Thursday, October 30, 2014

(Q, R) Hand Clap & Jump Rope Rhymes

Edited by Azizi Powell

This cocojams2 series showcases examples of English language hand clap & jump rope rhymes, with a special focus on examples from African American culture. The pages present examples whose "titles" begin with the featured two letters, with the exception of post #11 in this series which features examples whose titles begin with the letters "u" - "z".)

Unless otherwise indicated, the examples given below were (or "are") "hand clap rhymes".

This cocojams2 series on English language hand clap and jump rope rhymes isn't meant to be a comprehensive listing of those rhymes. For instance, I've chosen not to include a number of versions of rhymes that are generally found on other children's rhyme sites.

A number of these rhymes are featured in posts on my pancocojams blog. Click and either enter that rhyme's name or enter the words "children's rhymes" or "African American rhymes and cheers".

Also, a number of the examples in this collection were featured on my cultural website that was online since December 2001. That website vanished late October 2014 [!?!) and I am partially recreating its playground rhymes pages from back-up files and from recent internet "rhyme harvesting". That's the story behind this blog name cocojams2.


The content of this post is presented for folkloric and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who have contributed to this collection.


Note: These examples are published in alphabetical order based on their titles or the first few words of their first line. Multiple versions of specific rhymes are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date online or their collection date, with the oldest dated examples presented first.

Q, R

quack diddly oso
quack quack quack
singing sam a rico rico rico rico
flora flora flora flora flora
1234 -
TheDelaney121 (viewer comment) ; "Quack Diddly O' So, July 2010
"Quack Dilly Oso" (and similarly spelled names) is a hand slapping game that is played by a group of people standing (or, less often, sitting) in a circle. A designator starter slaps the hand of the person on her or his right while the group says the first word. That person slaps the hand of the person to her or his right while the group chants the next syllable. This continues with each syllable (or one syllable word) until the last syllable is chanted. The person whose hand is slapped on that last syllable is out. This continues until there are only two people remaining. Those two face each other and take turns slapping each other's hand while chanting the rhyme. The person whose hand is slapped at the end is "out" and the other person is the "winner".

Other hand slapping games are "Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky" and "Stella Ella Ola" (also known as "Stella Ola Ola", "Strolla Ola Ola" and "Slap Billyola". Examples of those rhymes will be included in cocojams2 posts.

While "hand clapping games" are considered something only girls under 13 years of age do, an increasing number of female and male teens and adults play these lightly competitive hand slapping games.


A QUACK A DILLY OMO (Version #2)
This is so great to read - I love how oral tradition has changed and modified it - the song has different dialects :)

In upstate NY, I learned:

A quack a dilly oma
quack quack quack
Hey chico, chico,
Chico, chico, Chack
Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow
Follow 1-2-3-4

For ours 4 was the "get out" number with the same right hand to left hand clapping. Once down to 2 players though, the after singing the number "4", the chanting went "i declare a thumb war - kiss. bow. begin" and the thumb war determined the ultimate winner.

As a music teacher now in CT, I pass on my version to my students - though I had no idea until now that it existed in so many different variations. Can't even remember where I learned it but I've been teaching it since working at camps in high school.
-Guest Erin, "Kids chant Stella Ola Ola / Stella Ella Ola", July 5, 2010


I have another Hand Clap that I like. It's called Resses Peices Butter-Cup! It goes like this:

Resses Peices Butter-Cup
Come On Girl(or your name) Show your Stuff
My Back Aches, My Skirts Too Tight,
My Hips Shake From Left To Right:
Left To Right, Left-Left To Right-Right
Left To Right, Left-Left To Right!

(By: **!!Enforcers Cheer Girl!!** Date Recited: ?-2007 Recited By: Me, My Friends, A Lot Of Other People, And Cheerleaders Around The World (Boys And Girls)
-Cheer Girl; 2/11/2007
The first part of this rhyme is from "Brickwall Waterfall". The remainder of this rhyme-beginning with the line "My Back Aches, My Skirts Too Tight"-is from the rhyme "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train".

Examples of "Brickwall Waterfall" will be included in cocojams2's chldren's taunting rhymes post. Examples of "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train" will be included in cocojams2's children's game songs and movement rhymes page.


