More circle games N-P

Naughty pussy cat

No bears out tonight

One in the middle

One little bluebird

One, two, three open your eyes and see

Old bald eagle

Old Betty Larkin

Old Mister Rabbit

Our boots are made of leather

Pass the ball / Mawga Nanny

Pass the pebble on

Peep squirrel

Poor Jenny sits a-weeping

Push the business on

Put your little foot

Last updated: 2/20/2018 3:12 PM

These songs are nursery rhymes and other traditional songs compiled, illustrated and music arranged by Dany Rosevear.

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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 2013 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

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·       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.

 


 

 

Naughty pussy cat O

 

 


A Canadian nursery game from Deanna Hoermann’s ‘Catch a song’.

Younger children can play this as a finger game just miming the actions.

If you are not keen on using the word ‘fat’ in the classroom sing the second verse instead.

 

One child, the pussy cat, sits or lays in the centre of the circle, mother or father cat waits outside. Cat lifts head and says ‘Meow!’ when appropriate.

Those standing in the circle wag their fingers, show how fat the cat is, puff away imaginary whiskers and then wag fingers and shout ‘Scat!’ with a shoo movement. At the end children, holding hands, lift up arms to make windows, raising or lowering them to influence what happens.

Cat runs out of the circle and the parent cat gives chase. Once the cat is caught two others are chosen so the game can continue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Naughty pussy cat, Meow!

You are very fat, Meow!

You have butter on your whiskers,

Naughty pussy cat,

Scat!

 

Naughty pussy cat, Meow!

Sleeping on the mat, Meow!

You have butter on your whiskers,

Naughty pussy cat,

Scat!

 


 

 

 

No bears out tonight O

 

 


Where have all the bears gone? The youngest just dance to the first verse for a simple circle song. Older children make a circle holding hands and standing next to a partner.

 

1. The circle skips round holding hands. On the last line everyone squats.

2. Continue squatting hands to cheek. On last line jump up and shout ‘Hooray!’

3. The circle skips round holding hands. On the last line everyone holds hands with a partner and skips round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


No bears out tonight,

No bears out tonight,

No bears out tonight,

They’ve all gone away!

 

Little bears sleeping tight, x3

‘Til winter flies away.

 

No bears sleeping tight, x3

They’ve all gone out to play!

 


 

 

Old bald eagle O

 

 


This song comes from Kentucky / Appalachian mountains; the version below is an amalgam of the more common couplet that was sung by Jean Ritchie and played as a line game and the second part  which can be found in ‘Just Five’ compiled by Robert E. Kersey.

 

Children walk in a circle as one child skips round inside. On the second part that child chooses a partner from the circle and holding hands skips round as those in the circle clap. The game continues as before with both children walking round and then each choosing a skipping partner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Old bald eagle sail around, daylight is gone.

Old bald eagle sail around, daylight is gone.

Sail around the mountain top!

Sail around I say!

Sail around the mountain top!

Long summer day!

 

Two bald eagles…

Four bald eagles ….

Long, long summer day!

 


 

 

Old Betty Larkin O

 

 


Another folk song from Kentucky sung by Jean Ritchie. It is an early American dance and sung in an unusual and possibly difficult manner.

 

Verse 1: Children skip clockwise holding hands with a partner in skating mode. One child Betty or Billy skips round the inside of the ring in the opposite direction.

2. Partners drop hands and form a single circle facing the centre. Betty or Billy skips weaving in and out of the circle.

3. Betty or Billy grabs the nearest person as a partner leaving the old partner to be the new Betty or Billy and, the game continues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hop around, skip around, Old Betty Larkin,

Hop around, skip around, Old Betty Larkin,

Hop around, skip around, Old Betty Larkin,

Also my dear darling.

 

Needle in a haystack, Old Betty Larkin,

Needle in a haystack, Old Betty Larkin,

Needle in a haystack, Old Betty Larkin,

Also my dear darling.

