Playground and outside games

(Most singing games can be played outside but the ones

below are more suited to an outdoor environment or are

traditionally played outdoors)

Blackthorn! Blackthorn!

Bluebells, cockle shells

Buttercups and daisies dancing

Chickama Chickama craney crow

Dancing around the Juniper tree

Father, mother may I go / Banks of roses

One, two, three O’Leary

Our gallant gallant ship

Poor Jenny sits a-weeping

Mrs. Macaroni

“Stop!” says the red light

Walking in the green grass

 

Last updated: 8/8/2017 8:35 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

·       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.

 


 

 

 

Blackthorn! Blackthorn! O

 

 


A call and response catch game from Yorkshire.

 

A set of children stand with backs to the wall. One children stands in the middle of the playground. After the song is sung the group run across the playground and the child in the middle catches as many ‘geese’ as possible. They join the catcher in the centre and the game is repeated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Blackthorn! Blackthorn!

Buttermilk and barley corn.

How many geese have you to-day?

More than you can catch and carry away.


 

 

 

Bluebells, cockle shells O

 

 


A partner game for outdoor play.

Longer versions are also used for skipping such as: Bluebells, cockle shells, eevy ivy over, My mother sent me to the store And this is what she sent me for: Salt, vinegar, pepper, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… Continue counting to see which child can skip the longest.

 

Two children with hands joined swing arms from side to side in time to the music.

On the word 'over' they move under an arch formed by one arm of each partner. They remain back to back swinging arms while the song is repeated and on the second 'over' both turn back through the arch to face each other once again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bluebells, cockle shells,

Eevy, ivy, over,

Bluebells, cockle shells,

Eevy, ivy, over!

 


 

 

 

Buttercups and daisies dancing O

 

A song for Spring.

This game which is played in a similar manner to ‘A-tisket, a-tasket‘ and is an adaptation by Dany Rosevear of the Australian game song ‘Jacaranda’ to reflect the flora of the British Isles. The gentle Chinese sounding tune (let me know if you know its origins) is so beautiful that it was worth the trouble. If you live in a country where there are no buttercups and daisies or indeed jacarandas then make up your own version with the native plants of your homeland!

 

Ideally this game would be played outside and accompany daisy chain making.

 

Sit in a circle with hands covering eyes. As the circle sings a child with a little basket walks round the outside and drops a daisy on a child’s head. This child then jumps up and runs in the opposite direction to the dropper aiming to reach the vacated space before them. If successful they become the new child to walk round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hide your eyes from the sky! x2

 

Buttercups and daisies dancing,

In the green grass of my garden.

I have made a daisy chain

But one has fallen out again.

One, two, three, look and see,

Where, oh where can my daisy be?

 


 

 

Chickama Chickama craney crow O

 

A playground game very similar to the more familiar ‘What’s the time Mr. Wolf?’

 

Children (the chickens) stand against the wall facing the witch. The children at the end of the song ask her ‘What time is it Mrs Witch?’ She answers a time for instance ‘3 o’clock’ The children continue to ask the question until she says ’12  o’clock’ at which the children then run to a home base as the witch chases and tries catches a child who becomes the new witch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chickama Chickama craney crow,

Went to the well to wash his toes,

When he got back his chicken was gone.

What time is it Mrs. Witch?

 

SPOKEN:

Three o’clock!

What time is it Mrs. Witch?

Six o’clock!

What time is it Mrs. Witch?

Twelve o’clock!

 


 

 

Dancing around the Juniper tree 🔊

 

 


A Swedish game to play round a favourite tree, the name of the tree can be changed (old oak, chestnut, little fir). It comes from ‘Sociable songs book 1A’, the English words were written by Anne Mendoza. Encourage children to suggest their own movements for each day of the week.

 

Hold hands in a circle and move as suggested round in a circle. For ‘swinging’ stand still and swing hands up and down. Last verse turn to a partner and clap a simple or more complex pattern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dancing around the Juniper tree,

Juniper tree, Juniper tree,

Dancing around the Juniper tree,

All on a Monday morning.

 

Skipping around…

All on a Tuesday morning.

 

Walking around…

All on a Wednesday morning.

