Stretch, make raindrops with fingers. 5. Put hand to ear, make finger grow higher in fist. 6. Look thrilled.






































In the heart of a seed,

Buried deep, so deep,

A dear little plant lay fast asleep.

“Wake!” said the sunshine “And creep to the light,”

“Wake!” said the voice of the raindrops bright.

The little plant heard and it rose to see

What a wonderful outside world might be.




The Owl and the Pussycat 🔊



An old classic nonsense poem by Edward Lear set to music by Victor Hely-Hutchinson. There are several other tunes but this is the version I was familiar with as a child from the singing of Elton Hayes on Children’s Favourites on BBC radio in the 1950s.











































The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money,

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!"


Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!

How charmingly sweet you sing!

O let us be married! too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?"

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the Bong-Tree grows

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.


"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.



The prickly little hedgehog O



A poem for Autumn.

Music by Dany Rosevear.


Line 1-3. Interlink fingers and raise to make spikes, point little fingers outwards to make snout. 4. Put hands to cheek. 5-6. As for first two lines 7. Wag finger. 8. Make hands into a ball.















The prickly little hedgehog,

Goes slowly on his way.

He comes out in the evening,

And often sleeps by day.

He’s a gentle little fellow,

Who does no harm at all.

But if you try to hurt him,

He’ll curl up in a ball.




The robin 🔊



A poem by Lawrence Alma-Tadema - 1864-1940 from ‘Songs of Womanhood’ published 1903. It was set to music by Herbert Wiseman for ‘A third 60 songs for little children’ OUP 1960.















When father takes his spade to dig,

Then Robin comes along;

He sits upon a little twig,

And sings a little song.


Or, if the trees are rather far,

He does not stay alone,

But comes up close to where we are,

And bobs upon a stone.




The rose is red 🔊




A song for St. Valentine’s day adapted from the traditional rhyme by Dany Rosevear who also added the tune.















The rose is red,

The violet blue,

The pink it is sweet,

And so are you!


The rose is red, red,

The violet blue, blue,

The pink it is sweet, so sweet,

And so are you!




The swing O



Robert Louis Stevenson wrote many delightful poems for children. Find out more about this Scottish poet at:


The tune is written by Dany Rosevear.































How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!


Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside.


Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown-

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!




The tadpole 🔊



The wonder of changing life.

A poem by Elizabeth E. Gould.

Melody by Dany Rosevear.


























Underneath the water-weeds

Small and black, I wriggle,

And life is most surprising!

Wiggle! waggle! wiggle!

There's every now and then a most

Exciting change in me,

I wonder, wiggle! waggle!

What I shall turn out to be!





The winds they did blow / The squirrel 🔊



This traditional rhyme has been adapted and set to ‘a familiar tune’ by George Linley from ‘50 Nursery songs and rhymes’ published 1864.

Music arranged by Dany Rosevear. I have a feeling I sang it to a different tune in my early days of teaching but cannot recall it.































The winds they did blow,

The leaves they did wag,

Along came a beggar boy,

And put me in his bag.


He took me up to London town,

A lady did me buy,

She put me in a silver cage,

And hung me up on high;


With apples by the blazing fire,

And nuts for to crack,

Besides a little feather bed,

To rest my little back.





Thistledown 🔊



How lovely is this?! A poem by Patience Strong from  the ‘Nursery versery’ collection published 1948. Music by Dany Rosevear.




















Thistledown, thistledown,

Where are you going,

Borne on the breath of the sweet summer’s breeze?

Floating along with the wind gently blowing,

Out of the garden and over the trees.






Three jolly gentlemen O



A poem by Walter de la Mare presumably about the hunting fraternity.

Melody by Dany Rosevear.
























Three jolly gentlemen in coats of red,

Rode their horses up to bed.

Three jolly gentlemen snored till morn,

While their horses chomped on the golden corn.

Three jolly gentlemen at break of day,

Came clitter-clatter down the stairs and galloped away.





This is the boat, the golden boat



A traditional rhyme that conjures up brilliant images. Sometimes the little men are ‘fairy’ or ‘ferry’ men.

The last four lines are written by Mary Thienes Schunemann in ‘Sing a song with baby’.


Line 1. Cup hands together and make them sway 2. Move hands like the waves 3. Interlace fingers with palms up 4. Lower and raise fingers 5. Show ten fingers 6. Fingers run 7. Interlace fingers with palms up 8. Lower and raise fingers 9. Cup hands together and make them sway 10. Move hands like the waves 11. Make a circle with thumbs and forefingers 12. Wiggle fingers 13. Cup hands together and make them move forward 14. Lift hands and cross them on the heart 15. Move hands like the waves


This is the boat, the golden boat,

That sails on the silvery sea.

These are the oars of ivory white,

That lift and dip, that lift and dip.

Here are the ten little sailor men,

Running along, running along,

To take the oars of ivory white

That lift and dip, that lift and dip,

That move the boat, the golden boat,

Over the silvery sea.


Here is the moon so big and round,

That shines on the boat

That is homeward bound;

Back to the harbour safe and sound,

From its sail on the silvery sea.



