- Jump-rope rhyme
A skipping rhyme (occasionally skipping-rope rhyme or jump-rope rhyme), is a rhyme chanted by
childrenwhile skipping. Such rhymes have been recorded in all cultures where skipping is played. Examples of English-language rhymes have been found going back to at least the 17th century. Like most folklore, skipping rhymes tend be found in many different variations.
Rhymes from the 1940s
Following is a 1940s rhyme from West Los Angeles.
:Charlie Chaplin went to France:To teach the ladies how to dance.:First the heel, then the toe,:Then the splits, and around you go!:Salute to the Captain,:Bow to the Queen,:And turn your back on the Nazi submarine!:Not last night but the night before:Forty-four robbers came knocking at my door!:Call for the doctor, call for the nurse, :And call for the lady with the alligator purse!:In came the doctor, in came the nurse,:And in came the lady with the alligator purse.:Out went the doctor, out went the nurse,:And out went the lady with the alligator purse!:Spanish dancer, turn around,:Spanish dancer, touch the ground.:Spanish dancer, do a high kick,:Spanish dancer, get out of town quick!:All in together, birds of a feather::January, February, March, April, May, etc. (each child had to jump in during the month they were born):Ice cream soda, Delaware Punch,:Tell me the name of my honey-bunch.:A, B, C, etc.:. . . And don't forget the RED HOT PEPPERS (and the turners would turn the rope as fast as they could).
Rhymes from the 1950s
Some rhymes are intended to count the number of jumps the skipper takes without stumbling. These rhymes can take very simple forms, such as this chant collected in
Londonin the 1950s:
:Big Ben strikes one,:Big Ben strikes two,:Big Ben strikes three,:(etc.)
Other counting chants are more sophisticated, beginning with a rhyme and then counting the number of jumps to answer a question posed in the last line.
Cinderella:Dressed in yella:Went downstairs to kiss her fella.:She made a mistake:And kissed a snake.:How many doctors will it take?:1! 2! 3! 4! (etc.)
Australian version of this rhyme was very popular in the 1960s
Cinderella:Dressed in yella:Went to meet her handsome fella.:On the way her undies busted:How many people were disgusted?:1! 2! 3! 4! (etc.)
Another rhyme with a definite sadistic twist. The fifth line is not said in the same rhythm as the preceding four, but is instead much faster.
:Had a little sports car,:Two-forty-eight,:Ran around the cor-("skipper jumps out, and turners continue the syllable until they reenter")-ner:and SLAMMED on the brakes!:Policeman caught me and put me in jail:All I had was gingerale:How many bottles did I drink?:Goes, 10! 20! 30! 40!
:Had a little car car,:Two-forty-eight,:Ran around the cor-("skipper jumps out, and turners continue the syllable until they reenter")-ner:and slammed on the brakes!:Policeman caught mePut me on his knee,Asked me a questionWill you marry me?Yes, No, Maybe So (repeated)
:Another skipping rhyme, but is more modern. Once the alphabet finishes, kids continue with numbers until skipper catches rope. It is natural for kids to use the letter that the skipper lost on and to use it to find someone's name following the rule of either best friend or boyfriend, depending on what is chosen in the beginning.:Ice cream, Soda pop, cherry on top,:Who's your best friend, let's find out;:Goes A! B! C!or
:Ice cream soda, cherry on top:Who's your boyfriend/girlfriend, I forgot;:Is it an A! B! C!
Skipping rhymes don't always have to be rhymes, however. They can be games, such as a game called, "School." In "Kindergarten" (the first round), all skippers must run through rope without skipping. In "First Grade", all skippers must skip in, skip once, and skip out without getting caught in the rope, and so on. Also, there is "Mouse Trap", where there is a special pattern, and players must run through rope without getting caught. If caught, the jumper caught must hold the rope.
Many rhymes consist of pure nonsense, often with a suggestion of naughtiness:
:Fudge, fudge, call the judge,:Mama had a baby.:Wrap it up in tissue paper,:Stick it in the elevator.:Mama called the doctor,:The doctor called the nurse,:The nurse called the lady with the alligator purse.:'
Mumps' said the doctor,:'Mumps,' said the nurse,:'Mumps' said the lady with the alligator purse.
Variant::Fudge, Fudge, call the judge,:(Name of jumper)'s going to have a baby.:Wrap it up in toilet paper,:Send it down the elevator.:Boy, Girl, Twins, Triplets. (last line repeated until jumper fails) Another:
:Three, six, nine:The goose drank wine:The monkey chewed tobacco on the telephone line:The line, it broke:The goose got choked:And they all went to
heavenin a small rowboat
:Monkey, monkey, chew the butter:See my buttocks, there's batter:Batter, patooda, patooda, monkey monkey:Look, there's a gerbil, I'm rolling up and down:60 Minutes, where are you,:Here's an expose for you!:Hippie-da-da! Hippie-da-da!
:Fatty and Skinny went to bed:Fatty let a fart and Skinny went dead:Fatty called the doctor and the doctor said::"If Fatty lets another fart we'll all be dead!"
:Fatty, Fatty, two by four,:Couldn't get through the bathroom door,:So he did it on the floor,:Licked it up and did some more!
:Liar, liar, pants on fire,:Your belt's hanging on the telephone wire!
:Liar, liar, pants on fire,:Your nose is long as a telephone wire!
Yet another variation::Liar, liar, pants on fire,:Hanging by a thread on a telephone wire!
And another (only for girls)::My bra's too tight:My booty's shakin' left to right:I have lovely lips:You can't handle these hips:Look at my legs :And look at my body:I just look like Eva Longoria:And Jessy Alba
Pretty Little Dutch Girl
main|Pretty Little Dutch Girl
"Pretty Little Dutch Girl" is an example of an international rhyme. If one sings it, it is generally sung to the tune of "A Sailor Went to Sea".
Other rhymes are highly topical, and sometimes survive long after the events that inspired them have disappeared from the headlines. Perhaps the most notorious rhyme of this type is one that began circulating during the 1892 trial of
:Lizzie Borden took an axe:And gave her mother twenty whacks,:When she saw what she had done,:She gave her father twenty-one.
And::I had a little bird, its name was Enza.:I opened the window and..:In-Flew-Enza.
This was of course, referring to the 1918 Flu Pandemic.
Sometimes, rhymes have been known to offend people of different race and nationalities. This one offends Asians intentionally and children usually do not admit to this at first:
:My parents have slant eyes:My mother's Chinese:My father's
Japanese:My brother's Taiwanese:My sister's Vietnamese
Pretty Little Dutch Girl, an example of a jump rope rhyme
* Opie, Peter and Iona. "The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren."
Oxford University Press, 1959.
* [http://www.gameskidsplay.net/jump_rope_ryhmes/ Jump-Rope Rhymes] from gameskidsplay.net.
* [http://www.beachnet.com/~jeanettem/chants.html Chants, Clapping Games, and Jump Rope Rhymes]
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