Bubblegum, Bubblegum rhyme

Bubblegum, bubblegum rhyme

Collection Context:

The following folklore was collected from during a Joint Educational Project assignment (volunteer program) at an elementary school.


Informant (I): Someone needs to count…because first we put someone’s foot in it

Collector (C): Put someone’s foot in what?

I: Well first we be like…like…um…put your foot like this (she puts her foot out to indicate those participating form a circle each with one foot in the middle of the circle), and there are like some words, and then who gets out and the other one and who’s left is gonna…is gonna count.

C: Ok. What are the words? Let’s pretend we’re doing it right now. What would the words be?

I: Bubblegum, bubblegum in the dish, how many pieces do you wish? If we…if I touch you or me we need to say a…a…an number like ten. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

*Informant indicates that with each number the counter points to a foot in the circle. The foot pointed to is not random but goes in a circle*

*Informant lands on her own foot on the last number*

C:  And so you would go out? (Meaning she would remove her foot from the circle because her foot was landed on/pointed at for the last number counted to)

I: And you…you need to count.

C: And so I would be it?

I: uh huh

C: What do you do, so if there’s more than one or whatever people you just keep doing the bubble gum game until there’s only one person left?

I: Um we don’t play…we…huh?

C: So if you’re doing…you know if you’re trying to pick who’s it, and there’s…let’s say there’s four people here, do you keep playing until there’s only one foot left in?

*Informant nods*

C: So you’ll do it four…you’ll do multiple rounds of the bubblegum game?

*Informant nods*

C: Do you do that for every game?

I: um, I think.

Why does she thing they do this?

The informant stated that they play bubblegum, bubblegum to decide who is it and they always use this to decide. She also stated that this is something that she learned from people at school, but she cannot remember who taught it to her.


I agree that this is a means for the children to decide who is it and it is a way which they all can agree on. They have some control over the game because they are able to pick the number that is counted to, but they never know exactly who is going to be out. This makes it a fair way to decide and no one will be ganged up against. It is a way for the students to be in charge of planning their own activities in a world where they rarely have such an opportunity.