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152 messages

Child's Game: Elastics

24 Apr 02 - 02:34 PM (#697647)
Subject: Elastics
From: selby

I don't know if this was a UK thing or a world thing, can anyone remember playing elastics. Where loads of elastic bands where joined together to make a loop and then 2 people stood with them round their ankles whilst the 3rd jumped in and out. What where the rhymes that went with it? and what where the moves that where done? This is a serious bit of research for a teacher. Keith

24 Apr 02 - 02:48 PM (#697654)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: Hollowfox

I've seen something similar sold in the USA as a "Chinese Jumprope", where a large cloth covered elastic loop is stretched out by two players for a third to jump over (I think). This may be a distant cousin, more than the same thing. Good luck with your project.

24 Apr 02 - 03:05 PM (#697665)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: Jeanie

Yes ! This is obviously a day for reminiscing (see TV series thread). This game is still being played. The rhyme I remember and also currently chanted in the Essex area is: "England - Ireland - Scotland - Wales; Outside - Inside - ON !" You have to loop the elastic around your ankles and cross right foot over left, then left foot over right, then release the elastic and jump outside the lines, then inside the lines, then on top of them.

A good book with all kinds of playground games, rhymes etc. is by a couple named Opie.

24 Apr 02 - 03:15 PM (#697671)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: Mrrzy

I played that in French school as a child; I've never seen Americans play it. The French and the Africans still play it - but I can't recall any of the rhymes, which wouldn't have been in English anyway...

24 Apr 02 - 03:17 PM (#697674)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: weepiper

We had a similar rhyme for this game at primary school in East Lothian (Scotland) 15 or 20 years ago, except ours went "Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, don't step on the monkeys' tails, England, Ireland, Scotland, France..." and I don't remember the next line...there was an 'Inside, outside, on!' bit too I think but I can't remember how it goes together. As for moves, the jumper would start to one side of the rubber bands and on the first word of the chant would jump both feet inside the bands, then on the next word jump both feet out the other side, and back the same way, then jump both feet inside on "don't", both feet outside (one on each side) on the "on", both inside on the "monkeys'" and finish both feet on the rubber bands on "tails".

24 Apr 02 - 06:59 PM (#697834)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: Morticia

Oh was SO long ago, but there was a rhyme we did to elastics ( to follow ).We used knicker elastic as I recall...I'm so sorry that's all I remember but when you get to my age, that's doing pretty well *BG*

By the window stands a lady Whatshe wants I cannot tell All she wants is gold and silver All she wants is a nice young man

24 Apr 02 - 08:16 PM (#697890)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: Hrothgar

And how did you keep your knickers up while ALL this was going on?


24 Apr 02 - 09:24 PM (#697935)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: catspaw49

I remember it as Hollowfox does....Chinese Jump Rope. I seem to recall some rhyming stuff too but at this age I haven't got a clue! But when I see an old friend who I remember played the game a lot, I'll ask her.

HOWEVER.....If you use "knicker elastic" you should NOT have any celery around anywhere as it will have a deleterious effect on knicker elastic. Hey...I ain't lying about this!!! CLICK HERE and Check It Out!!!


24 Apr 02 - 09:33 PM (#697937)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: aussiebloke

The game of elastics was played in Australian schoolgrounds in the 1960's - either with a length of elastic, or with rubber bands joined together. It was played almost exclusively by females, consequently I recall none of the songs/chants that accompanied the game.

Picture of Aussie kids playing elastics.

and, err, yep - I did make that web-site...

Happy ANZAC Day


25 Apr 02 - 01:31 PM (#698431)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: Mrs.Duck

Had a look at the instruction leaflet on ours at school today and it included a rhyme beginning Inky Pinky Ponky but I forgot to bring it home. I will remember tomorrow and e mail you the rhyme and a scan of the leaflet.

25 Apr 02 - 01:40 PM (#698441)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: MMario

I remember it as chinese jumprope as well - and we did use rubber bands looped together at times.

25 Apr 02 - 02:07 PM (#698460)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: weepiper

Morticia, we sang that rhyme for clapping games:

On a mountain stands a lady
Where it is I do not know,
All she wants is gold and silver
All she wants is a nice young man.

Another good book on this subject in general is "Golden City: Scottish Children's Street Games And Songs" by James T.R. Ritchie.

25 Apr 02 - 02:38 PM (#698481)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: swirlygirl


Rhyme: Jingle Jangle Silver Bangle Inside Outside Inside STAMP!

Two people stood at either end with a loop of tied elastic bands rounds their legs; first at their ankles, then knees, then waist, then "oxter" if your Scottish", then neck...

I used to love that...

Does everyone remember playing balls though (now now...calm down!) Two balls and you used to throw them against a wall doing different things and singing different rhymes to them?



25 Apr 02 - 08:43 PM (#698733)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: Helen

We used to play this in Australia in the 60's. Maybe you were there, aussiebloke?? Oh, you are up in Darwin, so unlikely, eh?

My sister and I were part of the folk process in bringing elastics to Maitland (NSW country town) from Sydney. We went down to Sydney to visit our cousins and one of them taught us how to play elastics. I remember saying that it sounded pretty silly when she described it to us, but we ended up getting hooked on it after a short time. We got our friends back home hooked on it too, and then we taught it to a girl from another school and she taught it to her friends. After a short time we would see kids everywhere playing it. The game started out fairly easy but got harder as the elastic was moved higher and higher up. We used knicker elastic, not rubber bands.


25 Apr 02 - 08:52 PM (#698740)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: JennieG

Mrs Duck,
I remember Inky Pinky Ponky, daddy bought a donkey, donkey died, daddy cried, inky pinky ponky. We didn't play elastic though, we used that one for skipping or clapping games.

25 Apr 02 - 09:20 PM (#698759)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: GUEST,mg

I had never seen it in the states until the immigrants from S.E. Asia came..the girls would collect rubber bands and do it on the playground..they were quite graceful and athletic at it.. mg

25 Apr 02 - 09:22 PM (#698761)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: catspaw49

I know it was in the states long before that because Mark's sisters that I mentioned above played it as "Chinese Jump Rope" in the 50's....and this was a small town in eastern Ohio, not exactly the first place it would have popped up!


25 Apr 02 - 09:38 PM (#698772)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: catspaw49

And I am telling you people, keep the celery away from the elastic!


26 Apr 02 - 03:11 PM (#699238)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: selby

What where the ball rhymes and the skipping rhymes and did they all mix? We used to do balls against the wall, twosis I think and there was as I remember some complicated patterns. Keith

27 Apr 02 - 07:04 AM (#699405)
Subject: RE: BS: Elastics
From: JudeL

Some of the 'lastics games got progressively more difficult in one move I remember you had to hook up the bit nearest you with your feet as you jumped over the one furthest away making a triangle, then turn as you jumped to face one of the pair who were holding it with their ankles forming a diamond, jump around to face the other one of the pair without letting the elastic go, then jump up deliberately letting the elastic go and landing with one foot on each of the lines. There was a couple of rhymes that went with both this and another pattern, one was something about "going over the ocean, and what do I see" and had something about catching fish but after all this time I can't remember what. One skipping rhyme I remember was :
I'm a little bubble car,
my number's forty eight,
I live around the cooooooooorner,(at which point, with the rope still being swung you'd jump out run around one of those swinging the rope and jump back in)
and I forgot to shut the gate. (you were supposed to time it so on the word gate you deliberately jumped to land with one foot either side of the rope trapping it)

28 Apr 02 - 12:28 AM (#699634)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Joe Offer

Yes, the Opies have a lot to say about the subject, and I think it's worth quoting in entirety. My wife Christina says she called it "Chinese Jumprope" when she was growing up in Woonsocket, Rhode Island - and she claims to have been very good at it.
-Joe Offer-