 

Running… Thursday

Jumping… Friday

Swinging… Saturday

Clapping our hands round the… Sunday

 


 

 

 

Father, mother may I go / Banks of roses 🔊

 

 


A playground line game from Kirkoswold, Cumberland recorded by the Rev Canon Thornley 1900 in the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Transactions p273 https://archive.org/stream/transactionscum01socigoog#page/n320/mode/2up/search/banks+of+roses 

The original tune was more like ‘London Bridge is falling down’ (s,s:s,f|m,f:s |r,m:f |r,m:f | s,s:s,f |m,f:s |r :m|r,d: )

 

Three children representing the child, father and mother stand with their backs to a wall. They face a row of children.  The child sings the first verse, answered by the mother and father (alternatively all can sing both verses). The child then skips to the row takes the named child by the hand, brings her out of the line, and holding each other's hands they whirl round as fast as they can. Places are exchanged, and the game continues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Father, mother, may I go.

May I go, may I go.

Father, mother, may I go,

Across the banks of roses?

 

Yes, for Mary, you may go,

You may go, you may go,

Pick up your tails and away you go,

Across the banks of roses.


 

 

One, two, three O'Leary 🔊

 

 


A playground chant and ball game that has been heard in various forms throughout Ireland and Scotland; this one with slight modifications comes from the streets of Dublin, around the 1930s and was recorded by Dominic Behan on ‘The singing streets’. Find out more at: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=11034

 

The ball is bounced to the chant and when O’Leary is sung the leg is passed over the ball.

It can also be played with two balls up against a wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


One, two, three O'Leary,

Four, five, six O'Leary,

Seven, eight, nine O'Leary,

Ten O'Leary, postman!

 

Open the gate and let me in, sir,

I am soaking to the skin, sir,

Open the gate and let me in, sir,

Just to post a letter.


 

 

 

Our gallant gallant ship O

 

This verse was originally taken from the song ‘The Mermaid’ but I remember playing something like this in the playground as a singing game in the 1950s.

 

Stand in a circle holding hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Oh, three times round went our gallant, gallant ship,

And three times round went she,

And three times round went our gallant, gallant ship,

Then she sank to the bottom of the sea, the sea, the sea,

Yes, she sank to the bottom of the sea.

Walk round in a jaunty manner. On the word ‘sank’ bob down then up swaying from side to side for ‘the sea’ etc.. On the second ‘sank’ bob down and stay sitting on heels. It won’t be easy

 

Children might enjoy the original chorus too:

Well the raging seas did roar,

And the stormy winds did blow,

And we jolly sailor boys were up, were up aloft,

And the landlubbers lying down below, below, below,

And the landlubbers lying down below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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’. The version below 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.

 


 

 

Mrs. Macaroni O

 

Several versions of this playground song were noted by Iona and Peter Opie in their book ‘The Singing game’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Here comes Mrs. Macaroni,

Riding on her big fat pony,

Here she comes in all her glory,

Mrs. Macaroni

The circle holding hands skip smartly round a child in the centre. On ‘Mrs. Macaroni’ this child chooses a partner.

The circle stands still and claps as the two skip round with hands crossed in front.

Rum tum, rum tum, Suzyanna,

Rum tum, rum tum, Suzyanna,

Rum tum, rum tum, Suzyanna,

Mrs. Macaroni.

The game then continues with the second child left inside the circle.

 


 

“Stop!” says the red light O

 

A great game for outdoor play.

 

Everyone pretends to be a car except one child chosen to be the policeman. This child puts a hand up when the light is red and beckons when it is green. On the green light the children move around. On amber they move more slowly with hands open and closing like flashing lights. Any child who is moving when the lights are red is caught by the policeman who parks them to the side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“Stop!” says the red light,

“Go!” says the green,

“Careful!” says the amber light,

Flashing in between.

 

That is what they say

And that is what they mean.

We must all obey them,

Even the Queen!


 

 

Walking in the green grass O

 

 


A singing game from Pennsylvania. An ideal outdoor play activity and for children to suggest their own movements for everyone to copy. Encourage fast and slow movements.

 

Actions:

Move as suggested by the words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Walking in the green grass,

Green grass, green grass;

Walking in the green grass,

So early in the morning.

 

Running in the green grass...

Jumping in the green grass...

Tiptoe in the green grass...

Stamping in the green grass...

Skipping in the green grass...

So early in the morning.

 

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