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

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

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” and many more, here are the 11 best, and most essential hand-clapping games for kids. To make parents’ 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 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 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 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 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 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
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
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.