Children’s Rhyme – Iran

“Tahp tahpeh khameer

“Tap tap dough

Sheesheh por paneer

Glass full cheese

Dasteh kee balluh?”

Hand who up?”

“Tap, tap the dough.

There are glasses full of cheese.

Whose hands are up?”

Roxy told me that she learned this rhyme in Farsi from her mother when she was a girl about 6 years old. Her mother had learned it growing up in Iran and taught it to her daughters. Roxy described to me the type of game this rhyme is said to: there is one child lying face down on their stomach. The rest of the children are sitting around him or her and patting their back, as if they are ‘tapping’ dough to be made for bread. This is done while the first two lines are said. When the third line is asked, one of the children tapping will stop and raise their hands before the rhyme is over while the rest of the children keep tapping. After the rhyme is said, the child lying down has to guess which child stopped tapping their back first. If they answer correctly than that child must now lay face down, if not then the first child has to lay back down again until they can guess correctly.

Roxy explained to me that the rhyme and game is supposed to be as if the children are in the kitchen making bread to eat with the cheese in the glasses. Whoever stops working first, signified by putting your hands up, is considered to be lazy. Therefore, Roxy said, that this game is supposed to teach children to be hardworking and not to be idle or lazy in their chores or duties. This she believes creates a good work ethic among children while they are small so they can grow up to be successful, working adults.

It is clear how this game would teach the importance of being determined and hardworking. This rhyme also stresses the importance of cooperation and teamwork, as the children work together to make the bread to eat. The significance of community and working side-by-side is esteemed because it appears that when you do not help out with the tasks, you will be punished for doing so. This rhyme is a simple way to illustrate the value of a good work ethic as well as the positives of cooperation and solidarity.