Hand Clapping Games = Good Old Fashion Learning

I have enjoyed hand clapping games in my classroom, been entertained by kids hand clapping at camps and learned different hand clapping patterns from my kids during their elementary school years.   I also remember hand clapping as a child.   Some childhood diversions have been around forever and I hope they remain a part of the different cultures of this world for some time.  Fun is fun no matter what the language.

Although hand clapping games are found throughout the world; regional difference are found.  However, the concepts remain similar.    Hand Clapping games are generally played by two players and involve cooperative clapping while singing a specific song or nursery rhyme.  Some versions are great for group gatherings.  The great thing about hand clapping games is that they often are made up of simple, repetitive patterns and easy to learn lyrics.  This is an activity that brings kids together across multiple boundaries.

One of the earliest hand clapping game and one of the simplest is Pease Porridge Hot which seems to date back to the 1760s.  The movement and rhyme are as follows:

Pease (clap both hands to thighs) porridge (clap own hands together) hot (clap partner’s hands),
pease (clap both hands to thighs) porridge (clap own hands together) cold (clap partner’s hands),
Pease (clap thighs) porridge (clap own hands) in the (clap right hands only) pot (clap own hands),
nine (clap left hands only) days (clap own hands) old (clap partner’s hands).

Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, another early hand clapping rhyme, is traceable back to 1765.  Miss Mary Mack, one of the most common hand clapping games, is found in literature from the 1940s.

From a teaching perspective, hand clapping games help to develop timing, rhyme, coordination, joint attention and foster social learning.  I love to teach games and activities that have social as well as cognitive and motor benefits.  For kids with learning challenges, I start with a simple patterns like in Mary Mack and Pease Porridge Hot.  I introduce new songs and patterns by breaking down the parts and only using the simplest movements.  The key is to start simple.  Skip complex patterns and then increase difficulty as the child’s skill improves.

The easiest way to learn new games or to relearn old ones from your past, is to watch others take part in the game.  Funclapping.com is a site that lists the words, shows you a video and seems to have the most variety on the web.  Check out Funclapping.com  —  http://funclapping.com/

One thought on “Hand Clapping Games = Good Old Fashion Learning

  1. Pingback: 200 word press followers – A Blog Recap | Transitions and A Medically Complex Child

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