Choosing It Rhymes

CHOOSING IT (COUNTING OUT) RHYMES

This page contains selected examples, information, and comments about choosing it (counting out) rhymes. In the United Kingdom and some other nations another name for this category of children's rhymes is "dipping rhymes".

You'll notice that this page contains multiple versions of the same rhyme. I'm interested in posting multiple versions of rhymes as a way of documenting the way that the words of a particular rhyme may be the same or different in various cities, towns, and/or nations. Posting multiple examples of the same rhyme also documents the way that the words of a rhyme may change over time.

Ms. Azizi Powell, Founder/ Editor
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Latest revision - November 27, 2012

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Please send examples of choosing it / counting out rhymes to cocojams17@yahoo.com

Or if you are on facebook, visit me at cocojams jambalayah, and befriend me, or send me a private message!

Please be aware that by sharing your examples or comments with me, you are giving me permission to include it in a book or in any other off-line publication.

Although it is not required, please include information about how this rhyme is performed. Also, for the sake of folkloric research, please include the following demographical information: where you learned the rhyme {please include the city & state if within the USA, and the nation, if outside the USA}; when you learned this rhyme (year or decade such as 2008, the 1990s, or the mid 1970s); and who performed this rhyme (age, gender, race/ethnicity). Thanks!

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Examples of rhymes & cheers are almost always posted the way that readers send them to this website. Some of these examples have typos and other accidental spelling errors or have text messaging, slang, or otherwise purposely misspelled words & phrases. Many of these examples are written without any capitalization at the beginning of a line or punctuation mark at the end of line.

This free flowing writing style appears to be the prevailing way that many youth and young adults informally write on the Internet. Posting examples written this way may result in difficulty understanding the examples. However, I believe that it is important to keep the examples' original form for authenticity's sake and as a means of showcasing the examples' "flavor".

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I reserve the right not to post examples of rhymes on this page that are exactly the same as a previously posted example. I also reserve the right not to post examples of rhymes that I feel don't meet the standards of this website.

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Thanks to all those who have shared children's rhymes to Cocojams!

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EXAMPLE OF CHOOSING IT / COUNTING OUT (DIPPING) RHYMES

A, B
ACABACKA SODA CRACKER (ICKABAKA SODA CRACKER)
Editor: The featured examples in this rhyme family are posted without regard for their titles (usually the first line of the rhyme)

ICKABAKA SODA CRACKER (Version #1)
Icka backa soda cracker
Icka backa boo.
In comes out.
And out goes YOU!
-2nd grade student; Fort Pitt Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 2002

Editor:
In 2002 my daughter, a 2nd grade teacher in Pittsburgh, Penn, gave an assignment to her students to recite "choosing it" ["counting out"] rhymes. She taped their oral presentations and later played the tape so that the students could hear themselves. Knowing my interest in children's rhymes, my daughter played the tape for me, and I transcribed that tape. A number of examples on this page are from that transcription. All of these students are African Americans."Icka" is pronounced "EYE-kah". "Backa" is pronounced "BAH-kah". "Cracker" is pronounced to rhyme with "Icka" and "backa."

In 2004, I observed another boy from the same school using this rhyme to choose two team captains. The boy was selected by a supervising adult because he was the first child to raise his hand.

The girls & boys huddled around the boy and stretched out their right foot. The other children remained silent as the boy recited the rhyme. With each word of the rhyme he tapped a different child's foot. The child whose foot was tapped on the word "you" was out. This process continued from the beginning until one child was left. This child was a captain of a team.

The process started again to select the 2nd team captain. Once the captains were picked, they took turns selecting a member of their team. Team members were selected by calling out the name of a child. Usually in races, the fastest children get picked first. However, if the game is played a second time,one way to boost the self-esteem of two children who were picked last is to have them serve as the new team captains.

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ICKA BACKA SODA CRACKA (Version #2)
There are bunches of counting rhymes and songs that use nonsense words. My 1st graders' current favorite is::

Icka backa soda cracka Icka backa boo Icka backa soda cracka Out goes you
on a sing-songie sol la sol mi tune.
- Lynn;
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47967&messages=46 Songs with 'nonsense' lyrics?; June 7, 2002

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MY MOTHER AND YOUR MOTHER (Live Across The Way), Version #3 of Acakaba Soda Cracker
I see that "Ackabacka" is listed at the top of this thread. First thing that came to my mind when I saw the thread title was the version that goes like this:

My mother, your mother live across the way.
Every night they have a fight and this is what they say:
'Icka backa soda cracker, icka backa boo.
Icka backa soda cracker, out goes you!'

