Les marionettes

Jean Petit

Les marionettes

Mains et pieds




En famille

Bonjour mon cousine

Drôle de machine

La boîte à outils

Moi j’aime papa

Quand Fanny


Last updated: 2/2/2016 2:25 PM


The songs below are part ofHop-!’ The French collection

compiled, adapted, translated and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page

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:

·       you must give the original author credit

·       you may not use this work for commercial purposes

·       for any re-use or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work

·       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.

Les marionettes



Jean Petit O


Here is great way to learn French names for parts of the body. ‘Little Johnny Puppet’ is a perennial nursery favourite which originated as a Breton folk song.


A version of the dance below can still be seen in the streets of Brittany at festival time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_Z9Sf0AKEY .


Also watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIcfOpsAECA&feature=related or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4FAz16x8Us .


More simply imitate Jean Petit’s dance by moving the first and middle finger on the forearm or let the children pretend to be puppets and dance in time to the music.


Begin by holding hands in a circle. One child dances in the centre.

At the end of each verse a new Jean Petit is chosen to dance.















Jean Petit qui danse,

Jean Petit qui danse,

De son doigt il danse,

De son doigt il danse,

De son doigt, doigt, doigt,

HEY! Ainsi danse Jean Petit.

Little Johnny dances, x2

On my thumb he dances, x2

On my thumb, thumb, thumb,

HEY! That’s the way he dances.


Jean Petit qui danse,

Jean Petit qui danse,

De son main il danse,

De son main il danse.

jean petitDe son main, main, main, On my hand etc.

De son doigt, doigt, doigt,

Ainsi danse Jean Petit.


De sa tête il danse   head

Des épaules il danseshoulder

Des genoux il danse    knees

Des pieds il danse       feet

Children walk round in a circle swinging arms alternately.

Stand still and shake finger.

On ‘HEY’ clap hands and turn around once ready to hold hands and continue.


Add new actions with each verse:

2. shake finger, wave hands in the air

3. shake finger, wave hands, tap head

4. + tap shoulders

5. + knock knees

6. + stamp feet

Other movements could include swinging arms back and forth, wiggling bottoms.






























Les marionettes O


In France this song is sung to encourage babies to mimic adult by turning wrists first clockwise then counter clockwise. For the actions below encourage good use of space in order to weave in and out of one other without touching.


Listen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgM3CUYUx4Q&feature=related





















Ainsi font, font, font,

Les petites marionnettes,

Ainsi font, font, font,

Trois p’tit tours et puis s’en vont.

Just like this, this, this,

Dance the funny little puppets,

Just like this, this, this,

Three times round then off they go!


Les mains aux côtés,

Sautez, sautez, marionnettes,

Les mains aux côtés,

Marionnettes recommencez.

With your hands straight down,

Jump up, jump up little puppets,

With your hands straight down

Little puppets start again.


Make up own dance.

On last line drop to the floor and sleep.

Hold up both hands, fingers stretched out like an open fan, arms at right angles. Turn hands back and forth in time to the music. If confident lift knees up and down and move like a puppet.

Make three turns then move around the classroom like a puppet. Extra music is played between verses to allow children to weave in and out of each other.


Jump up and down on the spot with hands by the side.


Et elles danseront

Les petites marionnettes,

Et elles danseront

Quant les enfants dormiront.

How they dance, dance, dance

All the funny little puppets,

And they dance, dance, dance,

When the children are asleep.






Mains et pieds O



The words and music in this song are by Marie-Claude Clerval. Find more of her music about puppets on the charming CD ‘Mon Pantin et Moi.



Directions: Clap and tap a simple rhythm with the hands and feet individually or with a partner. Stand in a circle and flop loosely like a puppet to begin. Mime actions. Clap in time when ‘font tap tap’ or ‘font pan pan’ is sung. In pairs or a circle skip one way then the other. Clap then stamp rhythm on the final lines.






















Mon pantin à deux mains,

Deux petites mains qui font tap tap.

