Children’s Clapping Game: Candy on a Stick

Main Piece: 

“Candy on a stick that makes me sick, 

It makes my tummy go two-forty-six, 

Not because you’re dirty, not because you’re clean, 

Not because you kissed a boy behind a magazine. 

Hey boys do you wanna fight 

I see a guy with his pants on tight 

He can wibble he can wobble he can even do the splits, 

But I bet ya ten bucks that he can’t do this. 

Close your eyes and count to ten, and if you mess up start over again”


The informant used to perform this song as part of clapping game in pre-school and elementary school in Arizona. She described it as an activity kids would do while lining up, such as when they were leaving the playground. She interpreted it as a distraction and time-passer, as well as something you got the joy of passing on/teaching. This was a regular activity for her and her classmates that those in her circle all knew. This was one of a few clapping games, rather than the only one they played.


This recitation seems similar to other childhood clapping games such as “patty-cake”, but with different lyrics and rhythm. This clapping game also seems more based in gender than the clapping games I’m familiar with, which, though normally performed by young girls, did not stake boys so firmly as another entity. This may be an example of defiant/experimental lyrics in schoolchildren with its fighting, kissing, and tight pants. Jay Mechling explains that children tend to experiment with “inappropriate” lyrics as a way to rebel against the dominant adult figures and explore adult themes that they’re marginally aware of safely. This activity seems to be a definitively gendered form of adolescent expression. The purpose would be to explore kissing, fighting, and tight pants in a low-stakes context. For another version of this game, see Tucker, Elizabeth. “Children’s Folklore: A Handbook.” United States: ABC-CLIO, 2008. 18.