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Jump Rope Songs, Rhymes, and Chants

Sheila grew up jumping rope in the Boston area and still remembers all those silly rhymes she sang when a child.

Childhood Fun

Jumprope grafiti

Jumprope grafiti

Jump Rope Songs: Rhythmic Chants in Children's Play

Kids' lives today are becoming more and more sedentary. Jump rope can offer great exercise to keep both girls and boys healthy and active as they grow.

Are you looking for some jump rope songs to teach someone you know? Come along with me to jump rope memory lane where I'll share with you the jump rope songs, rhymes, and chants that my friends and I sang as young girls. I hope you will find some jump rope songs here that will spark your own memories, too.

I have also included information and videos about Double Dutch, Chinese Jump Rope, and Jump Rope for Heart, all ways that an old game has taken on new forms.

If all you are looking for are the rhymes, keep scrolling down the page, as I've kept adding more rhymes and chants right to the bottom.

Jump Rope Rhyme: Banana Banana

The First Jump Rope Song I Ever Learned!

For this jump rope song, the child in the middle jumped until we sang the word "split." Then she'd do a little split with her legs before jumping again. The poor child often tripped over the rope if she was new at the game!

Banana, banana

Banana split!

Mama bought

a newborn chick!

Chickie died.

Mama cried.

Banana, banana

Banana split!

Songs Passed Down From Kid to Kid

When I was a little girl, jump rope songs were very popular. I grew up on the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts, during a time when girls were not included in sports. We didn't even have gym as part of our school day -- hard to believe in a place where today sports are such an important part of the culture.

Jumping rope during recess or after school was the main physical outlet for our childish energies. And jump rope songs or chants, passed down from girl to girl, were our main exposure to rhyme and rhythm.

Jump rope was big. And necessary. Which doesn't mean our songs were profound—just valuable as something that belonged solely to kids.

Another Jump Rope Rhyme: Ice Cream Soda

This One Always Made Me Nervous—Would I Get Teased?

Sometimes while everyone sang this song, the girl jumping would hesitate or giggle and be unable to finish. After all, who wants to be linked too closely to a boy when you're only seven or eight years old? "Yuck!"

Ice cream soda

with a cherry on top

What are the initials

of your sweetheart?

Capital R N

(Didn't know him then, but that's the one I married.)

Easy to Find Equipment: A Simple Rope

A children's game using few supplies: All you need Is a piece of rope, with or without the handles.

A children's game using few supplies: All you need Is a piece of rope, with or without the handles.

Jump Rope Through History: The Origins

Jumping Rope or Skipping Rope?

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Read More From Wehavekids

Wikipedia describes the origins of skipping rope (the British term) or jumping rope (the American term) as unclear, but evidence points to its originating from activities done in Egypt and by the aborigines of Australia, as well as to practices in China.

Whatever its origins, children are often seen jumping rope in Medieval paintings. Its popularity grew among inner-city kids during the 1940s and 50s, took on a "fitness" flavor in the 1970s, and today is becoming popular as a competitive sport.

What is your experience jumping rope?

Children Jump Rope All Over the World.

These children are jumping in the schoolyard.

These children are jumping in the schoolyard.

Jump Rope Songs in Different Versions

Did You Sing This Jump Rope Song?

Which Version Did You Sing?

Because jump rope songs are passed down orally from child to child, the words can vary from region to region and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. You may notice differences between the songs you remember and the ones I have written here or the ones to which I have provided links.

That's as it should be for an oral tradition. It may also add interest.

For example, why, in one version, did Cinderella kiss a snake and need lots of doctors to make her better after she kissed him, while in another version she was simply playing her cello?

The first version may just be silly, but it could also be a way a girl was being warned against kissing a guy who could turn out to be as sneaky and unreliable as a snake and to warn her that she could get hurt by kissing the wrong person.

Jump Rope Chant: Cinderella

Two Versions of This Jump Rope Song

If the kids singing this song are from some regions of the US, the word "Cinderella" actually does rhyme with "yellow" and "fellow" ("yella" and "fella").

Cinderella

Dressed in yellow

Went upstairs

To kiss her fellow.

