Harvest time/ At the mill

Adam and Eve

Creep, mousie, creep

Dingle dangle scarecrow

Hot potato

Jimmy crack corn

Jolly is the miller

Oats and beans and barley

Old Roger is dead

Pick a bale of cotton

Shake them ’simmons down

The muffin man


Last updated: 24/10/2015 15:03


The songs below are part ofHop, skip and away we go!’ The original collection

compiled, adapted and illustrated by Dany Rosevear


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To listen to music from these songs click on O


To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:


© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved


You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

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·       any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder


Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.



Adam and Eve O


(Words by Dany Rosevear; a ring game to the tune of Old Roger is Dead)


Children make a circle. Choose Adam and Eve, God, a snake and an apple tree to stand in the circle.

At any point freeze-frame actions and allow the children in circle to ask the main characters questions about what is happening, their feelings or what happened next.


Out in the garden played Adam and Eve,

Adam and Eve, Adam and Eve,

Out in the garden played Adam and Eve,

Heigh - ho, Adam and Eve.


An apple tree grew and they stood underneath,

Stood underneath, ...



Those apples are mine and not yours to eat!

Not yours to eat! ...



Along came a snake hissing, ‘Juicy and sweet’,

‘Juicy and sweet, ...



So Eve ate an apple, oh what a mistake,

What a mistake, ...



Then Adam bit too, and the garden did shake,

Garden did shake, ...


Get out of my garden and never come back,

Never come back, ...


Away went the two and they never went back,

Never went back, ...





















Children circle the garden as Adam and Eve play in the centre.




Children crouch down and grow into apple trees, one in the centre grows over Adam and Eve’s head.


Children shake finger as God talks to Adam and Eve.


Snake weaves in and out of the circle hissing with palms together above head, children in circle weave hands up and down.


Eve picks the fruit and eats as do children in circle.


Adam picks the fruit and eats as do children in circle.


Children in circle look sad as God guides Adam and Eve out of the garden.


Adam and Eve walk dejectedly around the outside of the circle trying to get back but linked hands prevent them from entering.












Creep, mousie, creep O


Get creative in this adaptation of a song by Angela Diller. The choice of animal and movement is limitless. The ideas below will get you started.


Let the children move, acting in role, freely around the room. The cat / crocodile / hound crouches in the centre, jumping up on each last line to catch a victim who then becomes the new predator.














Creep, mousie, creep!

The old cat lies asleep.

The dog’s away, The kittens play.

Creep, mousie, creep! MIOAW!


Slither, snake, slither!

Slip down to the river.

The crocs are near, But never fear,

Slither, snake, slither! SNAP!


Jump, hare, jump!

The hounds are on the hunt.

The horns sound clear, the chase is near,,

Jump, hare, jump! WOOF!





















Dingle dangle scarecrowO



A great game for recognising the difference between quiet and loud. When the children shout, encourage them to cup hands round their mouth to lessen the impact of the sound on others. They need to recognise that too much sound can be painful for those who have more sensitive ears – including those of the teacher.


Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ins_fzlNrxk&NR=1  

















When all the cows are sleeping,    

And the sun had gone to bed,

Up jumped the scarecrow,           

And this is what he said:



“I’m a dingle dangle scarecrow,   

With a flippy, floppy hat.            

I can shake my hands like this,    

And shake my feet like that.”      


When all the hens were roosting,  

And the moon behind a cloud,

Up jumped the scarecrow,

And he shouted very LOUD:            

Remember those hands!


Chorus: loudly


When the dogs were in their kennels, And the pigeons in their loft,

Up jumped the scarecrow,

But he whispered very soft:


Chorus: quietly


Children crouch down, close eyes, hands to side of cheek.


Jump up high and stretch arms out to the side.


Flap arms and rock from one foot to another.

Nod head.

Shake arms vigorously.

Shake feet to each side.


As above



















Hot potato O


This game is more familiar as a ‘Pass the Parcel’ type game, where a steady rhythm is kept as the hot potato is passed around the circle from hand to hand.

The version below allows greater movement, co-ordination and interaction. To begin with ask the children to walk round the room clapping to the beat. Then on ‘Get rid of the hot potato’ wave to a friend. Later when children are able to pass an item confidently on the beat from one hand to the other, challenge them to march, tiptoe or stamp as they move round the room. Ask for other movement ideas.

Also encourage the children to think of other foods and ways to describe them, the objects used in the game could be used for: oodles of noodles, hot chapatti, sticky rice.











Hot potato pass it on,

Hot potato pass it on,

Hot potato pass it on,

Get rid of that hot potato.


Wet spaghetti pass it on, etc.


Beans and bangers pass them on, etc.