(Jumprope/counting out game.) I don't know of any recordings of it; always thought it was strictly children's oral tradition.
-rumgumption; http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=59549 "Please help 'Hucka Chucka soda cracka"; 11/21/2005

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MY MOTHER AND YOUR MOTHER (Live Across The Way), Version #4 of Acakaba Soda Cracker [Jump Rope Rhyme/ Counting Out Rhyme]
My mother, your mother lived across the way,
Eighteen, nineteen East Broadway.
Every night, they'd have a fight
And this is what they'd say:
Acka-backa soda cracker
Acka-backa boo.
Acka-backa soda cracker
Out goes you!
-Source material; http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=122

Editor: Click http://www.cocojams.com/content/handclap-jump-rope-and-elastics-rhymes-2to find examples of the hand clap rhyme "My Mother And Your Mother Lives Across The Street"

Also, find examples of My Mother And Your Mother (What Color Was The Blood) below.

Click http://www.cocojams.com/content/text-analysis-green-green-rocky-road-hoo... for what I consider to be songs that derived from the ackabaca children's rhymes.

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ALL HID
Click http://www.cocojams.com/content/childrens-rhymes-cheers to read this chant that is spoken/sung by the person designated as "It" during the game of "Hide & Go Seek"

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ANERY TWAERY
Charles Taylor, in the Magpie; or Chatterings of the Pica, published at Glasgow in 1820, gives it thus:-

Anery, twaery. duckery, seven,
Alama, crack. ten am eleven;
Peem, pom, it must be done,
Come teetle, come total, come twenty-one.

and remarks:—"This is reported to have originated with the Druids; the total number of words is twenty-one, and it seems to be a mixture of words put into rhyme."
- http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/bairns/page2.htm ; Retrieved February 6, 2011

Editor: The poster traces the evolution of this rhyme on that page. For another example, see "Enery Twa-ery" below

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BUBBLE GUM BUBBLE GUM IN A DISH (Version #1)
(Children either huddle around or stand in front of a designated person (the leader) with their right foot out (or-another way to play this-with their right arm extended toward her or him. The leader is the only one who chants. The rest of the olayers are silent unless a person is responding to a question that the leader asks her or him. With each word of the rhyme (and sometimes with each syllable of the rhyme) the leader taps each players' foot (or, if the group uses the alternative manner of play, each players' extended hand).

Bubble gum bubble gum
In a dish
How many pieces do you wish?
(The person who is pointed to responds with a number within an agreed upon amount-for instance "5", if the amount agreed upon is "1-10". The leader then continues to point to every member of the group starting with the person who said that number )
1-2-3-4-5
And you* are not "it". (Or "And you are out")
*You" here is the one pointed to when the leader says "it" (or "out").
The person who is pointed to steps out of the line (or the huddle) and the rhyme begins again until the last remaining person is "it". An alternative last line (which is a faster way to choose "it" is to say "and you are it".
-African American girls & boys (ages 5-12), Fort Pitt Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 2007

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BUBBLE GUM BUBBLE GUM IN A DISH (Version #2)
bubble gum, bubble gum, in a dish; how many peices do you wish? (person says #) then you count on each foot until you reach that number. That person is out!

I love that! I use it all the time!
-Nikki; -Chance, Live The Dream, http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080616082348AAdVcwP ; 2008; retrieved September 1, 2010

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BUBBLE GUM BUBBLE GUM IN A DISH (Version #3)
Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish!
How many pieces do you wish?
(The person picks a number.) (EXAMPLE: 4!)
1, 2, 3, 4!
You are out you dirty, dirty dish rag you!

(optional:::add to the end)
blue, shoo, goo, you!
-Chance, Live The Dream, http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080616082348AAdVcwP ; 2008; retrieved September 1, 2010

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C, D
COCONUT CRACK
My sister knows another version of a 'choosing It' game, which goes "Coconut coconut coconut CRACK." Everyone starts with two clasped hands; when these are 'cracked' they split into two seperate fists. Again, both fists must be out before the person is 'out'.
-Viracocha {Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in the early 90s}; 8/3/2007; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352; Lyr Req: Playground songs

Editor:
Thanks, Viracocha, for permission to post this and other examples. In another post to that discussion, Viracocha noted that her youngest sister "just left Primary 7 (she's 12, in other words)". Presumably, that is the sister who she is referring to in this post.

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DOOGIE DOGGIE DIAMOND (Version #1)
Doggie, doggie diamond
Step...right...OUT!

The caller tapped the toes of the shoes in time with the words, and the foot the caller ended up on was out of the running. This, too, was a questionable one to use, as any caller could control it so they could put themselves out of the running, or put the ones they chose on purpose out of the running. We only used it if nobody called: "No doggie diamond!", which was very seldom indeed.
-Neighmond; (White male; Spirit Lake, Iowa in the early '80's) ; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=56361; Folklore: Skipping Rhymes & Playground Games ; February 3, 2003

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DOOGIE DOGGIE (Version #2)
Doggie Doggie Doggie
Step. Right. OUT.
Shadeena K. (African American girl, age 9; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2000); Posted by the editor; April 2004

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DOOGIE DOGGIE DIAMOND (Version #3)
Doggy doggy diamond
says to step right out.
Not because you’re dirty
not because you’re clean
just because you kissed a boy
behind a dirty magazine.

