Jump Rope Rhyme – United States


Dressed in yella (“yellow”)

Went downstairs to kiss her fella,

Made a mistake,

Kissed a snake,

How many doctors did it take?

1, 2, 3, 4, etc…

Berna first heard this rhyme as a young girl on the playground at school.  She had become so familiar with the jump rope rhyme, that she recalls that she must have first heard the rhyme as a girl in her younger elementary years, probably around 2nd or even 1st grade.  Berna jumped to the beat of this chant while attending South San Francisco Elementary School sometime in the early 1990’s, in the Bay Area of California.  This rhyme occurs as such that the first six lines are chanted at the start of the jumproping.  The counting will then continue for as long as the jumproper can jump without messing up the rhythm of his/her jumping.

What I find interesting is that I, as a young girl, skipped and hopped to the same exact rhyme and used the same version, as a young elementary school girl in the early 1990’s, here in Southern California.  It is a marvel to see that such uniformity can be found in two such distinct areas as Northern and Southern California.  Though in the same state, these two geographical areas tend to appear as such different worlds: with different values, different lingo, and a different take on the “California lifestyle.”

To Berna, such a rhyme as this Cinderella one appeal to little girls because of its catchy nature.  The easy flow of the rhyme is extremely easy to memorize because it catches on so quickly.  In addition to that, I feel like the fact that the rhyme mentions Cinderella—a young girl’s role model; my personal heroine as a child—appeals to young girls worldwide.  To incorporate such a classic figure in literature and folkloric fairytales as Cinderella is sure to timelessly and universally grasp the attention of any audience.

Annotation: An original variation of this rhyme can be found in

Jump-Rope Rhymes

Natalie Park and Helen Park

California Folklore Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Oct. 1942) p. 377

Published by: Western States Folklore Society