Mon pantin à deux pieds,

Deux petites pieds qui font pan pan.

Quand les deux mains de mon pantin,

Font tap tap, font tap tap,

Quand les deux pieds de mon pantin,

Font pan pan, font pan pan.


Quand on joue des mains et des pieds,

Avec mon pantin, avec mon pantin.

Quand on joue des mains et des pieds,

Avec mon pantin on se met à danser:

Tap, tap, tap! Pan, pan, pan!

Tap, tap, tap! Pan, pan, pan!


Puppet Sam has two hands,

Two little hands that clap clap clap.

Puppet Sam has two feet,

Two little feet that stamp stamp stamp.

Hear the two hands of puppet Sam,

Go clap clap, go clap clap,

Hear the two feet of puppet Sam,

Go stamp stamp, go stamp stamp.



When one beats both the hands and feet,

Puppet likes to dance, puppet likes to dance,

When one beats both the hands and feet,

With my little puppet we will start to dance:

Clap, clap, clap! Stamp, stamp, stamp!

Clap, clap, clap! Stamp, stamp, stamp!




Petrouchka O



Petroushka is an abandoned doll that comes to life and was the subject of a ballet by the Russian composer Stravinsky.

Little girls in Russia often call their dolls ‘Petrushka’ and it is also the name of a male mannequin. This traditional song is sung by both Russian and Polish grandmothers while the French translation was made popular by Marie-Annick Rétif.


Watch at: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5ht9_petrouchka_blog

And also at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmvG6FBo2-8&feature=related


Dance in a circle, initially move slowly speeding up as the song progresses.





















Petrouchka ne pleure pas,

Entre vite dans la ronde,

Fais danser tes nattes blondes,

Ton petit chat reviendra.

Il s’est fait polichinelle,

Dans les chemises en dentelle

De ton grand-papa.


Refrain x2

Chante, chante la colombe par dessus le toit,

Danse avant que la nuit tombe jolie Petrouchka.



Petrouchka ne pas pleure,

Mets ton grand fichu de laine,

Viens avec nous dans la plaine,

Ton petit chat rienvendra.

Il fait quatre galipettes,

Se déguise en marionettes,

Dés que tu t’en vas. Refrain x2


Petrouchka ne pas pleure,

Puisqu’il aime la musique

Chante-lui air magique,

Ton petit chat rienvendra.

Il nous dansera peut-être sur le bord

De la fenêtre, une mazurka. Refrain x2

Petrushka do not cry,

Join us quickly in the circle,

Come dance with your flowing long braids,

Soon your dear cat will return.

He turned into Punchinello,

Wore a lace shirt that belonged to

Your old grandpapa.


Refrain x2

Sing, sing little dove above the rooftops, sweetly sing,

Dance before the night falls, come my lovely Petrushka.


Petrushka do not cry,

Wrap your thick wool scarf around you,

Come with us off to the lowlands,

Soon your dear cat will return.

He turned four times somersaulting,

Disguised as a painted puppet,

And away he flew. Refrain x2


Petrushka do not cry,

Since he loves to hear the music

You must sing a song entrancing,

Then your dear cat will return.

If you ask him very nicely,

He might dance a fine mazurka

On the window sill. Refrain x2


































Polichinelle O


Pulcinella began as a famous 16th  century Italian puppet, a short fat clown in the Commedia dell’arte. Wearing a mask with a long red nose, he was a chatterbox unable to keep a secret, naïve and not very brave. Familiar in song as Punchinello in England, the Opie’s suggested he originated as Polichinelle in an old French nursery rhyme. In the 18th and 19th centuries Punchinello was linked with Punch and Judy and his song was made popular in the mid 20th century by the Brownie movement.


Listen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu4R8DnZwzo&feature=related




Make three circles choosing a Polichinelle for each group.

1. Children stand with hands held high as Polichinelle weaves in and out of the circle stopping to stand in the centre.

2. Polichinelle chooses an action and performs it to the others.

3. Everyone imitates Polichinelle who watches their actions choosing the one who performs best to be the next Polichinelle as the game is repeated.




