This was typically done to count off “doggies” (the fists of all participants arranged around one main person) while that person counted off each syllable. If the verse ended on your fist you were out. This was used to pick team members, best friends, who to pick on that day etc.
-Sugarsick; http://kateharding.net/2009/10/02/miss-lucy-had-friday-fluff/ Shapely Pose; October 4, 2009

E, F
My mom always said this rhyme during my childhood. My mom...was born 1910, Mitchell, Mo.

Eerie oerie ierie Ann.
Fillison follison Nixon Jan
Queevy quivey English ivy
Rinkdom rankdom Buck.
(Buck is it).

I have wondered as an adult where this rhyme came from. Would love to know any history behind it.
-Kay T. November 25, 2012

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EENA MEENA MACCA RACCA
Editor: All examples in this rhyme family are posted together regardless of their different names.

IMMENACKA RICKER RACKA (Version #1)
The East End of London it used as a dip, and went..

Immenacka ricker racka
Rare are dominacka
Chicka bocka
Bocka chicka
Om Pom Push.

And the person whom push landed on was unceremoniously pushed out of the ring.
-Bert; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka May 1, 2002

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EENI MEENI MACKA RACKA (Version #2)
We had a second verse to enna meena etc
Enni Meeni macka racka
Rare ri dominacka
Chicka poppa lollipoppa
rum pum push

Rare ri reeta
chickapocka Lita
o - u - t spells OUT
with a jolly good clout!!
-Guest; Cheryll UK; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116
eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes); July 1, 2006

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EENIE MEANIE ACHA CHEANIE (Version #3 )
We had this one while I was growing up in Fort Devens MA, in the early 80's:

Eanie Meanie Acha Cheanie,
Ah, Boo, Bubblinie,
Acha Chacha, Livaracha,
Out goes Y-O-U and you shall not be it!
-Guest, roxiraccoon; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes) ; May 18, 2008

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EENIE MEENIE MACKARACK (Version #4)
eenie meenie mackarack rare eye dominaca cheeky beeky lolipopa rom pom push OUT :)
- Guest, your mum ; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes) ; October 17, 2008

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EENIE MEENIE MACKERACKA (Version #5)
I used to sing this in school in the 80's in NW England
The teacher would sing one verse and all the kids had to (try to) repeat it. Great

Eenie meeny mackeracka Dare-dum dominacker Ting-a-ling-a-lollipop Bing bang boosh!

Ratten-scatten do ra ra!

Essamany sallamany oowalla wallamany ,
Essamany sallamany oowalla wah!

A'bo a dic a doc a bo-bo a dic a doc a chuh!
-Guest, macca; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes) ; February 22, 2009

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EENA MEENA MACCA RACCA (Version #6)
the one I learned from my mother. she was born in Darlington, uk in 1915., and she told me that she used to sing it with her friends around the street lamps near her house in central Darlington. I teach it now to my class of pupils in school.

'eena meena macca racca raro dominaca
alabacca jukalaca om pom push
-Guest, annwebster ; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes) ; October 8, 2009

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EENIE MEANIE MACKARACKA (Version #7)
i learnt one which goes:

Eenie Meanie mackaracka
Dare door dominacka
Licka Locka lollipoppa
Om pom poosh OUT!

then the person who landed on 'out' was out of the circle, lol thats just how we played =]
- Guest, harri; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes) ; December 13, 2009

Editor: The poster's end comment suggests that this rhyme might have been used for hand slapping games like Quack Diddly Oso and Down By The Banks Of The Hanky Panky" rather than for "choosing it".

Click http://www.cocojams.com/content/handclap-jump-rope-and-elastics-rhymes for examples of these rhymes and comments about their performance activities.

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EENY MEENY MAKA RAKA (Version #8)
I never realised there were so many different versions or the chant.
I've forgotten the last part but we said...

Eeny meeny, maka raka
rare raa dumaraka
chicka barley lollipop
a red, white or blue?

Then the person being pointed at would choose between red, white or blue and the chant would continue..

e.g
blue=
blue is for sky,sky,sky
blue is for sky, so out goes you!

I think white was for cloud, but I can't remember what red stood for!!

Birmingham England
- http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes)
-Guest, Chloe ; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka (children's rhymes) ; May 6, 2010

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EENA MEENA MACKA RACA (Version #8)
My mother remembers this version

Eena meena macka raca
Air eye dominacka
Om pom pye knees push
Ikeri eye ikeri poke your finger in your eye
O U T spells out so out you must go

Mum is now 79 and remembers this from the playground, how it should be spelt I don’t know
-Steve P; 11/25/2011

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EENIE MEENIE MINIE MO

Editor: "Eenie Meenie Minie Mo" is a very similar rhyme as "Eena Meena Macca Racca". A number of "Eenie Meenie Minie Mo" included the derogatory racial referent that is now called the "n" word. Rhyme examples that include that word are presented with asterisks for some of that word's letters. Click http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 to read some of these examples and the comments from posters.

