Clap Happy

11 Best Hand Clapping Games for Kids (With Video and Lyrics)

Do you know the lyrics to "Pat-a-Cake"? Are you sure?

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From the moment a kid can press their hands to your hands, hand-clapping games are going to become a thing. Parents might think they have all the best and most common hand-clapping games and hand-clapping songs memorized, but the truth is, not every hand-clapping game is intuitive or easy.

From “Pat-a-Cake” (it’s not “Patty Cake”) to “Lemonade”, here are the 11 best, and most essential hand-clapping games for kids. To make your lives easier, we’ve included videos and the most basic versions of the lyrics we can find. Just one note: If your kid doesn’t master these right away, there is nothing wrong with them. Some adults still can’t get “Lemonade” right, which, of course, is why you’re reading this.

11. Lemonade (Crunchy Ice)

I love a hand-clapping game that has a little bit of a twist to it, and this one meets those parameters. As the lyrics instruct, you gotta turn around, you gotta touch the ground, and you gotta FREEZE! First-person to move is out. Some versions of the lyrics also instruct you to kick your boyfriend out of town, never a bad idea.

Lyrics:

“Lemonade/crunchy ice/sip it once/sip it twice/lemonade/crunchy ice /made it once/made it twice/ turn around/touch the ground/kick your boyfriend out of town!”

10. Slide

This is a 2-person clapping game, and other saying the word ‘slide’ at the beginning it has no other words. The goal here is for the two partners to gradually increase speed until one of them fumbles making the other player the winner! But this game like many of the others here aren’t really about winning or losing, they’re about fun.

Lyrics:

None!

9. Concentration 64

I love this one, it’s great for road trips, you can play with two people or twenty-two people. After each line of the intro, the players clap three times. The intro ends with the word “category” at which point each player takes a turn naming something that fits that category. When everyone’s had a chance, the intro is repeated and a new category is introduced. If you hesitate, you’re out!

Lyrics:

Concentration. Sixty-four/No repeats Or hesitations I’ll go first You’ll go last Category is:

Example:

Choose a category, like animals)

Player 1: Marmot Player 2: Emu

8. Rockin’ Robin

This was a popular oldie by singer Bobby Day in 1958 that has been covered every since. But the best cover is just seeing kids stand around and do it. Warning, this one is going to be stuck in your head all the livelong day. Oh who am I kidding, they all will!

Lyrics:

Tweedly deedly dee

Tweedly deedly de Tweedly deedly dee Tweedly deedly de Tweedly deedly dee Tweedly deedly de Tweet tweet Tweet tweet

He rocks in the tree top

All day long Hoppin’ and a boppin’ And singin’ his song All the little birdies on Jaybird Street Love to hear the robin go Tweet tweet tweet Rockin’ robin (Rock, rock, rock) Rockin’ robin (Rock, rock, rock) Blow rockin’ robin cause We’re really gonna rock tonight

Every little swallow

Every chick-a-dee Every little bird in the tall oak tree The wise old owl The big black crow Flappin’ their wings singinÂ’ Go bird go Rockin’ robin (Rock, rock, rock) Rockin’ robin (Rock, rock, rock) Blow rockin’ robin cause We’re really gonna rock tonight

A pretty little raven

At the bird bandstand Taught him how to do the bop And it was grand They started going steady and Bless my soul He out-bopped the buzzard and the Oriole He rocks in the treetop All day long Hoppin’ and a boppin’ and Singin’ his song All the little birdies on Jaybird Street Love to hear the robin go Tweet tweet tweet

Rockin’ robin

(Rock, rock, rock) Rockin’ robin (Rock, rock, rock) Blow rockin’ robin cause We’re really gonna rock tonight

Tweedly deedly dee

Tweedly deedly de Tweedly deedly dee Tweedly deedly de Tweedly deedly dee Tweedly deedly de Tweet tweet Tweet tweet

7. A Sailor Went to Sea

In addition to being a super-popular hand clapping game, this one is also among the oldest. This nursery rhyme-inspired game used to be called My Father Went to Sea, but over the years morphed into the non-familial sailor. The word repetition in this one makes it popular with toddlers and older kids too.

Lyrics:

“A sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what she could see, see, see But all that she could see, see, see Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea A sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what she could see, see, see But all that she could see, see, see Was a baby shark in the deep blue seaA sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what she could see, see, see But all that she could see, see, see Was an octopus in the deep blue sea A sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what she could see, see, see But all that she could see, see, see Was a jellyfish in the deep blue seaA sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what she could see, see, see But all that she could see, see, see Was a turtle in the deep blue sea A sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what she could see, see, see But all that she could see, see, see Was a dolphin in the deep blue seaA sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what she could see, see, see But all that she could see, see, see Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea A sailor went to sea, sea, sea To see what she could see, see, see But all that she could see, see, see Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea...”