By mistake

She kissed a snake

How many doctors

Did it take?

Pepper: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

In case you forget, "pepper" means you speed up turning the rope. You count until you miss jumping and the number you "trip over" is the answer to the "how many" question!

Another version:

Cinderella

Dressed in yellow

Went outside

To play her cello

How many minutes

Did she take?

Pepper: 10-20-30-40-50-60!

She practiced a whole hour. Wow! Good for her!

Another Rhyme: Under and Over the Moon

(The words in parentheses describe actions and are not spoken.)

Under

(child runs under the rope as it turns and runs around the end holder)

and Over

(child jumps over the rope from the opposite side)

Under and over the moon

The baby dropped the spoon

So pick it up

(she reached down and pretends to pick up the spoon)

Pick it up

(she does it again)

Under and over the moon!

Baby in the Highchair: Another Jump Rope Rhyme I Learned Early On

I Don't Think We Thought Too Deeply About What It Meant!

This jump rope song seems brutal bringing it to mind now as an adult, but I don't think as kids we thought through the meaning of it.

Baby in the highchair

Who put him in?

Ma

Pa

Whoopsieda!

Wrap him up in tissue paper.

Send him down the elevator.

See how many hours he can sleep!

Pepper - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 . . .

(until the child trips on the rope.)

Skipping Rope: We Learn About Each Other Through Play

Learning How to Get Along with Others

What I remember most about my years jumping rope was the camaraderie with a group of girls whose young lives I shared. I remember the swish of the uniform skirts and the swing of pony tails and braids.

When twenty-five girls let out for recess, they would show a different side of themselves as they entered the swing of the rope than they would show during our lessons in school. Certain girls would demand to be queen; others would show compassion to their playmates; still others would be cranky or confrontational.

We learned a lot during these playtimes about getting along with others and about challenging ourselves.

Jump Rope Rhyme: Fudge Fudge

Babies Didn't Really Have a Gender in This Jump Rope Song

Here is another example of a rhyme with different versions. In one version I have recently discovered, it is the jumping girl who has had a baby and "her boyfriend is going crazy!" I suppose kids who are using the song adjust the rhyme according to what makes sense to them and then pass on that version to the younger kids.

Fudge fudge

Call the judge

Mama's got a newborn baby.

It isn't a boy

It isn't a girl

It's just a plain old baby!

More Rhymes Below

I have a lot more rhymes to share, but I thought I'd pause here to find out what your experience playing this game has been. Feel free to add to the discussion in the comment section, but if what you're looking for is just the rhymes, be sure to scroll down to read more. Some of my favorite rhymes are printed below.

I have also added Double Dutch videos and information about Jump for Heart, a fitness program popular in many communities. There's even an instruction video for Chinese Jump Rope, another variation of the jump rope theme.

I Had a Little Turtle

Turtle in a BIG bathtub!

Turtle in a BIG bathtub!

Jump Rope Rhyme: I Had a Little Turtle/Lady With the Alligator Purse

Similar Jump Rope Songs

This rhyme is a case where one song was adapted and added to another similar song.

I had a little turtle.

His name was Tiny Tim.

I put him in the bathtub

to see if he could swim.

He drank up all the water.

He ate the bar of soap.

He woke up in the morning

with a bubble in his throat.

(The children wiggle their index fingers across their lips when singing the last line to sound as if there are bubbles in their own throats.)

This is the song the way I learned it as a kid:

Miss Penny had a baby.

She named him Tiny Tim.

She put him in the bathtub

to see if he could swim.

He drank up all the water.

He ate the bar of soap.

He would have eaten the bathtub

but it wouldn't fit down his throat.

Miss Penny called the doctor.

Miss Penny called the nurse.

Miss Penny called the lady with the alligator purse.

In came the doctor

In came the nurse

In came the lady with the alligator purse

"Measles!" said the doctor.

"Mumps!" said the nurse.

"Everything!" said the lady with the alligator purse.

Out went the doctor.

Out went the nurse.

Out went the lady with the alligator purse.

I have heard versions in which the doctor, nurse, and alligator purse parts were added to the turtle version.

