Author Archives: Rosemary Bearden

Down Down Baby Clapping Game


Down, down, baby
Down, down the roller coaster (accompanied by the hand making a horizontal wave motion)
Sweet, sweet, baby (accompanied by both arms crossing the chest)
Sweet, Sweet don’t let me go

Chimmy, chimmy cocoa pop
Chimmy, chimmy aw
Chimmy, chimmy cocoa pop
Chimmy, chimmy aw

I have a boyfriend
A sweet, sweet
He’s so cute
A biscuit

Apples and bananas
Peaches on the table
Step up baby
Don’t let me go

Samantha learned this from her older cousin Isabelle. Samantha said her reason for playing it was to have fun with her relatives. She plays it when they get together for holidays and birthdays mostly. I can guess this is meaningful because it’s a way for an older relative to bond and teach a younger one. Girls’ folklore is often more collaborative and less competitive than boys’ folklore and clapping games are an example of this. This version of the rhyme is interesting for the emphasis it puts on the boyfriend. This both excludes most boys from playing for fear of seeming feminine and stresses the importance of having a boyfriend to young girls. The version I learned had lyrics about grandma being sick in bed and let’s get the motion of the head, hands and feet. It’s always interesting how folklore changes over time and space especially a change from grandma being sick in bed to a boyfriend. A version of this song is in the movie Big

Elbow Tag

Elbow tag is a variation of tag that Lizzy learned from her older sister. It combines a few different versions of tag. It is similar to hide-and-go-seek-tag in that the kids who are not “it” start by hiding. Although, they can move from their hiding spots. It gets its name from the rule that the only way to get people “it” is to tag them elbow-to-elbow. Lizzy could not tell us why they changed the rule to just elbows beyond “it’s cheating.” It could be because it would be harder to accidentally shove someone too hard, or to lessen the spread of germs. Maybe it is to make sure there is no mistaking if someone was tagged or not, or simply as a variation to liven up the game. Lizzy said she played this at home, not school. Tag is a game for children of all ages, so it would work well in a neighborhood with kids of varying ages. It also can be played with no equipment and varying numbers.