USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘jump rope songs’
Childhood
Game
Humor
Musical
Riddle

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

This is a skipping rhyme told by a male second grader. As he was singing it some of her peers joined in the song.

“Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around. Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground. Teddy bear, teddy bear, tie your shoes. Teddy bear, teddy bear, get out of school.”

The skipping rhyme was shared by one student within a small group of second graders and myself. The rhyme associates childish themes, such as the teddy bear and tying shoe laces, with more controversial ideas such as ditching school, or perhaps dropping out. This is an oikotype of Teddy Bear skipping song. Upon further research, I found a different rendition of the song that replaced “get out of school” with “say your prayers.” The latter version was a nursery rhyme that may have been passed down my parents and then modified by the children. The children from whom I collected this rhyme couldn’t remember where that had learned the rhyme, therefore it is unclear whether they changed the lyric themselves or had heard it in that form. Either way, the line “get out of school” reflects children’s frustration with the education system. The skipping rhyme was well known by most of the second graders in the classroom, therefore the negative connotation of school was widely spread amongst them and possible others in different grades or classrooms.

For another version of this song, see 201 Nursery Rhymes & Sing-Along Songs for Kids by Jennifer M. Edwards.

Childhood
Musical

Cinderella Dressed in…What??

Megan is a sophomore in my french class. I’ve known her for a year. She’s a sweet, very soft spoken intelligent girl. She loves horseback riding. She’s majoring in creative writing and wants to be a screenwriter for Pixar one day.

When I first introduced the topic folklore and then mentioned childhood rhymes, riddles, and songs, one of the first things that popped into her head was this song:

“Cinder-ella, dressed in yell-ah

Went upstairs, to kiss, a fell-ah

Made a mis-take, and kissed a snake

Came downstairs, with ah belly-ache

How Many doooctors did-it-take

One…Two…Three…”

It’s a song girls sing when they’re jumping rope. I remember all the different variations of this form of folklore:

Cinderella, dressed in green,
Went upstairs to eat ice cream.
How many spoonfuls did she eat?
One, two, three

Cinderella, dressed in brown
Went upstairs to make a gown
How many stitches did she use?
One, two, three

Analysis: One of the more fun parts about being a girl is being able to sing silly things about the toys and characters you love without seeming too odd. Boys aspire to be astronauts, cowboys, police officers, doctors, chefs and more. But all little girls will tell you at least once in their lifetime that they want to be a princess. Whether they were 8 years old and playing on the playground or a 43 year old mother who only wishes to be spoiled and pampered by her prince. Songs like this play into our culture as a reminder that we can still have our imagination while understanding the truth; reality. Yes, we may not be princesses, so let’s make a little fun of Cinderella or whomever. It also keeps the character alive. While slightly teasing the character, little girls bring the princess to the playground and engulf themselves in an environment where they can run around their own princesses.

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