When played with a group of girls, a new jumper can enter the swinging rope for each "in came the . . ." and leave again when the words "out went the ..." are sung.

Jump Rope Songs Have Many Versions

In Came the Doctor, In Came the Nurse . . .

And don't forget the lady with the alligator purse!

And don't forget the lady with the alligator purse!

Jump Rope Rhyme: Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Turn around!

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Touch the ground!

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Walk upstairs,

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Say your prayers.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Turn off the light,

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,

Say good-night!

2 Jump Rope Rhymes Also Used in Clapping Games

Miss Mary Mack


Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack

All dressed in black, black, black

With silver buttons, buttons, buttons

All down her back, back, back.


I Asked My Mother for Fifty Cents


I asked my mother

For fifty cents

To see the elephant

Jump the fence.

He jumped so high,

He touched the sky,

And didn't come back

Till the Fourth of July!

Here's a Fun Jump Rope Chant - Sesame Street ABC's

Jump Rope Rhyme: A My Name is Alice

Alphabet Jump Rope Song

As kids, we often jumped the alphabet. When no one could think of anything better, we'd make a line beside one of the two girls swinging the rope and then jump in and out with each girl yelling out the next letter in the alphabet.

This was a fast-moving jump rope game, as we tried to follow each other without missing a beat. If you were late jumping in, you bore the wrath of all the others because the whole point of this game was to keep moving.

It was also a game that included the maximum number of kids possible. This was an important point in a baby boomer classroom where we could have 50 kids in a classroom. The boys tended not to play, but still . . .

Here's another great—though not as fast—jump rope rhyme for reinforcing the alphabet:

A my name is Alice;

My husband's name is Al;

We live in Alabama,

And we sell apples.


(The first child jumps out and the second one jumps in to continue the chant.)

B my name is Barbara;

My husband's name is Ben;

We live in Boston,

And we sell balloons.

The same pattern is repeated as each child takes a turn until all the letters of the alphabet have been used.

Children can have a lot of fun thinking up names, places, and items to sell. They also get practice with beginning sounds. Depending on the number of children playing, they may have to think up names pretty quickly!

Some Other Fun Games Using a Jump Rope - Fun for Summer Parties

This video shows you some other ways you can use the simple jump rope to have fun with kids. One game is for younger kids who haven't yet developed the motor skills and coordination for regular jump rope. I remember this snake game from when I was young and I also remember how quickly we thought of it as a game for "babies" as our jumping skills improved.

The other is a real summer game—lots of fun for jumping in hot weather!

Jump Rope Rhyme: All in Together Girls

Months of the Year Jump Rope Song

As this rhyme begins, all the girls jump into the swinging rope together and then jump out when their birthday month is called.

All in together, girls,

Very fine weather, girls,

I spy teacher hanging out the clothes.

Fire! Fire!

Teacher is a liar!

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December!

I don't know about you, but that was how I got to really know the order of the months of the year. I don't know how the teachers felt overhearing our shrill voices calling them liars in the schoolyard, though.

Here's Another Months of the Year Jump Rope Song

Jump Rope Rhyme to Learn

At the start of this jump rope chant, all the children not turning the rope are inside ready to jump. Needless to say, you need a very long rope if you have a lot of kids! I can remember the ropes that we used needed to be wrapped a few times around the turners' hands until a jump rope song like this one was played. Then, of course, we used the whole length.

As the rope turns and the song is sung, everyone jumps together. When your birthday month is called, you jump out and wait until all the months are called and all the kids have jumped out.

Apples, peaches, pears, and plums,

Tell me when your birthday comes:

January, February,

March, April, May,

June, July, August,

September, October,

November, December!

I Like Coffee, I Like Tea

I like coffee

I like tea

I like (name)

to jump with me!

Each child calls out the name of another child until all kids are jumping together. When everyone is in, you can:

  1. Jump pepper;
  2. Count and jump out at your age; or
  3. Jump the letters of the alphabet with girls jumping out when their first initial is called.

You can also play this with the first child jumping out after she calls a new child in, so that the game can go on and on as long as you want, but there's always the chance that some kids could be left out altogether if people keep calling in the same kids to jump.