 

Steal, steal, Old Betty Larkin,

Steal, steal, Old Betty Larkin,

Steal, steal, Old Betty Larkin,

Also my dear darling.

 


 


 

 

Old Mister Rabbit  🔊

 

 


A Missouri play-party song. Before playing this song make a list of vegetables known to the children and show pictures or even better the vegetables from a basket.

Younger children can play this game as a circle / line game as in ‘Oranges and lemons’ and can choose to join a vegetable side e.g. tomatoes and runner beans. Older ones will find the circle game below more challenging and great fun. Allow the new rabbit each time to choose a vegetable.

 

Children stand on a marked spot in a circle. One child, the rabbit jumps up and down the inside the ring and pretends to nibble at the vegetables.

On the word ‘cabbage’, or other vegetable, those in the circle run to a new place. The rabbit also attempts to move into a vacant spot.

The child left without a place becomes the new rabbit and the game continues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Old Mister Rabbit, you’ve got a mighty habit

Of jumping in the garden and eating all my cabbage.

celery / carrots / lettuce etc..

 


 


 

 

One in the middle 🔊

 

 


A very similar tune to ‘Four in the boat’ which was a popular game with my class.

http://www.singinggamesforchildren.com/A%20Cluster%202.1%20HSAAWG/HSAAWG%20web%2022to28%20waveswater.htm

Children hold hands and walk round in a circle, one child walks round in the centre in the opposite direction. On the last phrase those in the outer circle stop and clap the rhythm of the words. The child in the centre closes their eyes on the last phrase, turns around and points at the circle; the person they point at joins them in the middle and makes a mini circle. This continues with more joining from the outer circle until there are eight in the middle; at the end of the song they all jump up and down clapping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


One in the middle and s/he can’t get out,

One in the middle s/he can’t get out,

One in the middle and s/he can’t get out,

Oh, my Lilly, oh!

 

Two in the middle and they can’t get out…

Four in the middle and they can’t get out…

Eight in the middle and they jump for joy...


 

 

One little bluebird  🔊

 

 


A simple circle game for the very young. From ‘Music for the Nursery School’ Linda Chesterman; the source is unknown.

 

Children make a circle holding hands. One child dances in the middle ‘in the window’; she then flies out ‘in the sky’ and back in again. She chooses another child and dances aound holding hands to ‘hi tiddly…’. Next time sing ‘two little bluebirds’ then ‘four..’ and so on until all the ‘birds’ are flying freely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


One little bluebird in the window,

One little bluebird in the sky,

One little bluebird in the window,

Hi-tiddly Hi-ti-ti.

 

Two little bluebirds…

Four little bluebirds…

Eight little bluebirds…

 


 

 

One, two, three open your eyes and see 🔊

 

 


Written by Leon Rosselson in the early 1980s for ‘Interaction’ a community arts and educational project where it was performed by ‘Prof Dogg’s Troupe’.

Sing each section as many times as you like. You could also break the circle and lead into the centre in a spiral. Sing it loud and sing it soft and quieten the class down by singing ‘sh, sh, sh’ to the tune.

First verse: 1. Stamp three times, point to eyes and throw out hands. 2. Stretch hands up then touch the floor, throw out hands and point to self. 3. Make a circle repeating the the phrase ‘the left must take the right’. Second verse: 1. As before. 2. Draw a big sun, crouch down and put hands together and move upwards. 3. Repeat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


One, two, three, open your eyes and see

Sing it high and sing it low for everyone and me.

The left must take the right, all around the ring.

We’ve got to keep the circle moving, everybody sing.

 

One, two, three, open your eyes and see

The sun has made the flowers grow for everyone and me.

The left must take the right, all around the ring.

We’ve got to keep the circle moving, everybody sing.

 

One, two, three, open your eyes and see

Sing it loud and sing it soft for everyone and me.

The left must take the right, all around the ring.

