Avocado Rhyme Game (with Hand Motions)

Original Text: “Avocado is the name of the game, if you mess up, you must have a word to say”

Hand Motions/Gestures:

  1. Both people clap their own hands together 
  2. Both people clap each other’s right hands together 
  3. Both people clap each other’s left hands together 
  4. Both people clap their own hands together 
  5. Both people intertwine their fingers and press their palms out into the other’s palms 

Context: The informant is an 18-year-old white American from Barrington, Illinois. They are a freshman at USC, studying Theater and Anthropology. They learned this rhyme game from their older sisters, who learned it on the elementary school playground. The informant describes it as : “a rhyme with motions to go along with it”. If you mess up the motions or the rhyme, you pick another word to replace “avocado”, and repeat the rhyme as usual. The informant would regularly play this game with friends at their public elementary school with friends to pass the time.

Analysis: Hand games with rhymes are common in American elementary schools. This particular hand game calls for the players to be able to think of a random word quickly to keep the game going if they mess up. A typical way that young American children learn to speak, read, and write properly in school is with long lists of vocabulary words and vocab tests. Everyday words, like different types of food (ex: avocado), are the most useful and common in these vocab activities. A game like this one that involves simple word recall might be especially appealing and familiar to children because of all the vocab words they are learning in their classes. Young children are also working on their motor skills, and visual/audio queues like clapping and rhyming are particularly stimulating and accessible. Rhymes are easier for people to remember, which explains why young children have an easy time remembering this game and executing it.