This is not skipping in the usual sense, for there is no turning rope to jump. Instead, the two enders stand with feet apart inside a loop of elastic, which passes round their ankles and is thus stretched into a long oblong frame between them. The role of the enders is completely static, and their place can be taken by dustbins or chairs. The performer stands sideways to the stretched elastic, usually with the elastic to her right, and goes through a series of actions. She lifts the farther strand of the elastic over the nearer strand with the pointed toe of her right foot, whilst hopping on her left foot, and passes it across the other strand and back again so many times. Then she jumps into the frame, facing the long way, jumps her feet apart and lands with feet either side of the frame, jumps feet inside together again, jumps so that her feet land on the two strands of elastic, brings them inside together again, and so on, sometimes with the strands crossed, according to the local sequence. When she has performed all the movements without a mistake the elastic is raised to calf height; then it is raised to knees, thighs, and finally waist. (Claims that the sequence can be performed with the elastic round the enders' necks can probably be discounted; indeed, one girl said 'When it's that height you don't do jumps you just do cartwheels over it.') The common impression is that the game looks 'like a giant cat's cradle'.
        In the summer of 1960 elastic skipping arrived in England as 'an entirely new game', and was for eighteen months, apparently, the exclusive possession of London children. 'This year's craze', said a 10-year-old girl in Fulham, 'is American Skipping. Karen Clark brought American Skipping over from America.' In playgrounds all over London little girls could be seen with their heads bent over the fiddling task of joining a packet of elastic bands into a long loop, or going through the dance-like steps of the game, which is as dainty, and in some ways as skilful, as the Scottish sword-dance, and has a similar look.'
        However, when a powerful craze comes over from the United States there is not one point of entry but many. American families coming to London undoubtedly brought the game with them; but so did American Air Force families coming to bases in England and Scotland. For instance, when 'Chinese Ropes' was the rage in Dunoon Grammar School in 1962, about fifty of the girls in the school were from the nearby American Air Force base. 'Chinese Ropes' (or 'Rope', or 'Ropies', or 'Skipping'), reflecting the American name 'Chinese Jump Rope', continued to be the term in Scotland (e.g. Jedburgh, 1972; Glasgow and Paisley, 1975).
        Elastic skipping spread rapidly in 1963-4. There could scarcely have been a junior school playground in Britain where it was not known. 'French Skipping' was now the most usual name in England and Wales, though Londoners remained faithful to 'American Skipping'. (Any foreign name was felt to be appropriate, however: e.g. 'Dutch Skipping' in Liss, 1964; and 'German Skipping' in Bedford, 1966.) By the mid-197os the predominant name was simply 'Elastics', and the game is still, in the 1990s, known by that name. Correspondents followed the game's progress with excitement: a teacher in St Helier, Jersey, said: 'Linda, who sent you "American Skipping" in November [1963] tells me she learnt the game in Hampstead "a few years back"; a parish priest in Workington wrote 'Chinese, or French, skipping went round Workington like wild fire this Easter [1964], and I know that it had hit Liverpool and Preston before last Christmas.' The actions began to vary. The original starting-sequence of lifting one strand a number of times across the other faded away (though remaining in the London version) and the sequence in which the player jumps directly onto the elastic strands became more important and was carried out in different modes, such as 'Bouncy' (with a rebound after each jump), and 'Hopsy' (landing on one foot inside the frame instead of both). A further development was known as 'Diamonds', 'which is really complicated'. The performer crosses the elastic band with her feet and proceeds to jump round inside a 'diamond'. Then she jumps out of the diamond so that both feet finish up outside the rectangle as the elastic is released. Finally, she jumps back into the rectangle. The complete sequence for 'Norwegian Skipping' at Grove, near Wantage, in 1963, was:
  • 1. Jump in between the elastic strands.
  • 2. Jump on the elastic.
  • 3. Jump in again.
  • 4. Jump astride, outside the elastic.
  • 5. Turn to face the other way, taking the elastic between the ankles.
  • 6. Jump up, doing 'scissors', freeing the elastic and landing in the middle again.
  • 7. Jump out to one side.
  • 8. Facing the strands, take the nearest elastic, resting on the feet, to overlap the far elastic.
  • 9. Turn round, take one foot out, place it on the spot where the two elastics cross. Do the same with the other foot.
  • 10. Jump in the middle.
  • 11. Jump right out. This is done 'Oneses' (round ankles), 'Twoses' (round mid-calf), and 'Threeses' (round knees).

        In the early 1960s the enders might chant 'In, out, in, out, In, in, in out' as the jumps were made; but as the game developed, or perhaps as the children grew bored with the game as it was, they began to adorn it with a miscellany of borrowed rhymes: the all-purpose 'Roses are red, Violets are blue' was used (Worsley, Staffordshire, 1969); and some old counting-out rhymes, such as, 'Mary at the cottage gate, Eating cherries off a plate, Two, four, six, eight,' and 'Inky pinky ponky, Daddy bought a donkey, Donkey died, Daddy cried, Inky pinky ponky.' 'Queen, Queen Caroline' was revised: 'Kathy, Kathy, Kathaleen, Washed her hair in ~ Windowlene keeps it clean, Kathy, Kathy Kathaleen' (Montrose, 1974). Other words are: 'Jingle, jangle, centre, spangle, Jingle, jangle, out' (Notting Hill Gate, London, 1976); 'England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Inside, outside, donkeys' tails' (Birmingham, 1977, and other places); and 'When you do "Double Diamond", said a 9-year-old in Dulwich, 'which is when there's one bar up here and the other down there, and it's twisted over and you've got to jump over the twist, there's a special rhyme that advertises beer':

Double Diamond works wonders,
Works wonders, works wonders,
Double Diamond works wonders,
So drink one today.

The strangest rigmarole came from North Hinksey, on the outskirts of Oxford, in 1985: 'Itchy me, star shee, Logo hutsy yutsy. - kill it', and the game was called 'Itchy me'.
        The game reached other countries too. It arrived in Israel in 1960 ('Gummi', Eifermann (1968), 218-20). In Australia it had certainly arrived by 1962, when Ian Turner saw it in Canberra; 'It was called "American Hoppy",' he said, 'then I saw it no more until 1967 lfl Melbourne, when it was called "Elastics".' Subsequently it was reported in Afghanistan, Austria, the Argentine, Germany, Greece, India, Italy ('Elastici'), Kenya, the Netherlands (1962, when it was called 'the English Twist' or 'the Russian Twist'), Norway ('Hoppe strikk', i.e. 'Jump Elastics'), Turkey, and Yugoslavia-so it would be safe to say it had become worldwide.
        When Patricia Carpenter interviewed schoolgirls in Reno, Nevada, in 1964, the 14-17-year-olds had never heard of the game, but the 9-13year-olds said, 'Oh, you mean Chinese Jump Rope, we play it all the time.' A Chinese-American io-year-old, born in Nevada, said 'I learned it from my mother who was born in China'; and another io-year-old, new in Nevada from California, said 'I learned it from a very old Chinese lady who said she used to play it in the alleys in China.' It seemed that 'Chinese Jump Rope' really did come from the Orient.
        A correspondent of ours played 'Chinese Skipping' out in Hong Kong in 1956, at an army school and also after school with Chinese children. Another correspondent, who was in Beijing in 1963-4, said the game was so popular there that 'you couldn't walk along the street without seeing it'. She was told that it had come to north China during the time of the Japanese occupation, 1938-45. Another correspondent, who had lived in Tokyo for many years, tried to find out whether elastic skipping was known in Japan before 1938. She said (August 1976):

I have yet to find anyone over 60 who knows the game. People in their forties and younger seem to know it as a matter of course, and it appears to have been played to the rhythm of many different popular songs over the past few decades. One contemporary of mine, born in Nagasaki in 1940, recalls being a 'nuisance' when her elder sisters were playing it, before the end of the war. The song they sang was a rather jingoistic battle air, left over from the Russo-Japanese conflict. Another song current in the northern Kanto district in the 1950S was more fanciful, something about a golden carriage with silver bells.

This still does not prove whether the game began in Japan or China, and although our earliest evidence is from China, from someone who played the game in Shanghai in 1935, it was tempered by the remark that 'the Japanese had already begun to infiltrate then'. It almost seems
as if the game sprang up simultaneously in both countries in the mid-1930s.
        In their traditional games, Oriental children need agile feet as well as dextrous hands (in their game of kicking a shuttlecock, for instance). A game called 'Awakening Giant', similar in appearance to elastic skipping, was glimpsed briefly in a television film on China ('made recently', March 1975). Two children squatted about 6 feet apart, with a rope in each hand. They crossed hands while a third child jumped in and out of the ropes. Once the rope was trodden on, the giant awoke, the child fled, and it was someone else's turn. The game was said to have been played by old Chinese ladies in their youth. Another game is played with bamboo sticks, and is known to have been brought to the USA and Great Britain by Philippino immigrants, though descriptions are tantalizingly few. Two long bamboo sticks are laid parallel on the ground, and two similar sticks are laid across them, also parallel. The ends of the topmost sticks are held by two people, crouching or kneeling, who tap them alternately onto the lower sticks and against each other, in time to music. Two dancers move in and out of the moving sticks, and if they are caught between the sticks as they close together, they are out. These two games probably represent the tradition that engendered elastic skipping.

'Windowlene' is the window-cleaning fluid made by Reckitt & Colman, Hull.

From Children's Games With Things, Iona & Peter Opie, 1997 (Oxford University Press)

28 Apr 02 - 06:06 AM (#699689)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Emma B

Too old to have played elastics but certainly played the game described above using two ropes - we called it French skipping. A couple of weeks ago I was reminiscing about skipping games and rhymes with a friend originally from the Manchester area. The game we were talking about was "bumps" where the rope was turned twice, very fast.We skipped with a length of plastic covered washing line which could develop quite a 'whip' and hurt like hell if you didn't develop skills quickly enough. Between us we remembered a few rhymes (with interesting variations) I think the bottle of red wine was a big help! I also remember playing twosies with balls against a wall - our version was played in order of increasing difficulty.