Editor's Note: "Rockin Robin" rhymes are also called "Tweedleelee", "Tweet Baby" and similarly sounding words.

TWEEDLEELEE (also known as "Rockin Robin" or "Tweet Baby", etc.)
(My Prop)
Popsicle, popsicle, Your butt stinks

He rocks in the tree top
all day long
huffin and ah puffin
and ah singin his song.
All the little birds on Jay Bird street
Love to hear the bird go
Tweet Tweet Tweet!

Rockin Robin
Tweet Tweetdalee
Rockin Robin
Tweet Tweetdalee

I went downtown
To get ah stick of butter.
I saw James Brown
layin in the gutter.
I saw a piece of glass
stickin in his butt.
I never saw a Black man
run so fast.

Mama's in the kitchen
cookin rice.
Daddy's outside
shootin dice.
Brother's in jail
raisin bail.
Sister's on the corner
Selling fruit cock tail

Rockin Robin
Tweet Tweetdalee
Rockin Robin
Tweet Tweetdalee
-African American girls and boys ages 6-13 years old, Pittsburgh, Pa, 1999, Northview Heights [The Buddy Program; a coed after-school program for elementary school children]; collected by Azizi Powell, 1999
From 2000-2005, the years that I actively collected playgroun rhymes in African American communities in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylbania, the most widely known rhyme and what appeared to be the favorite rhyme was "Rockin Robin". That rhyme was most often known as "Tweeleelee", "Tweedalee", "Tweet Baby" or some similar sounding word or words.

My observations were that -unlike other hand clap rhymes-"Rockin Robin" was usually performed as a four person hand clapping game. Here's a descrption of that movement pattern that refers to another rhyme ("Ooh Ah, I want A Piece Of Pie"), but also fits performances of "Rockin Robin":
From "Those Clapping Games, posted by ADH13 on 03/04/05
"There was another one we used to do with 4 people and we'd clap to the person on the left, then to the person on the right, then reach up and clap to the person across from us, then scrunch down and clap to the person across from us again, then keep repeating the pattern."

I'm breaking my "no videos on cocojams2" rule and embedding the following video which shows that four person hand clap pattern:

Rockin' Robin part 2

Posted by OMGxxWeeWaa / July 01, 2007

"science class, last day of school"

The words to the example of "Rockin Robin" that are given above are sanitized (self-censored). That rhyme contains profanity, particularly the "James Brown" verse. The "sister on the corner selling fruit cock tail" means that she was prostituting. The accompanying movements to that line allude to that as the words "Fruit Cock Tail" were emphasized and girls switched their butts in time with the beat of each syllable of that phrase. I've also seen girls touch the back of their butts while saying those syllables.

However, when I asked children did they know "Tweeleelee" or when I asked them which rhymes they knew and they chanted that rhyme without any prompting from me, I never heard any profanity. Furthermore, I don't think that every child who chants this rhyme says or knows the "dirty" version (to use the adjective that children say to describe something that contains taboo content and/or language. My experience was that some children are really "anal" about not saying anything that could possibly be considered "nasty" - for instance, the nine year old Black girl that didn't want to say the word "butt" and "bra" in the rhyme "Bang Bang Choo Choo Train" (One version of that rhyme has the lines "My bra's too tight/my butt is shaking from the left to the right."). And a 10 year old girl who was quite strong willed convinced a group of three older girls that they should all say "He [James Brown] had a stick of butter in his butter" instead of "in his butt" (Actually, the un-censored word was "ass" instead of "butt"). When I asked that girl why she changed the word "butt" to "butter", she said that "butt" wasn't a nice word.

By the way, boys up to the age of six years or so were enthusiastc about showing me how they did hand claps to this rhyme. After that age, it seemed to me that boys would chant the rhyme but didn't want to do the hand claps, perhaps they considered that to be a "girl's thing". While this age cut off for boys was true for all hand clap rhymes, my experience was that boys were much more enthusiastic about this rhyme than any other, with the possible exception of the "I Believe I Can Fly" (I got shot by the FBI) rhyme. But that rhyme is just chanted with no accompanying movements that I'm aware of.