EENIE MEENIE MINIE MO (Version #1)
Eenie meenie
Minie mo
Catch a tiger
By the toe.
If he hollers
Let him go.
Eenie meenie
Minie Mo
-various sources, including Azizi Powell's childhood {Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1950s}

Editor:
See examples of "Eenie Meenie Oop Pah Leenie" and similarly worded rhymes on Cocojams' Handclap & Jump Rope Rhyme Page.

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EENIE MEENIE MINY MO (Version #2)
Eeny meeny miny mo
Sit the baby on the poh
When it's done wipe it's bum
Eeny meeny miny mo
Eenameena macaraca Airidackeraca Chickeraca boomeracka om pom push

Northern England, industrial, 1950's
-Wyrd Sister ; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47148&messages=116 eena meena mackeracka ; May 1, 2002;

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EENIE MEENIE MINY MO (Version #3)
Gloucestershire, UK, in the early 1990s...

A couple of 'choosing' rhymes that haven't been mentioned here. We'd use them to work out who was going to be 'on' in another game.

eeny meeny miny mo,
catch a tigger by its toe
if it squeals, let him go,
eeny meeny miny mo.
-Guest Jess; 9/23/2007; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352; Lyr Req: Playground songs

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EEENIE MEENIE MYNIE MO (Version #4)
Eenie Meenie Mynie Mo
Catch a tigger by the toe
If it/he squeals, let it/him go
Eenie Meenie Mynie Mo
You
Are
Not
It.

Yes, TIGGER, not tiger. I have since been told this came from "N****r" - thankfully, that one was never used at my school.
-Viracocha {Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in the early 90s}; 8/3/2007; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352; Lyr Req: Playground songs

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EENIE, MEENIE, MINIE, MO (Version #5)
Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe,
If he hollers, make him pay,
Fifty dollars every day.
-Karl's wife (central Indiana; from the 1970's and early 1980's); 5/10/2010

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EENIE, MEENIE, MINY, MO (Version #6)
Eeny meeny miny mo
Catch a robber by his toe
If he hollers let him go
Eeny meeny miny mo. (This, I remember, started life with a replacement for robber that today would be totally unacceptable, but that, brought up on Little Black Sambo books and the like, we didn't challenge (I hate to say))
-Diane C, England (memories from school days in the 1950s), October 10, 2012

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Click http://www.cocojams.com/content/handclap-jump-rope-and-elastics-rhymes to find examples of other rhymes that begin with the words "Eenie Meenie"

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ENGINE ENGINE NUMBER NINE (Version #1)
Engine Engine Number Nine
Goin down the street car line
If that train rolls off the track
Do you want your money back.
[Yes]
Y.E.S. spells yes and you are not it

(or the child reciting this could say "You are it).
-various sources, including Azizi Powell's childhood memories, Atlantic City, New Jersey; 1950s

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ENGINE ENGINE NUMBER NINE (Version #2)
As kid on the Chicago streets our favorite games were Buck, Buck and Engine, Engine Number Nine.
Engine, Engine Number Nine……

Everyone sits in a circle with hands folded into a fist. The leader (Engine) would say a rime as he tapped each fist….

Engine, Engine number nine,
Coming down the Chicago line
Please tell me the correct time, the correct time is what?

[The person who would call out the number is the person the leader stopped at during the rime]*.

...the leader would count out the number by tapping the fists. If the leader landed on one of your fists, you had to take it out of the game by putting it behind your back. The leader would then start over again.

Engine, Engine number nine,
Coming down the Chicago line
Please tell me the correct time, the correct time is what?

This would continue until only one fist was left this became the new Engine.
Thanks for bringing this to mind.
-lloyd64; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=20909 "Children's rhymes and playground songs" ; 4/30/2000

Editor:
The sentence in brackets was posted on the same thread by lloyd64 after he posted this rhyme.

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ENGINE ENGINE NUMBER NINE (Version #3)
Does anyone else know the rhyme that goes

Engine, engine number nine
Coming down Spadina line
If the train goes off the tracks
Will you get your money back?

The chanter is going around the circle pointing at a different person with every syllable. The person she’s pointing at when she comes to the end picks yes or no. If it’s no, she says

N-O spells no
So out you go
With your mother’s
Big fat juicy toe.

I forget what you do if the answer is yes.

Since Spadina is a street in Toronto, I’m willing to bet that the rhyme is different in other places.
- Henchminion; http://kateharding.net/2009/10/02/miss-lucy-had-friday-fluff/ Shapely Pose; October 2, 2009

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ENGINE ENGINE NUMBER NINE (Version #4)
when i was a kid growing up in Newark thats how we played tag, everybody would put one foot in then you would touch each foot by saying 'engine engine number nine goin down chicago line if the train goes off the line do you want your money back' then the person would say yes or no the last foot in was it. What can i tell you it was a Newark thing
-brickchruch; http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments=1&v=bgnCB7oni8o The Clapping Song - Shirley Ellis ; June 2010

Editor:
kittyprydekissme wrote this response to bickchruch's comment that was posted on July 2010: @brickchruch That's not just a Newark thing. We did that in rural Oklahoma, but with hands instead of feet.

