In this first installment of In The Good Old Summertime series I will be sharing a handful of rhymes. You will notice as we go along that I will be sharing many different rhymes. Unfortunately, today many children know few or no rhymes. It truly is a shame because learning rhymes helps children in many ways.
*It aids in language development
*It helps children develop reading skills by learning patterns
*It helps young children develop math concepts
*It aids in memory development
*It encourages creative expression and dramatization
*It instills a sense of cultural belonging
*It becomes part of the socialization process
*It helps children become confident public speakers
Many of the rhymes that we learned as children were taught to us by our parents. Most children could recite any number of nursery rhymes. But most of the rhymes we learned in association to games, came from older children and peers on the playground or in the neighborhood making learning rhymes a highly social affair! I say, "Three cheers for rhymes!" and hope that you share many of these, and rhymes you learned as a child, with your children. It really is good for them :)
Before you can even think about playing many outdoor games, you have to figure out who goes first, or who is "It". Although occasionally "It" was a desirable position, like when we played Statues, more often than not, you did not want to be "It". For that reason, there were many ways designed to determine who was "It".
Most methods of choosing "It" involved a counting rhyme. For that reason, these are often referred to as Counting Out Rhymes. There were some very simple rhymes, and others that were more difficult than the game itself! I just taught the wee ones One Potato, pictured above. They had so much fun this actually became the game, with them repeating the choosing process over and over again.
Here is a list of the Counting Out Rhymes we used. There are almost as many variations of these rhymes as there are groups of children that use them. I am sharing our version :)
NOTE: Depending on the Counting Out Rhyme and the group of children, sometimes the first person picked is “It” and sometimes you go until the last person standing is “It”. It really doesn’t matter… just make sure everyone knows the rules before you start! Traditionally, we stood in a circle around whoever was saying the rhyme. In our group, whoever thought of the game got to be the "chooser", pick their favorite rhyme and perform the Counting Out.
Definitely the easiest Counting Out Game. When someone suggests a game like "Tag", everyone yells "Not It". The last one to say "Not It" becomes "It". Fast, but sometimes confusing as to who is the last one to shout "Not It".
DIRTY ROTTEN EGG
When someone thought of a game, they'd yell, "The last one to the porch (or tree, or where ever) is a dirty rotten egg!" Everyone would run to the destination, and besides becoming a "dirty rotten egg", you were also "It".
1 potato, 2 potatoes, 3 potatoes, 4,
5 potatoes, 6 potatoes, 7 potatoes, more.
(This was my personal favorite. People stood in a circle with their 2 “potato” fists in front of them. The chooser said the rhyme going around the circle hitting each fist in turn. When she came to “more”, the fist that was hit was put behind the player’s back, and the rhyme continued until 1 fist was left in the middle. That person became “It”.)
EENY, MEENY, MINY, MOE
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If it hollers let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
My mother told me to pick the very best one and you’re [not] it!
(We always said “and you’re it”. A “It” was selected and the game began.)
INKA-DINK A BOTTLE OF INK
Inka-dink, a bottle of ink,
The cork fell out, and you stink.
(That’s where we quit. One person was out and we moved on. This is the full traditional version.)
Not because you're dirty,
Not because you're clean –
Just because you kissed a girl behind the magazine,
And you are it!
ENGINE, ENGINE, NUMBER NINE
Engine, engine number nine,
Going down Chicago line.
If the train falls off the track,
Do you want your money back?
(The person you land on would say “yes” or “no”. You continue spelling out yes or no)
N.O. spells no,
You don’t get your money back.
Y.E.S. spells yes,
You shall get your money back.
In a dish,
How many pieces,
Do you wish?
(Whomever the rhyme ends with chooses a number. That many numbers are counted. The person you stop on is out and the play continues.)
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
We used this method when there were just 2 people playing a game. This was used more to see who went first, rather than who was "It". The play was simple. There were 3 hand gestures that could be made:
a closed fist was a "rock"
an open hand was "paper"
and your pointer and middle finger extended sideways in a "V" were "scissors"
You would make a fist and count off 1, 2, 3 shaking your fist in front of you with each number. On 3, you either made the sign for a rock, paper or scissors.
The winner was determined in this manner:
paper could cover rock so: paper beats rock
rock can break scissors so: rock beats scissors
scissors can cut paper so: scissors beats paper
If both people used the same gesture, it was a tie and repeated until a winner was determined and they could go "first" or they were "It".
NOTE: We played Rock, Paper, Scissors when we were children, however, I have since learned an addition to this game that the geek in me must share. It is played like above with 2 more gestures. It is...
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, LIZARD, SPOCK
To learn about the game and its rules, check out this site http://www.samkass.com/theories/RPSSL.html
Can you think of any other rhymes or methods you used as a child? Do share!