Tippety, tippety tin



An old West Somerset rhyme once recited in homes locally after eating pancakes. A little research suggests this song was known more widely in the West country including Cornwall and Exmoor in Devon with associated rituals.


Tippety, tippety

Tippety, tippety tin,

Give me a pancake

And I will come in.

Tippety, tippety

Tippety, tippety toe,

Give me a pancake

And then I will go.





To let 🔊



A Spring poem about the wonders of new life.

Words by D. Newey-Johnson.

Melody by Dany Rosevear.



















Two little beaks went tap, tap, tap!

Two little shells went crack, crack, crack!

Two fluffy chicks peeped out, and oh,

They liked the looks of the big world so.

They left their houses without a fret,

And two little shells are now to let!






Under the blanket



A poem for camping


Under the dark there is a star,

Under the star there is a tree,

Under the tree there is a blanket,

Under the blanket there is me!



Under a stone where the earth was firm



A hand rhyme.

Discover other creatures under stones, logs and other vegetation. There is a world of fascinating minibeasts to be found.


Under a stone where the earth was firm,

I found a wriggly, wriggly worm;

(use forefinger for worm and cover with other hand)

‘Good morning’, I said.

‘How are you today?’

(uncover the forefinger)

But the wriggly worm just wriggled away! (wriggle forefinger up other arm)




Walk fast in snow



A Devonshire saying for winter. Jonathan Swift in January 1710-11 observed “It is a good proverb Devonshire people have.”


Walk fast in snow, in frost walk slow,

And still as you go, tread on your toe;

When frost and snow are both together,

Sit by the fire, and save shoe leather.





We have a secret, just we three 🔊



‘The secret’ is by anonymous from ‘The Golden Book of Poetry’ (1947).

Music by Dany Rosevear.


































We have a secret, just we three,

The robin, and I, and the sweet cherry-tree;

The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,

And nobody knows it but just us three.


But of course the robin knows it best,

Because she built the—I shan't tell the rest;

And laid the four little—something in it—

I'm afraid I shall tell it every minute.


But if the tree and the robin don't peep,

I'll try my best the secret to keep;

Though I know when the little birds fly about

Then the whole secret will be out.


We have a secret, just we three,

The robin, and I, and the sweet cherry-tree;

The bird told the tree, and the tree told me,

And nobody knows it but just us three.







What do you suppose?



A poem for Summer.


What do you suppose?

A bee sat on my nose!

(Place finger on nose)

Then what do you think?

He gave me a wink,


And said, “I beg your pardon,

I thought you were the garden!”




What does little birdie say? 🔊



Childhood days are fleeting and this poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson encapsulates the ephemeral nature of these most precious years while we wait for ‘the little wings’ to get stronger. Music by Dany Rosevear.

This can work as a lullaby or a hand play: Line 1.: Open and close thumb and forefinger. 2. Make hands into a nest. 3. and 4. Cross wrists and flap hands. 5. Put closed hands to cheek. 6. Flap elbows. 7. Hands to cheek. 8. Hands fly away.





















What does little birdie say

In her nest at peep of day?

Let me fly, says little birdie,

Mother, let me fly away.

Birdie, rest a little longer,

Till the little wings are stronger,

So she rests a little longer,

Then she flies away.


What does little baby say,

In her bed at peep of day?

Baby says, like little birdie,

Let me rise and fly away.

Baby, sleep a little longer,

Till the little limbs are stronger;

If she sleeps a little longer,

Baby too shall fly away.




When you see a daffodil



A poem by Aileen Fisher


When you see a daffodil

And know it’s spring,

All the songs inside of you

Begin to sing.

















Whisky, Frisky



A poem for Autumn


Whisky Frisky,

Hipperty hop,

Up he goes

To the tree top.


Whirly, twirly,

Round and round,

Down he scampers

To the ground.


Furly, curly,

What a tail,

Tall as a feather,

Broad as a sail.


Where's his supper?

In the shell,

Snappy, cracky,

Out it fell.



Which is the way to Fairyland O



A poem by Eunice Close from ‘The Book of One Thousand Poems’.

Fairies capture young children’s imaginations; I remember making fairy feasts on rose petal dishes with teeny tiny potatoes given to me by an old fellow who worked a railway bank allotment at the bottom of our garden. Magical times!

I adapted this tune from one I heard elsewhere.



















Which is the way to Fairyland,

To Fairyland, to Fairyland?

We want to go to Fairyland,

To dance by the light of the moon.x2


Up the hill and down the lane,

Down the lane, down the lane,

Up the hill and down the lane,

You'll get there very soon.x2


Across the common and through the gate,

Through the gate, through the gate,

Across the common and through the gate,

You'll get there very soon.x2


Over the stile and into the wood,

Into the wood, into the wood,

Over the stile and into the wood,

You'll get there very soon. x2


Here we are in Fairyland,

In Fairyland, in Fairyland,

Here we are in Fairyland,

We'll dance by the light of the moon. x2




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