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Children's Counting-Out Rhymes, Fingerplays, 
Jump-rope and Bounce-Ball Chants and Other Rhythms: 
A Comprehensive English-Language Reference

Spine Title: Children's Rhymes and Rhythms

Excerpts
Fingerplays
Join-In Rhythms
Jump-Rope & Bounce-Ball Chants

four hands
Fingerplays
The Seasons

In spring, the gently falling rain,
Makes the earth all green again.
In summer, sun shines on the ground,
And we see flowers all around.
In autumn, winds blow round us all,
To make the leaves turn brown and fall.
In winter, snow drifts white and deep,
To make a blanket for earth's sleep.
 

- Gloria T. Delamar
Line 1: flutter fingers downward.
Line 2: make a ball of hands to represent earth.
Line 3: make ball overhead to represent sun.
Line 4: hold hands up with fingertips forming petals.
Line 5: pass hands back and forth in front of chest.
Line 6: close hand at fingertips, raise arms and move hands down in a wavy motion.
Line 7: with open hands, bring arms down in wavy motion.
Line 8: cover one fist with palm of other hand.
The Moon

Pointing left, the waxing moon;
Increasing, it is growing.
Pointing right, the waning moon;
Decreasing, it is going.
The time that shines between the two,
Is full moon in the midnight blue.
        Waxing moon--
        Waning moon--
         Full moon!

- Gloria T. Delamar
Lines 1 & 2: make crescent (semi-circle) with right index fnger and thumb, which will result in the points of the crescent pointing left to the eyes of the performer.
Lines 3 & 4: make crescent with left index finger and thumb.
Lines 5 & 6: join the crescents to make a full moon circle.
Line 7: raise right arm and make a large crescent.
Line 8: raise left arm and make large crescent.
Line 9: join hands at top to make a large full moon circle.
Join-In Rhythms

Join-in rhythms are also called choral speeches, choral responses, or responsive readings. What makes them different from other verses is that they are performed by more than one person. Though some are merely repetitive or back-and-forth phrases (particularly as in relgious responsive readings) many offer a refrain that show participants how the use of tonal quality (loud, soft, quick, slow) or different sounds (notes that fall or rise) can tell a story. 

What Does the Weather Say?

What does the wind say?
   Whooo, whooo, whooo. [HOWLING]
What does the hail say?
   Clatter, clatter, clatter. [NOISILY]
What does the rain say?
   Pitter-pat, pitter-pat, pitter-pat. [EVENLY]
What does the sleet say?
   Shush, shush, shush. [SOFT SLIDING SOUND]
What does the sun say?
What does the sun say?
[ASK LAST LINE VERY QUESTIONINGLY - 
THEN GENTLY PLACE FINGER ON LIP.

- Author Unknown
Cats and Cat's Meows

Little kittens softly say,
   Meow, meow, meow. [SOFTLY,WEAKLY]
Mother cats with love say,
   Meow, meow, meow. [LOVINGLY]
Big tom cats cry out,
   Meow, meow, meow. [LOUDLY]
And wild cats scream about,
   Meow, meow, meow. [WILDLY & LOUDLY]

- Gloria T. Delamar

 
 

 

Jump-Rope and Bounce-Ball Chants

Counting chants can be effectively used for jump-rope, bounce-ball, leg-over-ball, paddle-ball, one-legged hopping, etc. These chants serve as an amusing say to encourage the practice of certain activities and to jump-rope childscore one's ability at performing the action. In addition, the number and alphabet chants enforce the learning of numbers and the alphabet by younger children. Older children enjoy the "answer" which is obtained from their "counted-off" performance.

Little Georgie Washington,
Never told a lie.
Went into the kitchen,
And ate a cherry pie.
How many cherries were in the pie?
     1, 2, 3, etc.
Abraham-a Lincoln, 
Never was a crook,
Because his nose 
Was always in a book.
How many books did he read?
     1, 2, 3, etc.
One, two, three, four, five,
I caught a mackeral-fish alive.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
I threw the fish back in again.
How many times did I do that?
   1, 2, 3, etc.
I was taking a wee little piggy,
Down to the animal fair.
He grew into a big fat hog,
Before he ever got there.
How many pounds did he weigh?
     1, 2, 3, etc.

 
 

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