Games & Songs

Records show that European boys started jumping rope (or skipping) in the early 17th century. The activity was considered indecent for girls because they might show their ankles. There were no associated chants until the early 18th century when girls began to jump rope. They added the chants, owned the rope, controlled the game, and decided who participated. These chants are unusual inasmuch as they were transmitted from child to child usually without an underlying reason, as opposed to nursery rhymes which were transmitted from adult to child and often contained a moral. We have faithfully recorded ten of the most popular here. They tend to include nonsense or silly words to make children laugh. Unless specified, the aim of each game is to last as long as the chant continues without missing a jump.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around, (Jumper turns around) 
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground, (Jumper touches the ground)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, show your shoe, (Jumper touches shoe)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, that will do!
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go upstairs, (Jumper pantomimes going up stairs)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers, (Jumper folds hands)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn out the lights, (Jumper pantomimes turning out light switch)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say good-night!

Mabel Mabel

Mabel, Mabel, set the table. 
Do it as fast as you are able.
(Keep repeating salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard while turning the rope. If the jumper misses on "pepper", then the turners begin turning fast.)

Three A-Larry

One, two, three A-larry, 
My first name is Mary.
Don’t you think that I look cute?
In my brother’s bathing suit


Cinderella, dressed in yellow went upstairs to kiss a 'fella 
made a mistake and kissed a snake
how many doctors did it take?
[count until the jumper misses a skip]

Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack 
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back.
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 50 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.
They jumped so high, high, high
They reached the sky, sky, sky
They never came back, back back
Till the 4th of July, ly, ly!
July can’t walk, walk, walk
July can’t talk, talk, talk
July can’t eat, eat, eat
With a knife and fork, fork, fork


7 up, 7 up, count to 11 up 1 2 3, 4 5 6, 7 8 9 10 11 
6 up, 6 up, do the splits up 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
5 up, 5 up, touch your side up 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
4 up, 4 up, touch the floor up 1, 2, 3, 4
3 up, 3 up, touch your knee up 1, 2, 3
2 up, 2 up, touch your shoe up 1, 2
1 up, 1 up, you're all done up

My Mother Gave Me a Nickel

My mother gave me a nickel 
My father gave me a dime
My sister gave me a boyfriend
His name is Frankenstein (or) to kiss him all the time.
He made me wash the dishes
He made me wash the floor
He made me wash his underwear
So I kicked him out the door.
I kicked him to Los Angeles
I kicked him to Japan
I also kicked him everywhere
without his underwear.

Texaco Mexico

Texaco Mexico, (Turners turn rope) 
Went over the hill, (Jumper jumps into the moving rope)
Where far away, (Jumper jumps)
And they do some splits, splits, splits, (Jumper executes splits)
And they turn around round round, (Jumper turns around)
And they touch the ground, ground, (Jumper touches the ground)
And they do some kicks, kicks, kicks, (Jumper does kicks)
And they pay their taxes, taxes, taxes, (Jumper slaps hand of turner)
And they get outa town, town, town, (Jumper moves out of the rope)
And they jump back in, in, in, (Jumper jumps back into the rope)
And that’s the end, end, end (Jumper jumps out of the rope)

Ice Cream Soda

Vanilla berry punch 
Tell me the name of your honey bunch
Is it A, B, C, D (etc.)

(The letter that you miss on is the first initial of your boyfriend or girlfriend. Whereas in other rhymes the aim is to jump as long as possible, in this rhyme the jumper sometimes intentionally miss on the initial of first name of a boy or girl they like.)

Blueberry Street

My mother your mother lived across the street
Eighteen nineteen
Blueberry Street
Everytime they had a fight
This is what they said
Boys are rotten
Made out of cotton
Girls are handy
Made out of candy
Boys go to Jupiter
‘Cause they’re more stupider
Girls go to college
To get more knowledge
Boys drink beer
to get more fear
Girls drink Pepsi
to get more sexy
Inky binky soda pop,
inky binky boo
inky binky soda pop
a boy loves you