1. Pan! Pan! Qu’est-ce qu’est-là?

C’est Polichinelle Mam’zelle.

Pan! Pan! Qu’est-ce qu’est-là?

C’est Polichinelle qu’est v’là!


2. Toujours joyeux,

Il aime fort la danse,

Il se balance,

D’un petit air gracieux!


3. À vous faire rire,

Mes enfant, il aspire,

Jeunes et vieux,

Ceux qui rient sont hereux.


Hey! Look who comes here,

Why it’s Mr.Punchinello.

Hey! Look who comes here,

Punchinello little man!


He loves to dance,

Just feels the music playing,

He moves about,

In the most delightful way!


Join in his dance

He’ll surely have you laughing

Young folks and old

Show your merry dance today!



En famille



Bonjour ma cousine O


Children make two circles one inside the other, girls on the outside facing the boys on the inside – ‘cousines’ and ‘cousins germains’.


Watch at: http://www.wat.tv/video/bonjour-ma-cousine-by-bab-2xydf_2id3r_.html




















Bonjour ma cousine,

Bonjour mon cousin germain,

On m’a dit que vous m’aimez,

Est-ce bien la vérité!

Je m’en soucie guère,

Je m’en soucie guère,

Passez par ici et moi

par là,

Au revoir ma cousine,

Et puis voilà!

Hello my dear cousin,

Hello closest cousin,

dosidoSomeone said that you liked me,

Can it really be so true!

Not that I do care at all,

Not that I do care at all

You pass me and I pass you like this,

Goodbye dearest cousin,

Off we go!

Shake first right then left hands with the child opposite.

Look astonished, hands on hips.

Fan hands out in front of self.

Shrug shoulders to the left and look indifferent. Repeat gesture to the right.

Do-si-do – walk round each other back to back.

Wave to partner as boys step once to the left to face the next child in the outer circle, ready to begin the game again with the new pairing.






Drôle de machine O



Let the imagination blossom! Encourage children to invent and make their own funny or enchanted machines.


Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvBo24SJAbk






















Mon papa m’a achetè,

Une drôle de machine,

Mon papa m’a achetè,

Une machine enchantèe.

One day daddy bought for me,

A machine so very strange,

One day daddy bought for me,

A machine so magical.


Quand j’appuie sur le bouton,

Elle chante une chansons,

Dès que je tourney la clef,

Elle met à danser!

When you press the button here,

It will sing a little song,

When you turn the key around,

Watch it start to dance along!



Va en avant, en avant, en avant,


Va en arriére, en arriére, en arriére,

Off to the front, to the front, to the front,

Then to the back, to the back, to the back now.


Tourne, tourne, tourne un peu,

Tape, tape, tape un peu,

Saute, saute, saute un peu,

Puis en salue et on continue.

Turn and turn and turn about,

Clap and clap and clap about,

Jump and jump and jump about,

Make a salute then we start again.

Hold hands and turn rhythmically in a circle.








The circle stops, mime the actions.








Hold hands again and move four steps to the centre then four steps back.. Repeat.



Drop hands and turn on the spot.

Clap hands and stamp feet.

Jump on the spot.

Salute or bow then start again.










































La boîte à outils O



Learn the names of tools in father’s or mother’s tool box.

Adapt this song to include the tools of other artisans: plumbers, carpenters, tailors etc.

Make this song a cumulative one by adding the previous tool and sound each time.


Watch at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y1TjxfJpFE











Dans la boîte à outils de Papa il y a:

Un marteau qui comme ça:

Bim bam, bim bam bom!

Voilà ce qu’il y a!

Voilà ce qu’il y a!

In my father’s tool box this is what you’ll find:

A hammer just like this one:

Bim bang, bim bang bong!

That’s the way it goes, yes!

That’s the way it goes!


Scie / sawzzz zzz, zzz zzz zzz!