Half the class hold a ball, some string or a bean bag to represent food. They walk round the room, keeping the beat, passing the object from one hand to the other. On the words ‘Get rid of the…’ the object is passed to an empty handed child. Those who have no food, clap to the beat and then rub tummies holding out a hand to indicate hunger as they move around the room.

Play an interlude of music between verses to allow time for empty hands to collect food.














Jimmy crack corn O


Adapted from an old minstrel song, with possible plantation origins and dating from around the 1840s, ‘Gimme crack corn’ probably referred to illegal corn liquor -‘moonshine’. It has also been suggested that the chorus was taken from older crow scaring songs from across the Atlantic, though there is no evidence for this! In the traditional version ‘old master’, pestered by the ‘blue tail fly’, comes a cropper and falls off his horse into a ditch:

                                      Now he lies beneath the ‘simmons tree,

                                      His epitaph is there to see.

                                      ‘Beneath this stone I’m forced to lie,

                                     The victim of the blue tail fly!’

Abraham Lincoln would play this tune on his harmonica and asked for it to be played at Gettysburg. Versions have also been sung by Big Bill Broonzy, Burl Ives, and Bugs Bunny among others.












Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care,

Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care,

Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care,

Old master’s gone away.


All stand up and walk around….


Wave your left / right / both hands very, very high  


Stamp about and swing those arms...


All sit down, put your hands upon your lap,

Sit very quietly but do not nap,

Close those eyes, no peeping now,

For we have gone away!

Children start this song sitting on the floor ready to follow the instructions in the lyrics. Change the movements each time you sing a verse, ask the children for suggestions. But, however vigorous the actions might be, end the song with the children sitting peacefully.










Jolly is the miller O


Leisure time activities of pioneer children and their families in the USA included ‘play - party’ songs such as this one. This traditional dance like many from the ‘New World’ has European origins.  In songs and stories throughout the ages millers have been characterised for their willingness to cheat customers of their rightful dues and games such as these stereotype the miller as a greedy cunning fellow.


Partners stand side by side to form a double circle ready to move clockwise. Hands are crossed in skating style (shake hands, join the other hands underneath). A child chosen to be the miller stands in the centre of the circle.
















Jolly is the miller who lives by the mill,

The wheel turns round of its own free will.

With a hand upon the hopper and the other in the sack,

The wheel turns around and he yells out, “Grab!”

Children move with a steady, springy step-hop round the circle. On the word “Grab!” those in the outside circle quickly move forward one to the next partner. The miller tries to ‘steal’ a partner. The child left without a partner becomes the new miller.




















Oats and beans and barley grow O


A song to sing at harvest time. The last three verses have been adapted to bring them up to date. Younger groups could sing the first two verses and then repeat the first verse.


Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WruDQYS2sbE&feature=related











Oats and beans and barley grow,

Oats and beans and barley grow.

But you nor I nor anyone knows,

How oats and beans and barley grow!


First the farmer sows his seeds,

Then he stands and takes his ease,

Stamps his feet and claps his hands,

Then turns around to view the land.


The farmer needs a partner,

The farmer needs a partner.

He brings her/him in, skips round the ring,

Before the work they dance and sing.


Now you’re together you must work hard,

There’s a job to do in the farmer’s yard.

You must be kind, you must be good,

And help each other to chop the wood.


Chop it well and bring it in,

Shake hands before you leave the ring.

Chop it well and bring it in,

Shake hands before you leave the ring.

Children in the circle skip to the left around the farmer who role plays in the centre.


All pretend to scatter seed from basket in arm. Stand with feet apart and arms on hips. Stamp feet twice, clap hands two times. With hand to brow turn round on the spot with four steps.


Children skip round as the farmer chooses a partner and brings them into the ring where they swing each other round.


The farmer leads his partner round the ring as the other children stand still and wag fingers. All pretend to chop wood.


The circle continues chopping wood as the partners shake hands.

Clap hands as the farmer joins the ring leaving the partner to become the new farmer as the game repeats.














Old Roger is dead O


Another suitable ring game for harvest time. Children stand in a circle. You will need volunteers to be Old Roger who lies on his back, with arms across chest, in the centre, an apple tree that crouches at his head ready to grow, an old woman who skips round the outside of the circle.











Old Roger is dead and he’s laid in his grave,

Laid in his grave, laid in his grave.

Old Roger is dead and he’s laid in his grave,

Heigh-ho! Laid in his grave.


There grew an old apple tree over his head,

Over his head, over his head,

There grew an old apple tree over his head,

Heigh-ho! Over his head.


The apples were ripe and they all fell down,

All fell down, all fell down,

The apples were ripe and they all fell down,

Heigh-ho! All fell down.


There came an old woman a-picking them up,

A-picking them up, a-picking them up,

There came an old woman a-picking them up,

Heigh-ho! A-picking them up.