28 Apr 02 - 09:53 AM (#699770)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: alison

we used elastic bands and called it "German jumps"



28 Apr 02 - 10:22 AM (#699787)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: selby

Little Mo what where the rhymes? Keith

28 Apr 02 - 01:24 PM (#699873)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: pict

My daughter just got a fancy modern cloth covered elastic not like the multi coloured collection of elastics the girls used when I was at school.It seems to have died out in Scotland along with playing balls where a girl would bounce tennis balls or similar sized balls off the ground and walls at different speeds and in different patterns while reciting rhymes.

29 Apr 02 - 01:01 PM (#700508)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: selby


29 Apr 02 - 01:10 PM (#700517)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Mrs.Duck

We always called it French skipping but when I used to teach in Rochdale the game was particularly popular amongst the Asian (mainly Pakistani) girls.

23 Jan 04 - 07:57 PM (#1100034)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

We played Chinese jumprope at school in Louisiana back in the 70's. I don't remember the rhymes though. It was very popular.

23 Jan 04 - 08:51 PM (#1100057)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: freda underhill

we played it in my primary school in Canberra (North Ainslie primary),in the mid 60s and called it elastics.

i remember

Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales,
don't step on the monkeys' tails,
England, Ireland, Scotland, France
don't step on the monkeys' pants...

and we used all sorts of other rhymes with it as well.

there was another thread recently on skipping & clapping games that mentioned elestics as well - i've just had a look but couldn't find it - Joybell & Bob Bolton would know.


27 Oct 04 - 06:12 PM (#1309024)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Doris

I also remember a Mississippi rhyme where you did a different move for the letters that spell M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.

M- Jump into the square with both feet
I- Straddle the two elastics
S- Straddle one elastic
S- Straddle the other elastic
I- same as above
S- same as above
S- same as above
I- same as above
P- jump on both elastics
P- jump on both
I- same as above

* you basically do the same move for letters

07 Nov 04 - 05:24 PM (#1319888)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,

Does anybody remember any other rhymes? I lived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as a child. One of my best friends went to Florida and came back with the elastic game. She also brought a rhyme with her, but for the life of me, I can't find anything related to it.

I don't know how accurate it is, and I certainly am guessing at the words, but here they are as I remember them.

Yoka ana Tysa
Yoka ninety-ay
Tang in de soeboy
Sooey sooey ay

I know. It doesn't make any sense to me either, but we all sang it. Probably the words are all gibbled up, but this is the phoenitic version.

07 Nov 04 - 09:46 PM (#1320078)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,firínne

It was called American skipping when we played it in school in Liverpool in the 60's. We also played French skipping with 2 ropes. Can't remember any of the rhymes though!

10 Nov 04 - 02:46 PM (#1322661)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,val

Hi from Toronto Canada!

I was just talking about this game with my in-laws on the weekend. I grew up in Montreal where we played religiously at recess, afterschool , in the evening...basically whenever we could. I'm 35 now
and my in-laws (from Iran!) also played this game! Its a worldwide thing I guess based on this forum.

Anyway if I could get two other people to play today I would, 'cause we were in great shape back then!!


15 Nov 04 - 10:42 PM (#1328098)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Emma Campbell

I'm 21 years old now. I'm from christchurch New Zealand and as a child in 1995 at primary School elastics was a hit game at lunch time. I've just pulled my old elastics out of a old box, and enticing my curiousity I decided to look on the net for info. I remember the "ankles, knees, hips elastics game" and the "inky pinky ponky" aswell! It's amazing to know that it was a world wide thing, and that looking on the net has bought up such a excess of interesting info from others!

23 Feb 05 - 03:53 AM (#1418412)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,cathy

I remember playing 'elastics' at school in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in the early seventies. I now teach year seven in Perth, Western Australia. Reading all your entries has reminded me of it. I'm taking my year sevens away for camp next week & I'll teach them - maybe I can get a few children away from the television in the future.


12 May 05 - 06:28 PM (#1483679)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Qld After School Care

12 May 05 - 11:48 PM (#1483816)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: LadyJean

Boys and girls played Chinese Jumpropes at Whightman school in the mid sixties. A Chinese jump rope could be a cloth covered elastic you bought somewhere, or a chain of what we Pittsburghers call "Gum Bands", and the rest of the U.S. calls rubber bands. I remember it as a sort of giant cats cradle, where the jumper tried to make patterns with the elastic, double diamonds, etc. I don't remember any sort of rhymes going with it.
I do remember a regular jump rope rhyme,
Cinderella dressed in yella went downtown to see her fella
On the way her girdle busted, how many people were disgusted.
One, two three four............

13 May 05 - 11:39 PM (#1484688)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Mark Cohen

My sister used to play Chinese jump rope with her friends, in Philadelphia, early 60's (she was born in 1956). I always assumed that it was no more "Chinese" than a "Chinese fire drill," but then I recently saw a movie made in China about China in the 30's (can't remember which one) and there were girls playing...Chinese jump rope. Those girls, like my sister, used rubber bands tied together. (Nobody would buy a cloth-covered something from a store when you could make the "rope" yourself, and there were so many other things to spend your fifteen cents on.) I think they cut the rubber bands before they tied them, but I wouldn't swear to that.


26 Sep 05 - 12:12 AM (#1570635)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

does anyone know more routines and tricks as such? if so please reply mum just bought us a n elastic for us and we need a bit of guidance

26 Sep 05 - 08:58 PM (#1571162)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Bard Judith

Some dim fragments from my far-off childhood:

Eeny meeny pepsi seeny
Alabama, boo!
Hoochie kootchie, donna loochie,

(This was obviously a counting-out rhyme, with 'nonsense' words - though some have theorized that such gibberish is actually a phonetic rendering of actual words in an unfamiliar language, distorted by oral transmission... anybody here want to take a stab at that theory?)

Had a little car, nineteen-(sixty)-eight,
Went around the
Slammed on the brakes!
Brakes wouldn't work,
Bumped into a lady,
Bumped into a man,
Bumped into a policeman,
Man o man!
Policeman caught me, put me in jail,
All I had to drink was ginger ale!
How many bottles did I drink? (count up while skipping Pepper)

(Susan) and (Johnny) sittin' in a tree
First comes love, then comes marriage,
Then comes (Johnny) with the baby carriage!

(Everyone has doubtless heard that one. Here's a more risque variant I heard at the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club in Hamilton, Canada, about twelve years ago...)

(Susan) and (Johnny) sittin' in a car
Are they nekkid? Yes they are!
The car goes ZOOM! (Johnny) goes BOOM!
That's how they got together so soon!

"Say say my playmate, come out and play with me" was popular for both skipping, clapping, and elastic games.

And finally, there was "In the land of Oz" which was also multipurpose.

In the land of Oz
where the ladies smoke cigars
Every puff they take
is enough to kill a snake
When the snakes are dead
they put roses in their head
When the roses die
They put diamonds in their eye
When the diamonds break
It is nineteen-(sixty)-eight!

This of course had its own risque variant: "In the land of Oz / where the ladies don't wear bras / but the men don't care / cause they don't wear underwear!"

30 Sep 05 - 09:28 PM (#1573078)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

I'm originally from Northern Ireland and we played this game in the 1960's. We called it german jumping. I can't remember if we used rhymes or not. We used coloured elastic bands and part of the fun was knotting them together to make the elastics.

01 Oct 05 - 06:27 AM (#1573252)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Mo the caller

I was interested to read the Opie quote, it ties in with my memories. I left junior school in 1954 and we didn't play it. My sister learnt it sometime between '56 & '61, it was played with linked elastic bands (the last one must have been tied but they weren't cut). Of course you had to find and collect the bands first but collecting was another craze (in our day it was silver paper or bits of coloured fluff picked from peoples cardigans and pressed into a mat).We lived in Middlesex (W. London) and it was called American Skipping then. By the time my daughters went to school in Cheshire in the 1980s it was called Elastics and done with a length of elastic knicker (which you had to buy). Cloth covered elastic takes this to a further stage of affluence, is this American?
Has the teacher who started all this seen the English Folk Dance & Song Society book John Kanakaka about using childrens traditional rhymes as a teaching resource? In fact has anyone and what do they think of it?

01 Oct 05 - 03:39 PM (#1573599)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Azizi

See this link for a Mudcat thread on Counting out rhymes.

01 Oct 05 - 07:15 PM (#1573702)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Bizibod

T'was called Chinese skipping in Nottingham in 1964 and we used knicker elastic which got shorter and more knotted as it wore through , and used to saw into the back of your knees on kneesies.
We also used to play this ball game with a ball inside a stocking. You stood with your back against the wall and swung it across your body left to right, above your head and between your legs. Used to drive my mum mad doing it on the side of the house because the rhythmic thumping made the plates jump and the windows rattle. There was a rhyme to it only fragments of which I can recall:
       Have a cigarette sir,
       Yes sir, no sir,
       something something something
       Because I have a cold sir
       Where d'you get your cold sir?
       From the North Pole sir,
       What you doing there sir?
       Catching Polar Bear sir
and I'm sure there was more,anybody recognise it?