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ENGINE ENGINE NUMBER NINE (Version #5)
Engine, engine number nine
Coming down the county line
If the train goes off the tracks
Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up!
http://kateharding.net/2009/10/02/miss-lucy-had-friday-fluff/ Shapely Pose; October 2, 2009

Editor:
The children's rhyme "Engine Engine Number 9" has been made into a number of popular (adult) songs. For example, Pop singer Roger Miller had a song with this title around 1969, R & B Wilson Pickett also had a song with this title. But the "pick it up, pick it up, pick it up" line with Engine Engine Number 9 was recorded in the 1990s by Black Sheep. I don't know if that late predates that recording.

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ENTERY MENTERY
These were taught to me by my grandmother in the the 1950's. I think I was about 8 or 9 when I first heard them and she must have been in her late 60's or early 70's. She was raised in Minnisota and had been reciting them since she was a little girl. I always loved them and have passed them on to my grandchildren

Entery mentery cuttery corn
Apple jack apple thorn
Wire briar limber lock
Twelve geese in a flock
-tomkarmo, October 24. 2015
-snip-
This visitor also sent in an example of the old minstrel song "Keemo Kimo", a version of which was popularized in a children's record by Nat King Cole in 1947 and reissued in 1951. Here's a link to a film clip of Nat King Cole singing that song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQGszAOFAuU

I believe that "Entery Mentery" is part of the "Eeenie Meenie Minie Mo" family of counting out (choosing it) rhymes. Also find examples of the related rhyme "One-ery, two-ery" below.

G, H
HOT POTATO
Hot potato
Hot potato
Hot potato two
Here goes Uncle Sam
And out goes
Y-O-U
Shonquilla {African American girl, 9 years old, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2000}

I, J
IBBLE OBBIE
ibble obble black bobble
ibble obble out
turn the dirty dishcloth inside out
O-U-T spells out!
-Guest Jess; 9/23/2008; {Gloucestershire, UK, in the early 1990s}; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352#2254630 Playground Rhymes

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ICKY ACKIE (Version #1)
A 'Choosing' Rhyme:

Icky-Ackie,
Hores Cackie,
Icky Ackie
OUT!
-Dave (Forsh) http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352 Lyr Req: Playground songs; February 05, 2008

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ICKLE OCKLE (Version #2)
Ickle ockle
chocolate bottle
Ickle ockle
Out
-Diane C, England (memories from school days in the 1950s), October 10, 2012

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INK A BINK (Example #1)
Ink a bink a bottle of ink
cork fell out and you stink
not because your dirty
not because your clean
just because you kissed a (girl/boy) behind a magizine.
-Guest (from grade school in Washington state, USA, 2000), http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=63097, Do kids still do clapping rhymes?March 31, 2007

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INK-A-DINK (Example #2)
One of the rhymes we used to use all the time was as follows:

Ink-a-dink,
A bottle of ink,
Cork fell out and you stink,
Not because you're dirty,
Not because you're clean,
But just because you kissed a girl (boy),
Behind a magazine.

AND YOU ARE NOT IT!

This would have been back in the 1970's and early 1980's in Chicago. My wife states that they said this rhyme as well (substituting "girl" for "boy") during the same time period in central Indiana.
-Karl & Karl's wife; from the 1970's and early 1980's Chicago, Illinois and central Indiana; 5/10/2010

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INKY BINKY BONKY
Inky binky bonky
daddy had a donkey
donkey died
daddy cried
inky binky bonky
- Guest (from grade school in Washington state, USA, 2000), http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=63097, Do kids still do clapping rhymes?March 31, 2007

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INK STINK
Ink Stick
Ah bottle of ink
Somebody let out
An awful stick.
It was y.o. U!
-various sources, including Azizi Powell's childhood memories {Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1950s

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IP DIP DIP
Ip dip dip
My little ship
Sailing in the water
Like a cup and saucer
Ip dip
You are not it.
-Diane C, England (memories from school days in the 1950s), October 10, 2012

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IP DIP DO
We used to sing at school:

Ip dip dooo
The cat's got the flu
The dog's got measles
So out goes you
-Dee (Essex; Great Britain); http://www.ukskeptics.com/forum/showthread.php/2012-Playground-childhood... January 22, 2008

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K, L
LADY, BABY, GYPSY, QUEEN
Lady, baby, gypsy, queen
Elephant, monkey, tambourine (The one that got tambourine was out.)
-Diane C, England (memories from school days in the 1950s), October 10, 2012

M, N
MAKE A SHEMALAKAH
I have searched in vain for information about a choosing phrase that was used by my childhood friends and I, in the late '30s and '40s, in my Brooklyn,Flatbush neighborhood.