In my experience, the cut off age for girls performing hand clap rhymes s around twelve to thirteen.

The source for the "Tweetdalee" (and similar sounding refrains) handclap rhyme was The Jackson 5's 1972 R&B song "Rockin Robin". That version of this song begins with the refrain "tweed lee ldiddly dee" or some such words.

Two African American women in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have told me that they recited this rhyme in the 1970s basically the same way it is given above.

Click "Rockin Robin (Tweeleelee) - Analysis, Performance Activity, & Text Examples"

And "Rockin Robin (Tweeleelee) - Videos".


Ronald McDonald
was ah Hamburger

Ronald McDonald
was ah hamburger

Ooh! Wishie Washie
Ah hamburger

Ooh! Wishie Washie
Ah hamburger

It tasted good, like
Ah hamburger

It tasted good, like
Ah hamburger

Ice cream soda
with a cherry on top.
Now shake it baby
Ah boom bang!
-Donetta A.(African American female), collected by Azizi Powell, early 1990s.
Donnetta told me that her younger sister taught this hand clap rhyme to her around 1976, 1977 (in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).

In the repeated phrase "a biscuit", the word "a" is pronounced "ah". This is the usual way that many African Americans pronounce the word "a", at least in our informal spoken conversations.


Ronald McDonald
loves ah__ hamburger [The dash means to pause one beat before saying the next syllable]
Ooh she she wah wah
ah___ hamburger
I fell in love
With ah __
Big Mac
Quarter Pounder
Icey coke
Milk shake
and apple pie.
You deserve a beak today
so get up and get away
At McDonald's!
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
-T.M.P.; mid 1980s; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
T.M.P. is my daughter. When this rhyme was posted on, she was an elementary school teacher. TMP shared with me that to date (2008) African American elementary school age girls & boys in her school still "do" this exact same "song" to handclaps, particulary during school bus rides to field trips.

The first lines up until "you deserve etc" is a recitation of the exact words of that McDonald's commercial. "You deserve a break today/so get up and get away/at McDonald's" is sung in the same tune and the same way as that commercial.

"And the dish ran away with the spoon" is recited. That line is from the Mother Goose rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle". I asked my daughter why she added that line to this rhyme and she said "Because it fit". :o). I have read other examples of the "Big Mac" rhyme that also end with the line "and the dish ran away with the spoon".

Examples of "Big Mac" are found in cocojams' "A, B" handclap and jump rope rhyme page.


Ronald McDonald a biscuit, a biscuit
Are shu shu wanna wanna biscuit
I’ve got a boyfriend, a biscuit
He’s soo sweet, a biscuit,
Ice cream cherry on the cherry on the top.
Ice cream cherry on the cherry on the bottom.
Down down baby
Down down the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby,
I don’t wanna let ya go. [actually let cha]
Gimme gimme lollipops
Gimme gimme pow
Gimme gimme coco pops
Gimme gimme stick-ups!
-bunnyfrogs, "Clapping Rhymes"
The comment in brackets was written by that blogger.

“Are shu shu wanna wanna” is probably a folk processed from of the scatting sounds “ooh she she wah wah”.


Thanks for visiting cocojams2.

Visitor comments and playground rhymes examples are welcome.


  1. I just found this comment about the "Rockin Robin" rhyme and self-censoring:

    Subject: Re: Those clapping songs

    Written By: AnnieBanannie on 04/30/05 at 10:56 am

    ..."We had a dirty-ish one, that went to the tune of "Rockin' Robin"

    Mama's in the kitchen, cookin' rice
    Daddy's outside, shootin' dice
    Brother's in jail, raising bail,
    Sister's on the corner selling fruit cocktail

    (on "fruit" we crossed our arms over our chests, "cock" we put out hands on our, well...y'know...and "tail," we put our hands on our butts.)

    Of course we did NOT do this in front of adults! :)"

  2. oh my godness i adore this!!!!!
    Hello admin,
    I have read your post totally and just gourgeous post have i ever read. Many thanks for posting here this informative articles.As my baby grows into a child, nursery rhymes are being sung more and more. This is a tale of one nursery rhyme which still makes me smile.
    Finger family Nursery Rhymes
    Best Regards,
    Best Music for Children


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.