Children’s Rhyme

Children’s Rhyme

Down by the banks of the Hanky Panky

Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky

Where the eeps, ops, sodapops

Hit Mr. Lilypad and went kerplops

Kyrsti learned this rhyme when she was in middle school from her friends.  She often played it with her friends to pass time during recess or sometimes in class. She and at least five of her friends would sit in a circle, overlapping hands, and sing this chant while slapping each other’s hands going around in a big circle. When you got to the end of the song, whoever’s hand got hit on “plops” was out and had to leave the circle and watch everyone else play. She described, however, how many people would try to cheat and sneak in an extra hand hit in order to not be the one who lost. A number of ways to cheat was to speed up in the middle of the song in order to not have it land no you in the end if you could time it or at the end try to sneak in another hand slap on someone else in order to not be the one out. But she said the most popular way to not lose was if you were the one who the final word landed on, if you could grab your hand away before it got it the person who missed your hand would be out instead.

She said that this game was not only used at her school but that she also played it when she was at camp with her friends or at a party. However, she did point out that this was not a game that they played at home, probably because they had other activities available to them at her house. Kyrsti believed that this game was meant to be a bonding experience because you either had to trust the person next to you wouldn’t try to get you out and you just got to play with your friends and bond. But she also notes how these games were usually only participated in by girls and boys rarely, if ever took part. She believes this is most likely due to the fact that many of the rhymes were about girly activities.

I found this item particularly interesting because this was also a game I played when I was a kid at school and we played it in the same sort of situations. I am not sure whether or not this is a game that spans all throughout Los Angeles, but I do know a lot of people who are from Los Angeles that know this rhyme or at least some version very similar to it. Also, after having interviewed Kyrsti and looking at a lot of my other collections, I realized the children clapping games are some of the most popular if not prevalent versions of child folklore. Many people perform them and they are rapidly passed on because children are constantly teaching the rhyme to someone new. Thus children clapping games are a great example of folklore in modern society.

Annotation: This children’s rhyme can be found in The Complete Book of Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays: Over 700 Selections which includes rhymes, riddles, and children nursery rhymes from all over.

Silberg, Jackie, and Pam Schiller. The Complete Book of Rhymes, Songs, Poems,

Fingerplays: Over 700 Selections. Gryphon House, 2002. 2 May 2008