6. Down Down Baby

You might know Down Down Baby by another name—Rollercoaster! While there are countless variations of this song and clapping game, the most popular version was introduced in a segment on Sesame Street in the 1980s. We’ve been “shimmy shimmy ko ko bopp-ing” ever since.

Lyrics:

“Down, down, baby/Down by the roller coaster/ Sweet, sweet, baby /I’ll never let you go /Shimmy, Shimmy Ko Ko Bop/Shimmy Shimmy Pow/Shimmy, Shimmy Ko Ko Bop/Shimmy Shimmy Pow...”

5. Bo Bo Ski Watten Tatten

I love this one, we played often when I was a kiddo and I can’t wait to share it with my own. This is a hand-clapping version of tag. Players stand in a circle with one hand palm-up on the next player’s hand, and one hand underneath the other player’s. As the song is sun, the “clap” passes around the circle. When your palm is slapped you slap the palm of the person next to you. The winner manages to pull back their palm and avoid contact before the last notes are sung.

Lyrics:

“Bo bo ski watten tatten/ Bo bo ski watten tatten/Freeze Please American Cheese/Please don’t show your eyes to me.”

4. See See (or Say Say) My Playmate

This popular rhyme is considered by many to be the gold standard of songs for hand clapping games. It was actually derived from an early 20th century folk song called Lola. So who knows, maybe years from now children will be performing new hand clapping games loosely inspired by the work of Lil Nas X.

Lyrics:

“Say, say, oh playmate, come out and play with me. Bring out your dollies three. Climb up my apple tree. Slide down my rain barrel, Into my cellar door. And we’ll be jolly friends Forevermore!”

3. Miss Suzie

This one is popular with older kids, and for a reason! The way the rhyme is orchestrated each line ends with a saucy curse that is safely covered by the context of the line that comes next: Miss Suzie had a steamboat/the steamboat had a bell/Miss Suzie went to heaven/but the steamboat went to/Hello operator, please give me number 9/if you dare disconnect me/I will chop off your/Behind the refrigerator, and so forth.

Lyrics:

“Miss Susie had a steamboat the steamboat had a bell Miss Susie went to heaven the steamboat went to… Hello operator please give me number nine and if you disconnect me I’ll kick you from… behind the refrigerator, there was a piece of glass Miss Susie fell upon it and cut her little… ask me no more questions tell me no more lies Miss Susie told me everything the day before she… Dyed her hair in purple, dyed her hair pink, dyed her hair in polka-dots and washed it down the… Sink me in the ocean, Sink me in the sea, Sink me in/down the toilet, But please don’t pee on me!Another version: Miss Suzie had a baby, The baby’s name was Tim, She put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim, He drank up all the water, He ate up all the soap, He tried to eat the bathtub, but it wouldn’t go down his throat Miss Suzie called the doctor, Miss Suzie tried the nurse, Miss Suzie called the lady with the alligator purse, Mumps said the doctor, Measles said the nurse, Nothing said the lady with the alligator purse, Miss Suzie kicked the doctor, Miss suzie hit the nurse, And then she paid the lady with the alligator purse...”

2. Miss Mary Mac

This is another popular hand-clapping game with older roots! And did you know it isn’t about a lady? There is no Miss Mary Mac, but there was the U.S.S. Merrimac which served in the mid-1800s. The ship would have been sleek, black, and covered with rivets—metal buttons all down its back, if you will.

Lyrics:

“Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack All dressed in black, black, black With silver buttons, buttons, button All down her back, back, back She asked her mother, mother, mother For fifty cents, cents, cents To see the elephants, elephants, elephants Jump over the fence, fence, fence They jumped so high, high, high They touched the sky, sky, sky And didn’t come back, back, back Till the fourth of July, July, July...”

1. Pat-a-cake

If someone tells you they don’t know how to play a hand-clapping game, they have forgotten that they know this one and it counts. Pat-a-cake is usually the first hand-clapping game a child is taught. There are countless variations, but in most of them, the poor long-suffering parent must indeed share the eponymous cake with their offspring.

Lyrics:

“Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. Roll it, and pat it, and mark it with a “B” Put it in the oven for baby and me!”

Note: With “Pat-a-cake” you can always change the “B” to whatever letter your kid likes, and “baby” can be changed to your kids’ name, or a different baby that the song is “about.” You get it.

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