My friends and I were mostly Jewish and although I haven't found a source for the one non-english word in this "saying" I believe that it is Yiddish.

The game I most associate it with was, "Hide and Seek".

Someone ( I don't remember how they were initially chosen) covered their eyes and turned their back to the other players. Someone then made a circular motion on that persons back while reciting this phrase; "Make a shemalakah(?) on the old man's back and someone sticks their finger in".

Someone would then poke their finger in the imaginary circle. The one covering their eyes would uncover them, face the group, and try to guess who it was.

If they guessed successfully that person was "it", If not, the one guessing was "it".

Any information about this?
-Arthur K; June 9, 2011

Editor:
I received the following information from my online friend Sol Zeller* :
"Yes I remember playing that game. I also wondered what the word meant. The consensus of opinions among my friends was that it was a corruption of the Hebrew phrase "Shalom Aleichem" which is the standard greeting among Jews. Literally translated it means" peace be unto thee" but it is also an idiomatic expression for "Hello". It is used in both Yiddish as well as Hebrew for this purpose.

Hide & seek was played mostly by young children who's primary language was English and were not yet familiar with the correct Hebrew pronunciations. They would therefore corrupt the word and it became "shemalakah". "

* I "met" Sol Zeller through our involvement in the online folk music discussion forum, http://www.mudcat.org/ . Sol grew up in a New York City Jewish family during the same decades as mentioned by Arthur K. Thanks for sharing that information, Sol!

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MICKEY MOUSE IN HIS HOUSE (Version #1)
As for games 'choosing it', I believe the Mickey Mouse one (that I mentioned earlier) went (in our various accents):

Mickey Mouse/Moose
In his house/hoose
Pulling up/on his trousers/troosers
They fall down
[something something]
What colour are his pants/is his bum?
[person landed on]-Blue[or other colour]
(and apparently there's no "B-L-U-E spells blue" stuff - the person who chants the rhyme has already picked a colour - if you said THEIR colour, you were it. I remembered it as being far more rude...perhaps that seemed shocking to me then?)
-Viracocha {Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in the early 90s}; 8/3/2007; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352; Lyr Req: Playground songs

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MICKEY MOUSE IN THE HOUSE (Version #2)
Ok, This is one my mates sing at school and its slightly different to the others we hear..

Mickey Mouse is in the house
Pulling down his trousers
Quick comes mom to smack his bum
What colour will they be?
[person landed on]-Blue[or other colour]
B-L-U-E spells blue
O-U-T
O-U-T
O-U-T spells out!
-Guest Tasha; 12/5/2007; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352 Lyr Req: Playground songs

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MY MOTHER, YOUR MOTHER -WHAT COLOR WAS THE BLOOD (Version #1)
My mother and your mother
Were Hanging out the clothes.
My mother punched your mother
Right in the nose.
What color was the blood?
Red {or another color}
R-E-D spells red {spell the selected color}
and you are out.
-Azizi Powell’s memory of childhood in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1950s

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MY MOTHER PUNCHED YOUR MOTHER (Version #2)
My mother punched your mother
in the face.
What color was the blood.
-8 year old African American boy; Fort Pitt Elementary School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2001

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MY MOTHER, YOUR MOTHER -WHAT COLOR WAS THE BLOOD;
(Version #3)
My momma, your momma, hanging out clothes
Your mom hit my momma right in the nose
What color was the blood?*

(Answers with a color)

(Caller spells color) and (optional: my momma says) you are not it!

The person landed on picks out a color and the caller spells it and proceeds as usual, eliminating the last one landed on.

*The po-leace took your momma straight to jail
how many days to pay her bail?

Proceeds as above only using numbers in leu of letters. This last version showed up as I was becoming too old for tag hide-and-seek, and seemed to start with some kids from Fort Dodge. From time to time "momma" was replaced by "grannie".
- Neighmond [Chaz J.; Spencer, Iowa]; 2/3/2003 ; http://www.mudcat.org/threads.cfm ; “Folklore: Skipping Rhymes &
Playground Games"

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MY MOTHER, YOUR MOTHER -WHAT COLOR WAS THE BLOOD;
(Example #4)
…my favorite counting out rhyme of all time was

(person 1) my mother punched your mother, what color was the blood?
(person 2, the person it lands on, states a color. for example, if they say purple, the 6th person in the circle is out cause there are 6 letters in purple)
-beetle cat; 12/14/2004; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=4300 ; “Children's Street Songs”

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MY MOTHER, YOUR MOTHER-WHAT COLOR WAS THE BLOOD;
(Version #5)
I remember a rhyme to choose
who was "it" for "Hide and Seek"

My mother and your mother
Were hanging out clothes,
My mother gave your mother
A punch in the nose.
What color blood came out?