11 May 06 - 07:40 PM (#1738477)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,duece

I'm now 30, so back in ...1985 or so, we used to play "Chinese Skipping" all the time at recess. We had pretty, colourful, bought elastics, or just used a length of regular elastic (the kind used for sewing waistbands, etc. - is that 'knicker' elastic?).

I'm from little-town-Saskatchewan, Canada, so this 'sport' really has been around, hasn't it?! The most I (and friends) can recall is there being about 15 steps, and the term Mississippi also rings a bell. It is above in the thread. Thanks for that reminder.

Two people would hold the elastic on the ends, and all others took turns. Everyone did 'jump #1' (or 'M'). If you all did it, then you all moved on to the next round. Then the first person would start again (now 'jump 2'), and would have to perform the steps from jump 1 & 2 (so do 'M' & 'I') in succession. If, at any time, you messed up a jump, you were out. You tried to get through all of the steps, obviously, without making a mistake.

The steps we did were similar to those in the "Mississippi" steps above, but I'm sure that each of the 11 steps was different (none was repeated). I'll have to get together with some old girlfriends this summer, and we'll try to figure them out (we're all teachers now, so might be able to get together over summer break).

If ANYONE else knows any more STEPS, that would be great... I am planning to teach my kids at school.   The Opie link above was also good. Thank you.

15 May 06 - 10:31 AM (#1740924)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,amie

in Yorkshire, UK the girls in the primary school i teach at still play elastics but they call it french skipping, im desperate 2 find them new rhymes as all they ever sing is
inside outside inside on!

and im getting a pro at that one now (though cant do it when they get 2 the thighs, not as fit as i was when i was 7!)

also, the complex sequence for double ball twosies was
plainy (just throwing the ball)
over (throwing the ball overhand)
upsies (essentially juggling)
dropsy (letting the ball bounce once b4 u catch it)
slamsy (bouncing the ball against the floor b4 it hits the wall)
legsy (bouncing it under 1 leg)
rainbow (bouncing it under the other leg)
archy bouncing it through both legs with both feet on the floor0

u had to do 5 of each then 4 then 3 then 2 then 1
if u dropped it halfway through the cycle, say u were doing 3s but dropped it on slamsy then u had 2 start ur 3s again from plainy

god how sad am i?!?!?

16 May 06 - 12:26 AM (#1741518)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,thurg

I find it interesting that this game was (is?) so widespread. For one or two or three years when I was a kid in the '60's, in Windsor, Ontario, this game was very popular among the girls at our school. They called it "Yogi", which I suspect was a name applied by the marketer of the glorified underwear waistband that was the sole piece of gear required.

I'll have to ask my sister if she remembers any of the rhymes.

There was another popular game played with a sponge ball in the toe of a nylon stocking - the girl would wail the ball against the wall behind her, over and under and between her legs (not necessarily in that order), while reciting "A sailor went to sea, sea, sea,/To see what he could see, see, see;/But all that he could see, see, see,/Was the bottom of the bright blue sea, sea, sea." Quite a feat, if you ask me. (I assume this is the same game that one or two people mentioned above somewhere).

18 May 06 - 06:25 PM (#1743508)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Jason Delaney

I looked this game up on google as I can remember the girls & some boys playing this at school. What amazes me though is my daughter is seven years old & she is now showing this game to her friends at school. They think this is a new game( hehehe ).
It looks like the old is becomming new again.

23 Jul 06 - 09:38 PM (#1791215)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,GUEST, Merran

24 Jul 06 - 03:47 AM (#1791397)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Anne Lister

Have a cigarette sir
No Sir
Why Sir
Because I've caught a cold sir
How d'you get your cold sir
In the North Pole Sir
What did you do there sir
Catching Polar bears sir
How many did you get
One, two, three ... until out!

And the two balls against a wall I remember ...might have called it Donkey, for some reason I don't remember. But there were different moves and ways of throwing the balls (which again I don't remember).

Both these memories from Cardiff in the 1960s ..


24 Jul 06 - 09:42 PM (#1792191)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Mrrzy

Had a long discussion about this game with my frog friends, and the reason I can't recall any rhymes is that there weren't any. there were sets of steps, and if you did them right, the elastic was raised and you tried again, till Neck (the highest and also the narrowest). I never got that far...

My childhood version of the ball (one ball) against the wall was throw the ball, don't let it bounce, catch it, as follows:
Mimsies (plain)
Twirl the ball (twirl around)
Touch my backsies (back)
Right hand
Left hand
High as the sky
Low as the sea (very hard!)
Touch my knee
Touch my heel
Touch my toe
Under we go (throw under one leg)

Then if no errors you clap AND do the verses as specified, then twirl AND do the verses, and so on.

25 Jul 06 - 06:43 AM (#1792514)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Anne Lister

Those moves ring a bell for the ball against the wall game, except that we did have two balls and I think tried to do all those moves while keeping the two balls moving.
And yet I've never mastered juggling!


17 Oct 06 - 04:36 AM (#1861085)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Oak

I remember playing that game when I was a kid! Anyway this might help... has the rhymes and the moves to go with it. Hope it helped!

17 Oct 06 - 07:35 AM (#1861169)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Azizi

Hello, GUEST,Oak! Thanks for providing that resource. Here's the hyperlink to that site:
[New Zealand Playground Language]

18 Dec 06 - 01:18 AM (#1912345)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Liz Hodge

I played elastics at school in Wellington NZ in the early 90s.

We had quite a complicated system. The elastic began at ankle height and shoulder width. If the jumper completed the rhyme at a certain height, the elastics were moved up from knees, to "under-bums", to hips, waists, under-arms, necks and even "sky" or "tree-tops" if we were really keen, which is as high as the holders can reach. When the rhyme has been completed at all levels, the game is made more difficult: skinny (using only one foot to hold the elastics), wide (legs as far apart as possible), blind (jumper's eyes closed), cross-over (the elastic closest to the jumper is crossed over the far elastic and the rhyme completed in the resulting triangle of elastic), running (when you take two steps instead of a jump), double jumps etc. The game was also played in teams, where, if the first jumper makes a mistake, the second jumper must complete the rhyme twice, and if they make a mistake the third jumper completes the rhyme 3 times etc. This makes it even more exciting.

The main rhymes we used were:

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Inside, Outside, Puppy Dogs Tails

(jump for each word: left foot in and right foot out, right foot in and left foot out, left foot in and right foot out, right foot in and left foot out, both feet inside, both feet outside, both feed ON the elastics.)

Jingle Jangle Spingle Spangle Inside Outside On

(jump for each word: left foot in and right foot out, right foot in and left foot out, both feet inside, both feet outside, both feed ON the elastics.)

Cut the Cabbage with a knife

(jump for each word: right foot in and left foot out, both feet inside, left foot in and right foot out, both feet out (on RHS of elastics) repeat going back the other way)

I hope this game doesn't die, I used to play every lunch break, morning tea, after school, any time I could find someone or something to hold the elastics, and I was SO fit then!! Maybe this is the answer to childhood obesity!

Good luck and keep passing on the game.

Cheers, Liz

18 Dec 06 - 04:52 PM (#1913010)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: oggie

Now called 'Chinese Jump Ropes' these are still available from Hawkins Bazaar or from shops that sell the TOBAR range of pocket money games. We've just sold out so there arestill some kids (or parents) keeping the old games alive.

All the best


30 Dec 06 - 07:06 AM (#1922057)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Sharron

I have just bought my eight year old daughter the game elastics (boy have they come a long way - they are now decorative pieces of elastic!). Memories of the game described here come flooding back, but I also rememebr playing a version where four people were in the corners and you completed a series of moves at each level. I remember jumping around the square, hopping and "skipping". Does any one recall this version and what other moves were there?

02 Jan 07 - 12:48 AM (#1924528)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

Hello Hello Hello sir
meet you at the show sir
no sir
why sir
'cause I've got a cold sir
where'd you get the cold sir
at the north pole sir
what you dioing there sir
catching polar bears sir
how many did you catch sir
one sir
two sir
three sir
four sir
.... ten sir
all the rest were dead sir
how did they die sir
eating apple pie sir
what was in the pie sir
three dead flies sir
what was in the flies sir
three dead germs sir
what was in the germs sir
I don't know sir
shall we start again sir
no sir
why sir
because I've got a cold sir....

14 Jan 07 - 11:09 AM (#1936190)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Lizzyn42

Wow so glad I found this page. I have recently started a job in south yorkshire where my specific role is lunchtime activities co-ordinator. Basically teaching all the kids to do what we did (and have been talking about here)to do..Do you realise that playground rhymes and games and skills are a dying art...Kids these days are to into computers and they don't 'play out' as much as we did either (my own children included) I would be gone for hours playin skipping and elastics with my friends and I'm only things have changed...I am on a mission to show them how we should be playing...this site will help no end....any more rhymes for elastics or skipping please post as I will be reading

14 Jan 07 - 01:17 PM (#1936332)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Alice

We played this on the playground in the 1960's (Montana). We called it Chinese Jump Rope. You could buy the elastic, a decorated rubber cord just the right size. I wish I could remember the rhymes. Too long ago and lost from my memory.