We’ve got to keep the circle moving, everybody sing: Sh, sh, sh…


 

 

Our boots are made of leather O

 

 

 


This circle game is adapted from Alice E, Gillington collected games in ’Old Surrey singing games and skipping rope rhymes’.

 

The group walks round the circle in pairs. In the second half each pair turns in place while holding hands and then sink to the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Our boots are made of leather,

Our stockings are made of silk,

Our pinafores of calico,

As white as any milk.

Here we go around, around, around,

Until we touch the ground,

Here we go around, around, around,

Until we touch the ground.

 



 

 

Pass the ball / Mawga Nanny 🔊

 

 


A song from Jamaica. In the 1970s I taught the children of first generation Jamaican immigrants in Handsworth, Birmingham and had great fun finding music from the West Indian tradition especially calypsos.

I wish I had found this game at the time, indeed it featured on BBC Schools ‘Music Time’ and was first broadcast in 1970 when the Spinners were the Autumn end-of-term guests. This song was sung by Cliff Hall but was not published in their booklet, you can find the programme at:

http://www.broadcastforschools.co.uk/site/Music_Time/Peter_and_the_Wolf  

and more at: http://mudcat.org/detail_pf.cfm?messages__Message_ID=3176911

 

Children sit in a circle with hands behind them, one child kneels in the centre. A small ball is passed round the circle while ‘Jigga nanny’ to guess who has the ball at the end of the song. If correct places are swapped and the game continues. The trick is to feign passing the ball round the circle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The play begins and the ball goes round,

Mawga Nanny show me how the ball goes round,

The play begins and the ball goes round,

Mawga Nanny show me how the ball goes round.

Play boy, play, play with a play,

Mawga Nanny show me how the ball goes round.

 

We pass the ball, and the ball goes round,

Jigga Nanny show me how how the ball goes round.

We pass the ball, and the ball goes round,

Jigga Nanny show me how how the ball goes round,

Play boy, play, play with a play,

Jigga Nanny show me how the ball goes round.

We pass the ball, and the ball goes round,

Jigga Nanny show me how how the ball goes round.


 

 

Pass the pebble on 🔊

 

 


A Ghanaian children’s song found in Scholastics ‘Singing and dancing games’ published in 1987, I still have the cassette! The English translation of the African words is: Tell the ship that is leaving to wait for a message; if you go send my greetings to King Taki. I am going to Adabraka to find a place.

 

Children kneel in a circle, each child has a bean bag.

1. Sing the song through clapping the first and third beat of the bar; supported by a steady drum beat. 2. Children pass their bean bag to the right on the first beat and and swing arm back to pick up the next one on the second beat. 3. Children have achieved this steady movement play the drum at a faster speed. 4. Continue to increase speed. If a child drops the beanbag they stand outside the circle clappng the beat with the drummer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pass the pebble on,

Try to keep it steady.

Pass the pebble on,

Try to keep it steady.

You’ll soon be out if you don’t move

In time to the beat!

You’ll soon be out if you don’t move

In time to the beat!

 

Mele ni yaa ee Damoshe me shebo

Mele ni yaa ee Damoshe me shebo

Ke otay yaake manche Taki ake mingbi

Ke nigbe woyaa woyaa Ada braka wuamo gbayee.


 

 

Peep squirrel O

 

 


This song is sometimes played as a knee bouncing game.

 

Line 1-4: Children walk clockwise in a circle holding hands. One child, the hunter, walks round outside in the opposite direction. Another child, the squirrel, stands in the centre with hand to eyes looking out for the hunter.

Line 5-7. The circle stops and raises hands to make arches like trees. The squirrel exits through an arch, runs round the outside and tries to get back through the arch without being caught by the hunter.

If successful the squirrel has another turn and a new hunter is chosen. If caught the hunter remains and a new squirrel is picked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Peep squirrel, peep squirrel,

Do-da, did-dle-um, do-da, did-dle-um,

Peep squirrel, peep squirrel,

Do-da, did-dle-um dum.