The caller then named a color, e.g.
Red. Then the caller spelled while
indicating each person:
"R E D" spells red and you are IT!"
-Guest, Puffenkinty; 5/24/2005; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81350; “I'm Rubber. You're Glue: Children's Rhymes

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MOTHER AND YOUR MOTHER HAD A BIG FIGHT (Version #6)
Choosing game (with gestures similar to "one-potato two-potato" game):

My mother and your mother had a big fight.
My mother knocked your mother clear out of sight.
What color came out, red or blue?
R-E-D spells red (or B-L-U-E spells blue)
And you are not go-ing to be "it".
-Sharon A; 6/9/2005; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81350 ; “I'm Rubber You're Glue: Children's Rhymes; remembrance of childhood in
Warrington, Pennsylvania, mid- to late 1960s}

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MY MOTHER, YOUR MOTHER -WHAT COLOR WAS THE BLOOD;
(Version #7)
My mother and your mother were hanging out clothes
My mother gave your mother a hit on the nose
What color blood did she bleed?
Red
R.E.D. spells red and that means
You are not the one to be it {or you are it}
Source: Hunter’s father, Caucasian; 1960s; State College, PA; collected by Azizi Powell ; from interview with Azizi Powell, “The Saturday Light Brigade “radio program; WRCT Pittsburgh 88.3 FM; The Children’s Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 7/16/05

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MY MOTHER, YOUR MOTHER -WHAT COLOR WAS THE BLOOD;
(Version #8)
...We rarely used eenie-meanie for choosing who was "it".

We did this rhyme:

My mother and your mother hanging out the clothes,
My mother punched your mother in the nose,
What color blood came out,
Red,
R E D spells red.

The speaker could change the color of the blood to try to manipulate the results.
-Guest, Pitheris; 3/25/2007; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81350 I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes

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MY MOTHER, YOUR MOTHER -WHAT COLOR WAS THE BLOOD;
(Version #9)
...I was googling "my mother and your mother were hanging out clothes" - to see if it had ever been used anywhere but in my little neighborhood in Hamden, Connecticut, because no one else I've ever told it to has ever heard of it. So I was delighted to find it on your site!

The way we did it was this:

"My mother and your mother were hanging out clothes
My mother punched your mother right in the nose.
What color blood came out?"

Then the person whose toe had been touched last stated a color. "Purple!"

"P-U-R-P-L-E spells purple and you are not going to be it! "

Etc

This was in the early 1960s.
-Pat H; July 25, 2012

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O, P, Q
OM POMPEII
Om Pompeii
Cally-ey
Cally oski
Om Pompeii
Cally-ey
Mr Turnip
Apple Turnip
Mr Turnip
Boom boom.
-Dave (Forsh) http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352 Lyr Req: Playground songs; February 05, 2008

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ONE EYE OPEN
Click http://www.cocojams.com/content/childrens-rhymes-cheers to read this chant that is spoken/sung by the person designated as "It" during the game of "Hide & Go Seek"

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ONE POTATO TWO POTATO (Version #1)
One potato, two potato, three potato, four
five potato, six potato, seven potato more!

(I think the person on 'more' would be out..)
-Guest Jess (Gloucestershire, UK, in the early 1990s); http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352 ; Playground Rhymes ; 9/23/2008

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ONE POTATO TWO POTATO (Version #2)
One potato - this entailed us standing in a circle, each with our fists in front of us. As we went round the circle, we placed our clenched fists on top of each other, making a tower. The person who was on top on the final 'more' was out. We continued until there was only one left.

One potato, two potato,
Three potato, four.
Five potato, six potato,
Seven potato
More!
-Diane C, England (memories from school days in the 1950s), October 10, 2012

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ONE-ERY TWO-ERY (Version #1)
There is that very common one all over Scotland, which, it will be remembered, that wonderful child, Marjorie Fleming, played off on Sir Walter Scott:—

One-ery, two-ery, tickery, seven,
Alibi, crackaby, ten and eleven;
Pin, plan, musky dan;
Tweedle-um, twoddle-um, twenty-one;
Eerie, orie, ourie. You are out!
- http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/bairns/page2.htm ; retrieved February 6, 2011

Editor:
Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjorie_Fleming for information about the child poet Marjorie Fleming.

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ONE-ERY TWO-ERY (Version #1)
In the Midlands of England:-

One-ery, two-ery, dickery, dee,
Halibo, crackibo, dandilee;
Pin, pan, muskee dan,
'Twiddledum. twaddledum, twenty-one,
BIack fish, white trout,
Eeny, meeny, you go out.
- http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/bairns/page2.htm ; retrieved February 6, 2011

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R, S, T
RED WHITE OR BLUE
(some lines missing, about meeting someone and being asked:)
tell me the colours of the union jack
red, white or blue?
(person would choose one, and one of these rhymes would be used, then back to the chorus and another choice)
Red is the colour of danger, danger, danger,
Red is the colour of danger, so out go you!
White is the colour of marriage, marriage, marriage,
White is the colour of marriage, so out go you!
Blue is the colour of the sea, the sea, the sea,
Blue is the colour of the sea, so out go you!
- Guest Jess (Gloucestershire, UK, in the early 1990s); http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352 ; Playground Rhymes ; 9/23/2008