07 Mar 07 - 04:51 PM (#1989902)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Sophie

"The strangest rigmarole came from North Hinksey, on the outskirts of Oxford, in 1985: 'Itchy me, star shee, Logo hutsy yutsy. - kill it', and the game was called 'Itchy me'." (From Children's Games With Things, Iona & Peter Opie, 1997 (Oxford University Press), quoted above)

I went to North Hinksey primary school in 1985 and I remember that rhyme (we called the game "elastics" and also used the "England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales..." one). I learnt a few words of Japanese a while ago and the numbers 1-10 struck me as familiar: Ichi, ni, San, Shi, Go, Roku, Shichi, Hachi, Kyuu, Juu - not quite the same but sounds like a corruption, particularly the first part. There weren't any Japanese children at the school when I was there. I was surprised the rhyme was so local. I can't find any other references to it on the internet.

16 Mar 07 - 02:13 PM (#1998815)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,guest

wow!!! this site has been most helpful i too have just been put in charge of playground games have lots of ideas but thought wouldnt hurt to look got the kids at our school some of these french skipping elastics then couldnt remember the rymes thankyou so much every one if any one can remember ayn more rymes would be greatly appresiated.


16 Mar 07 - 03:05 PM (#1998875)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Sherbs

I played elastics in the 1970's in South Wales. We called it Chinese skipping and used bought flat elastic about a centimetre wide. The only rhyme I can ever remember doing isthis one.


I think someone should start a whole separate thread for ball games

12 Apr 07 - 06:44 PM (#2023636)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,momof13

oh i so remember this game and was trying to explain it to my kids who are now at that age.
It was called Yogi here in Canada and we played for hours.
We used a piece of 1/4" elastic about 8" long and knotted it together to form a ring. The elastic was then strung between the ankles of 2 people who then stood with their feet about a foot apart and leaving about 4" between the two persons who stood facing each other. It is true we did also play it using two chairs from the kitchen table whose legs were not much wider really than a person standing with their feet apart. I don't recall any rhymes as much as the moves. The jumper would jump into the middle with both feet and then jump to the outside. Then they would jump with one foot in the center and one foot to the right and then switch so the left foot was in the center and the right on the outside then they would jump to one side and while holding their left foot under the first elastic closest to them they would hook that elastic and bring it over the other one and then they had to jump into the middle with both feet inside the elastic while it twisted like a diamond around them. Then with both feet jump up and out but they had to land on the elastics and trap them under their feet and hold them to the ground. Then that is all I can remember right now but the game was definitely called YOGI>

29 Apr 07 - 11:51 AM (#2038732)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Vicky

Hi there,
I played this game in primary school in the mid 80's in Auckland, New Zealand. It progressed from ankles, to knees, and then hips. Once those levels had been completed, we used only one one leg for ankles and knees, and turned sideways to make the elastics thinner for the hips level. Each level had a different chant. There was also a level called carrots, where one person had two legs supporting the wide end of the elastics, and one person had one leg supporting the thin end of the elastics causing a triangular, or carrot, shape. The only chant I remember is the "jingle jangle" one, which we used for the ankles level. There were three or four different jumping sequences that we played with, one involving crossing the elastics over, then jumping to release them, and one involving jumping onto the elastics. The jingle jangle chant was used for the simplest sequence which involved jumping within, without, and straddling the elastics.
I'm in Japan now and was reminded of the game when I heard about "gomutobi", literally "rubber-flying/jumping". A woman I work with told me it was very popular when she was in primary school during the 50's, when they used to loop rubber bands together, and that it originated sometime during the war.
Perhaps if enough people submit their memory of the game to this thread, I will eventually remember the entire game accurately, as I played it all those years ago!

03 May 07 - 05:18 AM (#2042034)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Kaz

I remember playing balls! The chant that always sticks in my mind is:
"Mrs White, got a fright, in the middle of the night. Saw a ghost, eating toast, half way up a lamp post!.

I also used "oxters" !!

04 May 07 - 12:25 AM (#2042904)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

We played this game all the time here in Canada. (30 years ago)It was called "YOGI". I am trying my darndest to remember the words to one song "in the land of france, where the alligators dance....???" any takers? Also remember MISSISSIPPI-IPPISSISSIM.

06 May 07 - 12:58 AM (#2044377)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Canada

I remember playing YOGI back in the 60's...I'm also in Canada and it was definately called YOGI here. I wish I could remember the routine we'd go was tons of fun and we would play for hours. I was doing a search for this to try to teach my six year old granddaughter. I wonder if there are any videos up on You Tube...I'd love to have a visual of the game. Reading directions can be so confusing for me!!! I must be getting old.

23 May 07 - 12:12 PM (#2059100)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Gusto89

There is a book published by the Klutz publishers that has "Chinese" jump-rope games. There are many diffferent routines and My kids and I have lots of fun with them.. No rhymes though. When I did this as a kid in Connecticut (70's) we didn't do any rhymes just a lot of fancy footwork. The rhymes we used were for hand jives or jump-roping.

Jump rope rhyme:
Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around,
teddy bear, teddy bear touch the ground,
teddy bear, teddy bear show your shoe
teddy bear teddy bear, good for you!

Keep on playing!

26 May 07 - 03:44 PM (#2061438)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Annette Snow

We played elastics all the time growing up in Newfoundland. I am 36 now so I would have been playing mid 70s to 80s. I don't remember calling it anything other than skipping but it was more popular than the turn the rope games.

The rhymes we used were MISSISSIPPI with the actions as already described. We also used the verbal variant of M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-humpback-humpback-I

B-I-N-G-O-BINGO was also popular - especially when you got to under-bums as it was considered an easy one. B-I-N-G were each done straddling alternate lines, O was in the middle and BINGO was both feet out.

Super-kala-freja-lipstick-expi-alla-do-chez (apologies to Mary Poppins for the spelling) was also popular. The actions were both feet in, both feet out, both feet in, one foot on each line- straddle one line, straddle the other, then both feet on one line and finally jump across with both feet on the other.

Finally, we also played a lot of triangle which was more popular when we got a bit older (you know - double digits and all). Triangle was played with a rope like elastics, but with three girls each holding a corner with one ankle (or a suitable inanimate object). Then the remaining girls would go through the sequence of moves until they messed up and had to take their place in the ropes. The sequence of moves was as follows: two feet - in/out around the triangle until back to the beginning; two feet - on the rope/in/on the rope/out/on the rope/in, etc until back to the start; one foot - in/out; one foot - in/on the rope/out. Sometimes we got fancy with backwards and eyes closed, but the first four moves were the basic sequence. Once you completed ankles, you moved on to knees and under-bums. The second time around you had to do each part twice before moving on...

26 May 07 - 06:24 PM (#2061520)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,meself

'I am trying my darndest to remember the words to one song "in the land of france, where the alligators dance....???" any takers?'

I hesitate to do this but ... the version I remember from the schoolyard (Windsor, Ontario) - but definitely NOT sung by the girls at yogi - is:

There's a place in France,
Where the people wear no pants;
And the men wear glasses,
So they can see the ladies' asses.

(Sorry - just trying to be helpful!)

27 May 07 - 02:06 AM (#2061683)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

i used to play elastice in 94 in primary school.

have just bought a colourful new one for my step children to teach them - suprised that i remembered any of the rhymes but our version was
England Ireland Scotland wales inside outside inside out.

we had so many more but as the years go by.

we used to go up to treetops
which was holding the rope above our heads
dont know about getting that high these days

good to hear the tradittion is still around

29 Jun 07 - 11:19 AM (#2090086)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Sarah

this is amazing. I used to play elastics growing up in Brisbane, Australia. I played it in the mid-80s at primary school. I can remember doing

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales
Inside, Outside, Inside, Out.

I seem to remember having bizarre rules for being allowed to put on of the elastics on your shoulder, and trying to jump it for chest height, but looking back, I'm not sure how we ever did that.

Can't believe people are still playing - this is fantastic. My husband (who is American) had never heard of it, and thought I was making it up.

10 Jul 07 - 10:23 AM (#2098658)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

Jini North Yorks hoping to include elastics at our street party for National Children PlayDay 1st Aug 07. I played this in West Yorks in 70s with different coloured bands looped together. I dont remember any ryhmes being said as we did all the moves. It seemed to be a very complicated process and everyone was concentrating on getting your feet squarley back on the elastics after each jump. One move was to stand at one side, with the elastics uder on foot and over the other and you jumped to opposite strand and repeated this but were out if foot not compleatly under.

20 Sep 07 - 02:18 PM (#2153599)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,karenblythe

Hi played this in the 70's in Northern Ireland. I just bought a large box of coloured elastics in Tesco's for £1 and made my daughter the elastic band rope. we are making up the rules as we go along but everyone's suggestions are great. Her friends are now playing in the kitchen. Hopefully it will help keep them fit!!