Tourn vis / screwdriver crr crr, crr crr crr!

Perceuse / drill bzeu bzeu, bzeu bzeu bzeu!

Tenaille / pincers pôt pôt, pôt pôt pôt!

Ciseaux / scissors clac clac, clac clac clac!





Mime taking out tools out of the box and using them with exaggerated movements and suitable noises.

















Moi j’aime papa O


This song provides an opportunity to discuss hurt feelings and how difficult situations might be resolved.


Listen at: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xghlrg_la-chanson-du-samedi-moi-j-aime-papa_people


Exaggerate the movements in this song, especially for that of the elephant!





















Moi j’aime papa, Moi j’aime maman,

J’aime mon petit chat, mon petit chien, mon petit frère,

Moi j’aime papa, Moi j’aime maman,

J’aime ma petite sœur et mon gros éléphant.

I love my dad, I love my mum,

I love my cat and my dog and little brother,

I love my dad, I love my mum,

I love little  sister and big elephant.


Je n’aime pas ma tante parce qu’elle pas gentille,

Je n’aime pas non plus mon cousin Nicholas,

Hier encore il ma chipé mes billes,

Et m’a cassé mon grand sabre de bois.

I don’t like my aunt for she shows me no kindness,

Nor do I like my cousin Nicholas,

It was just yesterday he stole my marbles,

And it was him broke my big wooden sword. 

Cross hands on chest then raise them.

Flat hand mounts the stairs.

Repeat first movement.

Indicate sister’s height and then make a large circle with hands to show the size of the elephant.




Shake finger from side to side.

Shake finger back and forth.

Place hands on hips and stamp foot. Stamp other foot.



Repeat actions as above.






Quand Fanny O


Fanny’s behaviour changes dramatically as she progresses through the stages of life and onto death. As an alternative ending sing: “Quand Fanny était dans le ciel” / “When Fanny was up in the sky” and cry in astonishment, “Oh que c’est beauuu!”

A simple hand clapping pattern is suggested below. When children are confident a more complex pattern could be tried.










Quand Fanny était un bébé, un bébé, un bébé,

Quand Fanny était un bébé,

Elle faisait comme ça: Ouin! Ouin!

When Fanny was a young baby, young baby, young baby, young baby,

When Fanny was a young baby,

She went just like this: Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah!


Quand Fanny était une p’tite fille, etc..

Elle faisait comme ça: Na-na-na-nèèèère! 

When Fanny was a little girl, etc..

She went just like this: Na-na-na-na-na!


Quand Fanny était une jeune fille, etc..

Elle faisait comme ça: Ahhh, alloo chèriii!

When Fanny was a teenage girl, etc..

She went just like this: “Hey, hello sailor!”


Quand Fanny était une maman, etc..

Elle faisait comme ça: Chut! Bèbè dors.

When Fanny was a young mother, etc..

She went just like this:Shhhhh! Baby’s sleeping.


Quand Fanny était une grandmère, etc..

Elle faisait comme ça: Aille, aille, aille, j’ai mal au dos! J’ai mal à mes mains! Je suis si vieille! 

When Fanny was a grandmama, etc..

She went just like this: Oi, oi, oi, I have back ache! I have aching hands! I am so old!


Quand Fanny était une squelette, etc..

Elle faisait comme ça: Clic-claque, clic-claque! 

When Fanny was a skeleton, etc..

She went just like this: Clickerty-clack, clickerty-clack!

Stand in pairs and clap rhythm on each other’s hands. Clap, slap right, clap, slap left. Continue this pattern.

Rub eyes or suck thumb and cry.







Repeat clapping pattern as above.

Thumb the nose or stick out tongue.




Repeat clapping pattern as above.

Place hands on hips turn head from side to side and shrug shoulders.




Repeat clapping pattern as above.

Rock baby in arms and put finger to lips.



Repeat clapping pattern as above.

Bend, hobble with hand to back.






Repeat clapping pattern as above.

Move like a skeleton with jaw banging up and down.



Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page