In het water

Berend Botje

De krokodil die ligt in het water

Jan Huygen in de ton

Schipper mag ik overvaren

Varen varen over de baren

Visje visje in het water

Witte zwanen, zwarte zwanen

Last updated: 5/19/2015 3:06 PM


The songs below are part ofTingelinge pannenkoek’ The Dutch 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 2012 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.



Berend Botje O


Many illustrations to this song feature a bear on a boat as the name ‘Berend Botje, suggests a bearlike character. Zuidlaren is a village in north east Holland. Find out more about Berend Botje at:


Watch at:


Stand one behind the other in groups of three to six.




























Berend Botje ging uit varen,

Met zijn scheepje naar Zuidlaren.

De weg was recht, de weg was krom,

Nooit kwam Berend Botje weerom.

Bertie Boater went off sailing,

In his sailboat to South Laren.

A long straight road, a winding road,

Bertie never came back again.


Een, twee, drie, vier, vijf, zes, zeven,

Waar is Berend Botje gebleven?

Hij is niet hier, hij is niet daar,

Hij is naar Amerika!

Amerika, Amerika,

Drie maal in de rondte,

Van je hopsasa!

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,

Where could Bertie Boater have got to?

He is not here, he is not there,

He went to America!

America, America,

Turn three times in circles

With a hopsasa!




























Row back and forth.


Stretch right arm out to the side then bend it at the elbow. Shrug with hands out.









Count with fingers.

Shrug as before.

With eyes shaded look to the front and then back. Clap to ‘America’



Turn round and clap. Alternately roll arms three times.




De krokodil die ligt in het water O


Watch out for the crocodile he’s coming up behind you!


Watch at: and














De krokodil die ligt in het water,

De krokodil ligt even stil,

De krokodil komt steeds een stukje nader,

Hap ! Auw !

Bijt ie in je bil!

The crocodile it lies in the water,

The crocodile silently he comes.

The crocodile creeps closer and closer,

Snap! Ouch!

Bites you on your bum!


Stoute, stoute krokodil.

Waarom bijt jij in mijn bil?

Ik ga de politie halen,

jij moet nieuwe billen betalen!

Naughty, naughty crocodile.

Why did you bite me bad reptile?

I'll find a policeman qualified,

To make you pay for a new backside!







With arms outstretched slap palms of hands open and closed.


Jump in the air and slap bottom.



Shake finger with other hand on hip.





Jan Huygen in de tonO


An old children’s song possibly based on the Dutch explorer Jan Huygen van Linschoten, who sailed to the Dutch Indies, America and the North Pole till 1611.


This game is played in a similar way to ‘Ring-a roses’.


Watch at:











Jan Huygen in de ton,

Met een hoepeltje erom,

Jan Huygen, Jan Huygen,

En de ton, die viel in duigen!

John Hurgen’s in a barrel,

With a band around the middle,

John Hurgen, John Hurgen,

And the barrel fell in pieces!



























Children walk or skip round the circle holding hands.

On the last line they fall to the floor.



Schipper mag ik overvaren O


This is a playground game a little similar to ‘Please Mr Crocodile may I cross your water?’


Watch at:















Schipper mag ik overvaren?

Ja of nee?

Moet ik dan ook tol betalen?

Ja of nee?

Skipper can I cross the water?

Yes or no?

Do I have to pay a toll sir?

Yes or no?



















The children stand in a line facing one child, the ‘skipper’. The children sing the song and the ‘skipper’ answers ‘no’ or ‘yes’. If it is ‘no’ the children are allowed to run across the playground. If ‘yes’ the ‘skipper’ sets a particular condition before allowing the children to cross e.g. skipping. The ‘skipper’ also has to move in this way and at the same time attempt to catch a child. The person who is tapped then becomes the next ‘skipper’.



Varen varen over de baren O


A gentle song that could be played simply like ‘Row row row your boat’.


Listen at:
















Varen, varen over de baren,

Varen, varen over de zee.

Wie nog nooit gevaren heeft,

Weet niet hoe een zeeman left.

Varen, varen over de baren,

Varen, varen over de zee.

Sailing, sailing over the ocean,

Sailing, sailing over the sea.

If you’ve never sailed beware,

A sailor’s life is hard out there.

Sailing, sailing over the ocean,

Sailing, sailing over the sea.





















Children sit facing each other in pairs holding hands and gently move back and forth. After the first couplet wave to their partner and move to make a pair with another child. The new couple then move as before to the final two lines.


Continue repeating the above sequence each time.



Visje visje in het waterO


There are a lot of contrasts in this singing game; make little movements make big movements, make slow movements and fast, sing softly sing louder. All good fun.

Younger children might prefer to sit and only make movements with hands.


Watch at:

Find more familiar 4/4 time versions at: and






















Visje, visje, in het water,

Visje, visje, in de kom.

Visje, visje, kan niet praten,

Visje, visje, draai je om.

Fishy, fishy, in the water,

Fishy, fishy, in the bowl.

Fishy, fishy, cannot talk sir,

Fishy, fishy, turn around so.

Visje heeft zich omgekeerd,

Omgekeerd, omgekeerd.

Visje heeft zich omgekeerd,

Dat heeft ie van jou geleerd!

Fish is swimming back again,

Back again, back again.

Fish is swimming back again,

For that’s what he’s learned from you!


Walvis, walvis, in het water,

Walvis walvis, in de zee.

Walvis walvis, kan niet praten,

Walvis walvis, draai maar mee.

Blue whale, blue whale in the water,

Blue whale, blue whale in the sea.

Blue whale, blue whale cannot talk sir,

Blue whale, blue whale turn round like me.

Walvis heeft zich omgekeerd,

Omgekeerd, omgekeerd.

Walvis heeft zich omgekeerd,

Dat heeft ie van jou geleerd!

Whale is swimming back again,

Back again, back again.

Whale is swimming back again,

For that’s what he’s learned from you!




With palms together move hands like fish.

Shape a fish bowl with fingers.

Hands make talking movement.

Turn round with swimming movements.


With palms together move in and out of each other with little steps.











Repeat all of above with big exaggerated movements.



Witte zwanen, zwarte zwanen O


It is suggested that the swans symbolize Dutch ships which because of restrictions under the rule of Oliver Cromwell were unable to trade with England. The keys symbolize the unlocking of commerce:


This game is played in a similar way to ‘Oranges and lemons’.


Listen to the song accompanied by sign language at:




















Witte zwanen, zwarte zwanen!

Wie gaat er mee naar Engeland varen?

Engeland is gesloten,

De sleutel is gebroken.

En is er dan geen smid in het land,

Die de sleutel maken kan?

White swans, black swans, white swans, black swans,

Who’ll go to England billowed wings sailing?

England is closed, it’s not open,

Sadly for the key’s broken.

Is there not a smith in the land,

Who can make a key by hand?


Laat doorgaan
Laat doorgaan
Wie achter is moet voorgaan!

Let’s go through, let go through,

The one behind must now go.

Two children make an archway with hands held high and quietly choose who will be ‘white swans’ and who ‘black swans’. The rest form a line and pass under the arch.







The two making the arch lower their arms over each child as they move through capturing one on the last word. This child out of hearing chooses to be a white or a black and stands behind that leader.


When all children have been captured there is a tug of war.

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