21 Sep 07 - 11:11 AM (#2154289)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Susan B

Just for the record, I remember others playing this in the playgrounds in Southampton in the early 60s (then, as now, I was always too clumsy and broke the elastics!) and it was being played in Manchester when we moved up there in the mid 60s. French skipping was the name in both places.
The method of "knotting" the elastic bands together was that each was looped through the previous, then through itself.

02 Nov 07 - 11:29 PM (#2185450)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Kathy P

I played ELASTICS in Melbourne Australia in the late 60's - early 70's. It was only played by girls. I cant remember any of the rhymes, but some of the ones that are mentioned above sound familiar. We also used to play balls, with two tennis balls against a wall. I think I could remember some of the moves, so I might try and find a couple of tennis balls and an empty wall.

11 Nov 07 - 09:34 AM (#2191131)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Susan Rains

Hi played Elastics in South England in the late seventies which we called chinese skipping,
but Im really interested in the RYMES that go with the throwing of two balls against the wall,

any suggestions might jog my memory as I want to teach my daughter this and elastics.

Unfortunately the ball in the stoking game was banned from our primary school after it wrapped around someones neck!! they were ok though.


04 Feb 08 - 11:19 PM (#2253766)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,janelle

"Down the Mississippi if you miss a loop you're out" Being chanted during elastics in the 1950s in Sydney

04 Feb 08 - 11:21 PM (#2253769)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

Does anyone recall the movement that went with the above

14 Feb 08 - 03:26 AM (#2262010)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

I used to play this in Brisbane, Australia back in the early 90s. The rhymes I can remember are:


Banana, Banana, Banana, in
Banana, banana, banana, out
Banana, banana, banana, on
Banana, banana, banana, out
(On banana, you straddle one elastic - ie one leg in, one leg out, so that you are juming to and fro over the elastics, on "in" you jump inside the elastic, the first "out" involves straddling the elastic with both legs out, whereas the last out was jumping clear of the elastic to finish. Oh and "on" meant you had to land on the elastics.

Cats (straddle one elastic) in (both legs in)
Dogs (straddle the other elastic) out (both legs out)
In out in on
Out twist (jump, straddle the elastic and twist so that it gets twisted around your legs) out

In on in out (jump clear of the elastics to start/finish position), out (straddle both elastics) twist out (back to start/finish position)

OK, it turns out that it's harder to explain this than I thought. Hope you get the general idea. If anyone has any more rhymes, I'd love to hear them. I teach in Japan and elastics sounds like the perfect way to get my kids revved up! And it's a bonus that they only need to know about 10 words all together!

24 Feb 08 - 05:41 PM (#2271313)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Livi1

we played elastics too in the 1980s in Surrey Uk

the elastic would start at ankle -ees, then knees-ees then thighs-ees etc.

The rhymes i remember were: "England Ireland Scotland Wales, inside outside inside on" and also "Jingle jangle centre spangle jingle jangle on"

Also the way in which you jumped would change depending on the level you were at. It would be jumping but also 'shuffle-eez' which is kind of like jogging on the spot - does anyone recall any other variations / rhymes?

01 Mar 08 - 05:12 AM (#2276367)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Cath.

Elastics used to be something everyone played... [Aus, Sydney]

Yeah, we used knickers elastics too, and it went from ankles, to knees, under-bums, hips, armpits then necks.

Some rhymes;

Jingle Jangle, inside outside, jingle jangle on. [You basically, straddle one side, bounce until you get to the next word. At inside outside, you do just that, jump inside then out side, continue the bouncing, then step on it.]

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Inside outside inside on. [Basically the same.]

Something called triangles where it required three people to hold the elastics to make a triangle, then others straddled the elastics and moved around. I'm not sure of this game as I haven't ever played it, but my sister has.

And then Chinese, just plain Chinese.
Jump on one side, the jump the other, jump off while swiveling in midair, hook the rope closest over the further one to make a triangle. The 'hooker' is usually the last person in a team to jump on and off the ropes, and 'hooks' the elastic while the team jumps in and out of the triangle. Then, the 'hooker' jumps out.
It gets more complicated as we got bored. Such as; no moving except for the jumps. No 'galloping' [both feet must land at the same time]. Jumps, then hops [you'd jump with both feet on the elastics, complete the stage then only hop]. Two feet, then one foot [both ankles, the one holding the elastics. From under-bums up, you'd turn sideways.] And various others I'v forgotten.

Then there's jump rope with 'Teddy Bear, teddy bear, turn around," etc.

My auntie Anna, plays the piana, 24 hours a day, SPLIT.

I've forgotten everything else..

01 Mar 08 - 08:00 AM (#2276439)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Shropshire Kim

Here in Shropshire in the 50s and 60s it was definitely called French skipping. It was just as popular as cat's cradle, British Bulldog, one ball, two ball, three ball (etc), puss in the corner, tick off ground, bluebells of Scotland, Farmers in his den and that old favourite - push the smallest kid in the school pond then run off before Mrs Bray turns up.

02 Mar 08 - 07:19 AM (#2277235)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Greenacres

We played this "French skipping" in Southport, Lancs in the late 60s. I was under the impression my mum (b.1940) knew it - she certainly did it with us and contributed some rhymes (but maybe they were from her two/three balls repertoire).
As per Sophie's comment, I does indeed look as though some of the 'nonsense' rhymes are corruptions of Japanese - counting from one to ten in Japanese:Ichi, ni (nee), san, shi, go, roku (loku), shichi (hichi), hachi (youtsu), ku, ju, matches "Itchy, me, star, shee, Lo*, go*, hutsy, yutsy, kill, it" (*these two have switched position) and "Hootchie Kootchie" (8-9-10, which could be interpreted as the 8th and 9th place in the rhyme "Eeny meeny pepsi seeny, Ala-bama, boo! Hoochie kootchie, donna loochie, OUT GOES YOU!".
Also "Yoka ana Tysa, Yoka ninety-ay, Tang in de soeboy, Sooey sooey ay" sounds like Japanese: Yoko = side, ana = hole (middle?), soba e = to the side, sore sore-e = yeehaw!

02 Mar 08 - 08:43 AM (#2277275)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Greenacres

I have just remembered we used this rhyme for French skipping (elastics):
Jelly on a plate, jelly on a plate
Wibble-wobble-wibble-wobble, jelly on a plate.
(that was - left (straddle the left band)/ middle/ right/ middle/ left-right-left-right, middle/ stamp). The rhythm was filled out by little snatch-backs onto the balls of the feet (/).

02 Mar 08 - 07:24 PM (#2277792)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Lindsay

Morticia mentions "By the window stands a lady" - and I remember it as a playground skipping song in the 50s but with someone's mother's washing line, not the "French Skipping" with the elastic bands that was done down here in Wales but never at home in St Albans.

12 Mar 08 - 12:47 AM (#2286014)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Cathy

We played French Skipping when I was a little girl in Kenya in the 1960s. I went to Hospital Hill School in Nairobi, which was run along the British educational system. My friends were British, Asian (Indian), and African. I was almost the only American. I loved French Skipping but could never quite get up to chesties! For years I have tried to remember how we played it -- the rules, the rhymes. I'm so glad I found this site. We used a long piece of elastic like you would find at the top of your knickers! We knotted it in one place. By the end of the day, it would be red with the color of the Kenyan soil. I have never seen French Skipping played in America where I live now, but I am going to introduce that brilliant game as soon as I can. Love to all!

20 Mar 08 - 07:51 PM (#2294096)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,lesley

My daughter came home last week with a new skipping game that her teacher had taught her, that you play with a long piece of elastic. Imagine her surprise when I was able to keep up with her, when she was showing me how to do it! I told her that it was not actually a new game, that I was doing it in school in the mid 80's...but how naive I was! I thought it was a new game back then!

31 Mar 08 - 04:03 AM (#2301793)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

In the land of France
Where the elephants all dance
One wouldn't dance
so they kicked him in the pants.
The pants he wore
cost a dollar eighty four.

01 Apr 08 - 02:12 AM (#2302934)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: freda underhill

Guest 2 Jan 07, re the one you posted (repeated below) - this is one we did in Canberra in the early 1960s


Hello Hello Hello sir
meet you at the show sir
no sir
why sir
'cause I've got a cold sir
where'd you get the cold sir
at the north pole sir
what you dioing there sir
catching polar bears sir
how many did you catch sir
one sir
two sir
three sir
four sir
.... ten sir
all the rest were dead sir
how did they die sir
eating apple pie sir
what was in the pie sir
three dead flies sir
what was in the flies sir
three dead germs sir
what was in the germs sir
I don't know sir
shall we start again sir
no sir
why sir
because I've got a cold sir....

02 Apr 08 - 10:04 AM (#2304457)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,MrsBrown AUS

I played elastics in country Victoria, Australia in the mid seventies.
My children are now early primary school and I found "elastics" on the shelf at the toy shop... so I am researching and introducing it to my BOYS(to my husband's dismay - as it is a "girl's game") when we go camping next week.