Old Roger jumped up and he gave her a shock,

Gave her a shock, gave her a shock,

Old Roger jumped up and he gave her a shock,

Heigh-ho! Gave her a shock.


Which made the old woman go hippety-hop,

Go hippety-hop, go hippety-hop,

Which made the old woman go hippety-hop,

Heigh-ho! Hippety-hop.

The old woman moves around the circle with an exaggerated hobble.


Children walk round in a circle singing.




Apple tree in the centre and children in the ring grow and sway with hands over head.



Tree and children shake their hands and stoop to the ground.




The old woman enters the ring picks up apples and puts them in her basket Children in the ring copy this action.


Old Roger jumps up and makes a scary action towards the old woman who in turn looks terrified. Children in the ring also make scary faces.







Pick a bale of cotton O



Classed as a work song ‘Pick a bale of cotton’ was often used by those who worked in the cotton fields as a dance tune or reel. This traditional cotton picking song was a favourite of Leadbelly’s in the1940s, sung with gusto by Lonny Donegan’s skiffle group in the late 1950s and the pop group ABBA in the 70s. You can hear and watch Leadbelly sing a joyous version on YouTube. This is also the place to find fascinating footage of cotton picking by hand and to watch huge, noisy cotton picking and pressing machinery. Picking a bale of cotton would have been an impossible task for one person to achieve in a day as a cotton bale weighs several hundred pounds.


Dance on the spot or use a larger space. Make a circle to play the copycat version.





Gonna jump down turn around, pick a bale of cotton,

Jump down turn around, pick a bale a day.

Oh lordy, pick a bale of cotton,

Oh my lordy, pick a bale a day.


Sally from Shiloh can slide very slowly,

Sally from Shiloh can slide all day.

(Tom from Texas can tiptoe quietly,…..)

(Shane from Swindon can stamp so strongly)


Me and my friend can march up and down,

Me and my friend can march all day.






Jump high, then low, turn around, pick cotton placing it in bag on back.


Find a partner and skip round in a circle on the spot.


Ask a volunteer to demonstrate a movement while the others stand still, sing and clap.


With the same partner, holding hands side by side, imitate child’s idea – march / skip / stamp / tiptoe.


Repeat the sequence with a new partner, volunteer and movement








Shake them simmons down O


’Simmons or persimmons, a dark red-orange fruit, grow in many varieties around the Pacific rim of Asia and the U.S.A. It is traditional to wait for the first frosts of autumn before picking them, when the leaves will have turned magnificent shades of gold, deep orange and scarlet. The trees are covered in nets as squirrels, birds and other creatures are keen to take bites out of this sweet fruit. Persimmons can be used in bread, cake and biscuit making. For more information about this wonderful fruit and a bread recipe visit: www.moscowfood.coop/archive/persimmons.html 

Pete Seeger recorded a version of this song in 1959: Possum up persimmon tree, Raccoon on the ground, Raccoon says to Possum, “Won't you shake them ‘simmons down.”


Listen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJGC0HxH_YQ&feature=related


Play this game with a partner or in a partnered foursome or as below part of a larger class circle.











Shake that tree do-oh do-oh,

Shake that tree do-oh do-oh,

Shake that tree do-oh do-oh,

Shake them ’simmons down.


Right hand round do-oh do-oh, etc.


Left hand round do-oh do-oh, etc.


All skip round do-oh do-oh, etc.


Promenade do-oh do-oh, etc.



In a large group circle, partners stand side by side, facing a second pair to form a square. Shake hands high and then down to the ground.


Form a star using right hands and walk round to the right. Finish with a shake.

Form a star using left hands and walk round to the left. Finish with a shake.

Partners hold hands (one crossed) and skip round. Finish with a shake.

With hands still crossed but in front, partners promenade round the large circle. Finish with a large class shake!











The muffin man O


Fresh muffins were delivered door to door in Victorian times as were other fresh foods. Drury Lane is a street in London.

Traditionally children sit in a circle and sing the refrain ‘Do you know…?’ to their neighbour, who replies ‘Yes I know…’ The sequence is repeated round the circle. A lovely alternative is to use each child’s own name and street: “Do you know Rebecca Brown who lives on Charlton Road?” as the song passes round the ring.


Listen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMiSTQPGRcg&feature=related


In the more active version below the children weave in and out of the ‘doors’. Three or four children could be the muffin man.











Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man?

Do you know the muffin man, who lives in Drury Lane?


Yes I know the muffin man ...


We all know the muffin man ...

Children stand in a circle hands held high. The muffin man skips in and out stopping to face a child as the last line is sung.


This child sings the initial reply and joins the first child to skip in and out of the circle as the class join in singing.

When all children are skipping round in the new circle the last verse is sung.


















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