Obo Shin Otten Totten

My Informant described this game that she played as a child at summer camp as similar in play to “Down by the Banks”, though the tune was different than most versions of “Down by the Banks” that she heard (Unfortunately, she could not remember the specific tune). Children would gather and sit in a circle and place their hands on top of their neighbors hand, so that each child could clap the next child’s hand. The children would go through the rhyme until the end of the count of ten, and whoever was clapped on ten was out. The game would continue until it was two children left, who would push their arms to each other, until the count of ten, when whoever’s arm was near their body would be out.

The rhyme’s words were this:

Obo shin otten totten, nay nay, I am boom boom boom, itty bitty otten totten, obo shin otten totten, obo shin otten totten boom! one two three four five six seven eight nine ten!

She remembered the game fondly, and that it was a good way for kids new to the camp to bond, and older kids to help younger kids acclimate to the camp environment.

It’s interesting to me how this clapping game is translated from group to group, as the general clapping motions stay relatively the same, while depending on the group, the melody or rhythm will change. I am not sure what this says about each group, but it is interesting that the motions stay consistent, while the song almost always changes fairly significantly.