The rhymes I remember are:


"SLAT" of course was when you landed with both feet on both elastics after an intricate series of ins and outs and overs, in progressive heights as describe above.

04 Apr 08 - 06:36 PM (#2306804)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

05 Apr 08 - 08:57 PM (#2307918)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Guest

Played elastic in the 70's & 80's in Sydney & have just spent the past hour or so trying to teach my 8 year old daughter how to play elastics. Its been great fun! Haven't had to jump so much in years.
All the moves are coming back very slowly thanks everyone!

12 Apr 08 - 02:03 PM (#2313777)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Guest - teacher Peace River AB. Can

I played elastics growing up in Montreal early 70's and we played this all the time but we did it differently. We did 0 to 9 ( I think - that was a long time ago) and each number had a different step to it. 0 was you just jumped over it, 1 was you jumped and landed on both strings, 2 you put one foot under and one over on the first side and then switched. Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? I'd like to teach it to the students in my classes.

16 Apr 08 - 05:08 PM (#2317684)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

hey where can you get these elastic things?

17 Apr 08 - 01:18 AM (#2317955)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Tara

I remember playing elastics in the early 80's at primary school in Perth. When we played, we just sang the moves "side, side, in, out, on, out, criss, cross" etc (Don't remember the pattern!) We started at ankles - then when you passed that level, you went to knees, then hips etc. I wish I could remember all the moves too!

20 May 08 - 03:42 PM (#2345442)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

you rule

20 May 08 - 07:07 PM (#2345619)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Azizi

I had never heard of elastics before reading this thread. Here's another web page about elastics that I found interesting and helpful in explaining how the game was and {probably still is?} played:

Here's a longish excerpt from that webpage which was written by Tem42 on Oct. 21, 2006. Tem42 described how she {he?} played this game in Cape Verde, Africa:

The Basic Idea: You will need three players and a loop of string, rubber bands, or elastic rope. Two players stand inside either end of the loop with their ankles spread slightly apart, the loop pulled tight so as to raise it 3-4 inches off the ground. The third person hops over this rope in a predetermined pattern. If they hop the pattern correctly, the loop is raised up to knee level, and they try the pattern again. Next is hip level (AKA hipsies or underbums); obviously you are not hopping at this point, but leaping. (I have never played with anyone whose hip level was higher than mid-thigh on me, but even so I was exhausted after one round).

Details: The rules, patterns, and penalties vary from player to player, game to game, and often minute to minute. Here are some of the more common variables.

The most common foot placements from which to make patterns are: feet-out-same-side, feet-out-on-opposite-sides, both-feet-in, one-foot-in-one-out (and vise versa), both-feet-out-opposite-sides-but-with-legs-crossed. To these might be added standing on the loop (this doesn't work very well above ankle level), catching part of the loop with your toe, and one-foot hops and jumps.

The loop of string may be crossed in the center (making a figure eight), allowing for more complex patterns. It may be held higher at one end than the other. Turns and spins may also be added. Footwork can get pretty fancy, especially among older kids.

The pattern is usually accompanied by chants, rhymes, and/or clapping. The chants often describe part of the pattern to be hopped...Oddly, there doesn't seem to be much overlap between Chinese jump rope rhymes and everyday jump rope rhymes.

Whether or not you are 'out' depends (usually) on the judgement of the two people playing 'post'. You may be called out for touching the rope, or you may be able to do anything short of falling flat on your face without being called out. Usually it falls somewhere in between, with touches allowed, but trips, catches and stumbles ending your turn. Sometimes it will not be kicking the rope, but breaking rhythm that will be the cause of outs. Often you start your second turn at whatever point you messed up in your first turn"...

20 May 08 - 07:28 PM (#2345633)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: bobad

I remember the girls playing this (I would join in on occasion) growing up in a suburb of Montreal back in the 50's. The accompanying rhyme went something like:

Yogi in the geyser (and the Kaiser?)
Yogi yi yay
Tennessee soba
Sado saday

28 May 08 - 06:55 AM (#2350852)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics/ball games etc
From: GUEST,Sue/South Wales

Enjoyed reading the rhymes, triggered lots of childhood memories. I remember playing french skipping in the 70's. Later reduced to " 'lastics ". Also remembered that it died out in the playground because of minor injuries and incidents. I feel that a lot of these games have died out because of health & safety issues and compensation claims being taken to a ludicrous degree! These games were important in building confidence, team work, social interaction, sharing etc and promoting physical stamina...all of which are sadly lacking with a lot of youngsters these days.

15 Jun 08 - 01:49 AM (#2366186)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,ZOY103

I loved the rymes. My children loved them. I had to go through alot before they went to sleep.We bought the game elastics and it was great fun.

16 Jun 08 - 04:29 AM (#2366741)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Haylee Howard

I know one we are doing at school. It goes England Ireland Scotland wales. Inside outside inside ON!! Pretty easy but I am looking for more on this site. Biring it on!

16 Jun 08 - 09:47 AM (#2366909)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Janet

Re: 2 balls against the wall, used to have hours of fun with that in the 70s and 80s.

I can only remember 1 rhyme and it was
Jimmy Giraffe
Made me Laugh
Walking down the garden path

On the Giraffe, Laugh and Path you did different variations each time, throw the ball at the wall over arm or let it bounce before catching, throw it under 1 leg at the wall, tun around and catch it, do it and then do it all again 1 handed.

16 Jun 08 - 09:59 AM (#2366915)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: lady penelope


Mid 70's in north London we called it French Skipping. I can't remember rhymes, but we did have names for the moves (not that I can remember them!!!) It was more like playing cat's cradle than skipping. We also had a thing where you either used two elastic ropes or a really long one that you'd double up to do all the moves on "tramlines".

The knicker elastic ropes were always waaay better than the elastic band ones, the elastic bands used to tear the hairs off you legs!

16 Jun 08 - 10:13 AM (#2366926)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Polite Guest

"Yeah, we used knickers elastics too, and it went from ankles, to knees, under-bums, hips, armpits then necks...."

Goodness, and I thought my knickers were big! ;-)

07 Jul 08 - 09:39 AM (#2382935)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Tracy

I hadn't even thought of this game in years! I grew up on the south shore of Montreal in the 60's and we used to hound the mailman endlessly for elastics, seeing as they were by far the best kind. I do agree, though, that they used to tear at the wee hairs on our legs, but we couldn't afford the "knicker elastic.":) It was such a great game and I actually wouldn't mind trying it again.

Thanks all!

03 Sep 08 - 11:24 PM (#2430489)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Jane

I payed Chinese Jump Rope in the late 60's and early 70's in Jamaica, West Indies.
Now my 9 y/o daughter who has only been in her new elementary school one week has started a new trend showing the kids how to play.
I am trying to remember the chants but I think we used MISSISSIPPI and ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND FRANCE, INSIDE, OUTSIDE, MONKEY PANTS
Thanks for the memories!

04 Oct 08 - 03:00 PM (#2457232)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

I went to a chinese resteraunt to buy a loaf of bread, bread, bread. They asked me what my name was and this is what i said, said, said,,,,my names is choo-choo trolley, i know karate, punch you in the stomach oops im sorry! gonna tell my mama, gonna tell my dad, no your not freeze!

19 Nov 08 - 05:54 AM (#2497473)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,guest

say say my playmate
come out and play with me
and bring your dolly too
under the apple tree

oh no my playmate
how can i possibly
come and play with you
under the apple tree
my dolly's got the flu - achoo!

and does anyone remeber this:

blondie and dagwood went to town
blondie bought a dressing gown
dagwood bought the evening paper
and this is what it said
close your eyes and count to ten
if your out you'll hold an end
one two three (to ten doing pepper)

21 Nov 08 - 04:46 AM (#2499150)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Guest

We have been trying to introduce traditional rhymes into our playground too - we called this German elastics here in Northern Ireland and we used coloured elastics which were joined together

04 Dec 08 - 07:12 AM (#2507517)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,sydney_Australia

I remember this game. It was brilliant! I recently saw them sell the "elastics" thingo in one of the stores here. It brought back so many memories!

25 Jan 09 - 09:14 PM (#2549154)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Sherry Nye Guest

Elastic rope games, Wow, a chineese jump rope is what we knew them as. They started with two people putting them around their anckles and standing far apart, the third person would jump in a certain way, like this.
They would jump(In, Out, etc.)of the rope and say out loud at the same time;


The next set was you had to click your feet each time together and do it again.
Next was spin around and so on, I'm sure you get the idea.
I Loved that game.

10 Apr 09 - 09:43 AM (#2608635)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Sue

I played 'American Skippy' or 'elastics' at Osborne Park Primary school in Western Asutralia in 1960s. Also played game with sticks called fly and two balls against a wall. I stumbled across this sie while looking for two ball rhymes to teach my granddaughter. I rmember throwing blls a gainst the wall and singing; One two buckle my shoe and we'd have to touch our shoe before we caught the ball, three four close the door and make the action of closing a door etc.
Thanks for the memories.