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SKUNK IN THE BARNYARD (Version #1)
Skunk in the barnyard.
Pee Yew!
When did it come from
From YOU!
-8 year old African American boy, Fort Pitt Elementary School, 2002

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SUNK IN THE BARN YARD (Version #2)
sunk in the barn yard pi-you (sp?)
who did it come from
not you.
-snip-
"Sunk" could be a typo for the smell "stunk" or the animal "skunk".
-Guest (from grade school in Washington state, USA, 2000), http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=63097, Do kids still do clapping rhymes?March 31, 2007

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SKUNK IN THE BARNYARD (Version #3)
Alright, we used a choosing rhyme/game called "Skunk in the Barnyard" The leader stands in a circle of all the kids playing the game, he is the "Skunk", the circle of kids around him is the "Barnyard" The game works such as this, the skunk says (as he is spinning with his eyes closed) Im a little skunk I can fart on you If i ever pass some gas You'll say Pee-Yew! and after the skunk says the last line the person whom he "farts on" is the person thats it.
-Jessica ; 4/21/2008

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TELL ME THE COLOURS OF THE UNION JACK
(some lines missing, about meeting someone and being asked:)
tell me the colours of the union jack
red, white or blue?
(person would choose one, and one of these rhymes would be used, then back to the chorus and another choice)
Red is the colour of danger, danger, danger,
Red is the colour of danger, so out go you!
White is the colour of marriage, marriage, marriage,
White is the colour of marriage, so out go you!
Blue is the colour of the sea, the sea, the sea,
Blue is the colour of the sea, so out go you!
-Guest Jess; 9/23/2008; {Gloucestershire, UK, in the early 1990s}; Playground Rhymes

Editor:
"The Union Jack" refers to the national flag of the United Kingdom. Many flags throughout the world feature the flag of the United Kingdom, often in the canton {upper left hand corner} position. Click http://www.enchantedlearning.com/geography/flags/uklike.shtml to see photos of those flags.

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THERE'S A PARTY ON THE HILL
There's A party on the hill, will you come (yes)?
Bring yer own cup and saucer and a bun (yes)?
Who is your very best friend (a name)?
(a name ) will be there throwing peanuts in the air, so how many did s/he throw?
(Think of a number e.g. 5)
1 2 3 4 5
So you do not have it.
- muppett ; http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352 Lyr Req: Playground songs
January 19, 2011

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THIS IS THE WAY THE TEACHER STANDS
This is the way the teacher stands, she folds her arms & claps her hand, this is the way the teacher stands, WHOOPS yer auntie mary-o
-Dave (Forsh) http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=18352 Lyr Req: Playground songs; February 05, 2008

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TIC TAC TOE
Tic-tac-Toe
Give me an X Give me an O
Give me a three in a row
Rock Paper Scissors Shoot ( at this part u play rock paper scissors shoot)
-Kim, Octoblog; May 7, 2006 [unfortunately, it appears that this website is no longer active 2/3/2011]

U, V, W
UP THE LADDER
...I remember lots of 'choosing it' rhymes from my school days. One that no one else seems to remember at all (!) is this:

Up a ladder, down a ladder,
Monkey chew tobacco.
If one dies, does it matter?
Yes or no?
Y - E - S (or N - O depending on what is chosen) spells yes
So out you go with a jolly good slap across your face
Just like this .....

We stood in a circle, with the person doing the rhyme pointing to the others. The person pointed to at the 'yes or no' part would choose which. And at the end, we did slap across the face, albeit it lightly!

;;;My 10 year old granddaughter has a further range of similar rhymes, and clapping songs and skipping rhymes. Absolutely fascinating - and amazing now to think how important they were to us as children.

This has made me smile!
-Diane C, England (memories from school days in the 1950s), October 10, 2012

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X, Y, Z
The following have long been in active use all over Scotland, if not also elsewhere:-

Zeenty, teentv, halligo lum,
Pitchin' tawties doun the lum.
Wha's there? Johnnie Blair.
What d'ye want? A bottle o' beer.
Where's your money? In my purse.
Where's your purse? In my pocket.
Where's your pocket? I forgot it.
Go down the stair, you silly blockhead.
You—are—out.
- http://www.electricscotland.com/kids/bairns/page2.htm ; retrieved February 6, 2011

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Please send examples of "choosing it" and "counting out" rhymes to cocojams17@yahoo.com

Your email address is never posted or shared.

Or if you are on facebook, visit me at cocojams jambalayah, and befriend me, or send me a private message!

Please be aware that by sharing your examples or comments with me, you are giving me permission to include it in a book or in any other off-line publication.

Thanks!

Also, visit my blog, http://pancocojams.blogspot.com

Pancocojams showcases the music, dances, and customs of African Americans and of other people of Black descent throughout the world.

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Share! Learn! Enjoy!

Cocojams - Share! Learn! Enjoy! - cocojams17@yahoo.com
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