I’ve got to get out of here,

Day’s a-breakin’, sun’s a-rising,

Bet you five dollars I’ll get out of here.

 

Hop squirrel, hop squirrel,

Do-da, did-dle-um, do-da, did-dle-um,

Hop squirrel, hop squirrel,

Do-da, did-dle-um dum.

I’ve got to get out of here…

 

Run squirrel…


 

 

Poor Jenny sits a-weeping O

 

 


Several versions of this playground song were noted by Iona and Peter Opie in their book ‘The Singing game’. This version is similar to the one I sang in the playground as a child – I think!

 

Children walk round in a circle holding hands – one child ‘Jenny’ sits in the middle with hands to her eyes. ‘Jenny’ sings the third verse and then stands up and chooses a new child and skips round inside the circle. On the last verse they shake hands and the game begins again. If a boy is chosen sing ‘Poor Johnny sits a-weeping’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Poor Jenny sits a-weeping,

A-weeping, a-weeping,

Poor Jenny sits a-weeping

On a bright summer’s day.

 

Pray tell us why you’re weeping,

You’re weeping, you’re weeping,

Pray tell us why you’re weeping,

On a bright summer's day?

 

I'm weeping for my true love,

My true love, my true love,

I'm weeping for my true love,

On a bright summer's day.

 

Stand up and choose a playmate,

A playmate, a playmate,

Stand up and choose a playmate,

On a bright summer's day.

 

Shake hands before you leave her,

You leave her, you leave her,

Shake hands before you leave her,

On a bright summer's day.

 

 


 

 

 

Push the business on O

 

 


This traditional circle game was collected by Cecil J. Sharp.

According to the Opies in ‘The Singing game’ it was popular dance at Sunday School socials but died out in the 1920s.

It appeared more recently in the Ladybird book of ‘Dancing games’ in 1976 but I don’t recall playing this in class or the playground.

 

The players stand in a circle holding hands with boys and girls alternating; alternatively children could be labelled with coloured bands.

Line 1-3 The circle skips round to the right.

Line 4-5 Partners face each other clapping their hands in time to the music.

Line 6-7 Partners join both hands and swing round changing places to end up ready to play again with a new partner.

This sequence is repeated each time the song is sung until everyone is back in their original place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I'll buy a horse and steal a gig,

And all the world shall have a jig;

And I'll do all that ever I can

To push the business on,

To push the business on;

And I'll do all that ever I can

To push the business on.

 

 

 

Put your little foot O

 

 


This was originally called ‘La Varsovienne’, a very old dance tune which means "the lady from Warsaw". It is a dance in 3/4 time, similar to the Mazurka, which originated in Poland in the 1850’s. Later it became popular as a ballroom dance in Paris; in Texas it became a cowboy dance and more familiar as ‘Put your little foot’.

 

The dance below is for older children. Younger ones can, individually or in pairs, tap one foot and then the other to the music, then step left and right as below and lastly walk forwards and turn in time to the words of the song.

 

Verse 1: Children stand in a circle holding hands. Place tip of left foot to the right of right foot and then back to the left where the right foot slides to join it; stamp twice. Repeat this sequence with the right foot.

Verse 2: Step to the right with both feet, step to the left, step back and then forward. Repeat sequence one more time.

Verse 3: Walk round the circle facing to the left, turn and walk back. Repeat this sequence three more times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Put your little foot, put your little foot, put your little foot right there;

Put your little foot, put your little foot, put your little foot right there.

 

}x2

 
Take a step to the right, take a step to the left;

Take a step to the rear, but forever stay near.

 

Put your little foot, put your little foot, put your little foot right there;

Put your little foot, put your little foot, put your little foot right there.

 

}x2

 
Walk and walk and walk, and walk and turn;

Walk and walk and walk, and walk and turn.

 

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