“Your hands would slide (Interweave your hands with your friend’s hands and then slide them out and then draw them both towards yourself) and you’d then start doing patty cake [clap your own hands together than then hit your partner’s right hand with your right hand, and then clap your own hands again and repeat with the left hands]. You would start counting each time you and your partner hit hands and skip the number five while counting – 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 etc. and then when you got to 50 you would skip from 49 to 60. If someone said 5 (including 15, 25, 35, etc.) then they were ‘out’.”
EK is a 19 year old American student at USC. She described a child’s game she remembers playing with her friends while growing up. She was raised in Northern California.
Growing up in Minnesota, we played all sorts of clapping games, but I’d never heard this one. It’s interesting that the “patty cake” hand clapping motion was presented as a given, and while I understood it, I assume other people wouldn’t know what “patty cake” meant, however it might be a more widespread game than “Slide” is. It seems as though this game is a derivation of “patty cake”. Since it is a bit more complicated than “patty cake”, it would probably be seen as a more ‘mature’ way for older kids to play “patty cake”. Emily Rivas (2020) talks about the “patty cake” hand clapping game and describes it as “the most classic and simple clapping game out there.” Perhaps its simplicity is what has caused it to be generalized to so many other games. If you read the rest of her article “10 classic hand clapping games to teach your kids”, she even describes the hand motions of one of the rhymes/games “Miss Mary Mack” as a derivative of the “patty cake” hand clapping. Even more interesting is there is a game called “Slide” in this article that looks significantly different than the “Slide” described above in both lyrics and hand motions. Nevertheless, “patty cake” has a long history and some debatable origins as a nursery rhyme (Di Donato, 2016), but its proliferation in new derivations of the game is incredibly intriguing. Hand clapping games are great for kids and also very common (in variable forms) in my experience because they can be played anywhere and are easy to learn, while also being competitive, which makes them fun. They are something that gets passed around by kids without anyone really knowing where they came from, and since the informant told me about a game I had never heard of (and I supplied her with games she had never heard of), it is obvious that they their usage varies even across the United States.
Di Donato, Jill. “The History of ‘Patty Cake’ Is More Interesting than You’d Think.” Romper, BDG Media, 9 May 2016, www.romper.com/p/the-history-of-patty-cake-is-more-interesting-than-youd-think-10222.
Rivas, Emily. “10 Classic Hand-Clapping Games to Teach Your Kid.” Today’s Parent, St. Joseph Communications, 8 Sept. 2020, www.todaysparent.com/family/10-classic-hand-clapping-games-to-teach-your-kid/.