16 Jun 09 - 06:22 PM (#2658081)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Alex

I was born in 1981 in Serbia, and elastics was a very popular game there from the early 60s until mid 90s. There were different versions, one where an elastic hoop is placed between two gills standing opposite each other, around the legs, and the other one where it was held by fingers, first 4, than reduced to 3,2 and one finger, between two girls and the third one had to jump through it in a rhythm of a chant. There was a chant about the popular American show Dynasty.

16 Jun 09 - 10:19 PM (#2658238)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Azizi

Hello, GUEST,Alex 16 Jun 09 - 06:22 PM. Thanks for sharing your memories of elastics with us.

I've never heard of an elastic chant about the television show "Dynasty".

If you remember it (or some of it), please post it.

Thanks again,

Ms. Azizi

17 Jun 09 - 03:09 PM (#2658774)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: paula t

In Lancashire we called it "French Skipping".We had a set sequence of moves which started from different "predicaments" These moves were:
"In (both feet inside the elastics)
Out (both feet out- one either side)
On(Land with both feet on the elastic-one on each side)
Together(drag elastic sides together with feet)

2)We then moved to "triangles"(pick up the elastic on one side with one foot, drag that foot over the opposite side, still with the elastic on the foot and drag the opposite side back with the heel. Then stand on the point of the triangle you have made.This was then the starting point for ".Back" (Jump backwards off the elastic)
"on" (landing with both feet on nearest elastic)
"on"(one foot on each elastic)
"Over"(jump over and land with both feet on elastic on opposite side)

Variations of the moves mentioned above were then performed in sequence,from other starting points such as:

Diamonds...(start off as a triangle, but then stretch out the other side to make a diamond, one foot on each elastic)

"Twirly" (start off by trapping the elastics between your feet, then turn round to face the other way , still trapping the elastic.This was generally recognised as an "expert " move, because it was difficult to jump up , release your feet from the wrapped round elastic and then land in the specified positions!)

The final move was "Scissors" (Start with one foot on each elastic , then jump up and land with the feet swapped to their opposite side.

As each person completed the whole sequence they then moved on to do it all again but with the elastic next on shins, then knees then thighs. The games could last for hours!

I introduced this to a primary school I was working in. The craze lasted for months.

Lovely memories!

19 Jul 09 - 11:28 AM (#2683311)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,heather

i was born on the west coast of scotland in 1970. we played elastics using the chant:
scotland, england, ireland, wales
inside, outside, monkeys' tails.

the 'playmate' chant was used for clapping games:
see, see my playmate
come out and play with me
and bring your dolly too
we'll climb the apple tree
over a rainbow
into a magic land
and we'll be best of friends
forever more.

Does anyone remmeber this chant which was used for ball games?:
six white horses in a stable pick one out and call it mabel
mabel butter, mabel cheese
mable fell and skint her knees

i remember the tunes too. i use these when i teach english to children in austria.

27 Jul 09 - 08:38 AM (#2687929)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Emma

Thank you everyone. This has been very helpful.
Having grown up in Wales in the 70s and 80s, I played elastics just about every day, and now I want to teach it to my students in Melbourne, Australia. I remember the England, Ireland..chant, and a chant of 'Supercalifrajilisticexpialidocious', and agree with most people's interpretation of the moves.
However, I know there was a round where the 'posts' (the girls holding the elastics) had the elastic round one ankle only, and then sort of twisted the long part around their legs again, making one long tight elastic to work with. This was called 'twisties' I think. When you got to this stage, there was a new way of jumping to the chant, involving picking up the elastic with your toes and sort of separating it. Can't quite remember, and it's infuriating!
Also would appreciate help with the order...I think it's:
1. ankles (shoulder width)
2. shins (shoulder width)
3. kneesies (shoulder width)
4. thighsies (shoulder width)
1 - 4 repeated ('skinnies' - feet together)
1 - 4 repeated ('onesies' - one foot only)
1 - 4 repeated ('twisties' - one foot, and twisted elastics)
1 - 4 repeated ('splitsies' - feet very wide apart)

Finally, I kind of remember 'triangles' too. Vaguely.
Thanks everyone for your help.

28 Jul 09 - 07:52 PM (#2689250)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Holly

Emma (above) is my sister and we were having a conversation about this the other night and I'm the same as her - can't remember how we used to do Twisties. When we moved to Australia (I was 9) I was disappointed to see that my new school friends just sort of scissor-kicked over the elastics without even chanting a rhyme or anything. They still did the ankles, knees, waists etc and when it got up too high you were allowed to use your little finger to pull the elastic down so you could kick your leg over. Boring! The UK version was way more fun!

05 Sep 09 - 11:39 PM (#2717258)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Mitch

I was just talking to my son about the game of Elastics. Im in Australia & I remember it well. Though much easier to get a long piece of elastic these days & stitch the 2 ends together. I just found this website so if you go to the bottom of the page you will find Elastics the game & 1 chant for it. You will find other things on that page too.

Im pleased I am not the only person that remembers this life long game of fun & exercise.. Have fun

Regards Mitch

11 Sep 09 - 07:19 AM (#2721394)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

I remember a version without rhymes.

There are different moves from 1-10. ONce you complete the moves the elastic goes highter (from ankesl to knees, to thights to waist.)

1) Jump over rope (onsies)
2) Jump in with your feet straddling one of the "tramlines" jump again so you are straddling the other tramline. (twosiese)
3) oo | |   (left foot, right foot, elastic) Start in this positions.
Jump hooking the left tramline with your right foot and jump over the right tramline. You will end up straddling the right tramline with the left hooked over to create a triangle. You then jump and twist 3 times making sure you maintain the triangle shape with the elastic.
4) Jump on so both feet are on the tramlines. Jump in, jump on, jump in. Then out.

I've fotgotten the rest. Can anybody fill me in?

19 Nov 09 - 03:22 PM (#2769366)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

Well in my neck of the woods, we played a game with linked elastic bands but it was nothing like what is recorded here. We would like tham together making one long strand. Then standing apart, the two 'ends' (those holding the elastics) would put it at different levels for the others to jump. Starting at ground, then ankle, knee, hip, waist, underarm, shoulder, ear, top of head and high sky. You could as the 'yogi' (what we called the band) touch it and bring it down some, but you had to run at the line and jump, not stand and bring it down. When you couldn't get over, you bacame the end and not the jumpsey.

09 Jan 10 - 08:47 AM (#2807418)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Kerry Brisbane, Australia

I just bought sets of elastics for my girls, this forum has been very helpful for reuniting another generations with a great old fasioned past time.

Our chant used to have the ENGLAND IRELAND....but also went on to BOSTON.....

Not sure if anyone remember that bit.

PS the elastics dont come with INSTRUCTIONS... Arghhh

14 Mar 10 - 05:30 PM (#2864103)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Canadian Mom, Montreal

Just to keep this almost decade long thread going, I have a bit of information to add about the "levels" Of course you start from the ground up but the names were...

- feetsies (string around the "hookers'" feet)
- calfsies (string around the calves)
- kneesies (string around the knees)
- thighsies (string around the thighs)

Now, I don't think we got as high as hipsies but kids try all sorts of daring things! This was played in the multicultural Montreal elementary school I went to in the 80s.

After accidentally breaking my daughter's imported Cat's Cradle string (don't ask), I figured Elastics (created with a "knickers string" from a local sewing/crafting store) would be a peace offering!

Cost = $5 for 3 meters of string (That's about 10' for our US friends). It was the perfect length!

I don't know how I remembered the length to get but I pulled the knickers string to run along the width of my outstretched arms from fingertip to fingertip, then I measured half that length (which, again, came up to 3 meters of uninterrupted string in my case). Then I tied the two ends together and got to jumping!

I do remember us kids, back in the day, using the colored rubber bands which we found raiding our parents' offices or picking up elastics from the clothing stores our mom's dragged us to over the weekend.

I introduced her to B-I-N-G-O which is the only one I remembered. Hence the quest for this site...

Unlike Cat's Cradle, there's no books or DVDs that can be readily found on this game. This thread is quite helpful! Hope it goes the full 10 years...and more!

27 Jun 10 - 09:08 AM (#2935508)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Jenine

So great to see so many people remembering this great game! I've decided to give Elastics some new life. You can get sets with instructions, rhymes etc at if that's helpful.

02 Jul 10 - 08:47 PM (#2938877)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Julie in Hamilton, On, Canada

I'm glad I found this site! I was trying to remember all the words to the chant we used to play with the ball in the nylon. Here is how I remember it (although it took some of the words I found here to put it all together again!)

Hello hello hello sir      
meet you at the show sir
no sir
why sir
'cause I caught a cold sir
Where'd you get your cold sir?
From the North Pole sir,
What were you doing there sir?
Catching Polar Bears sir
how many did you catch sir?
one, sir
two, sir
three, sir
that's enough for me, sir
how about a drink sir,
no, sir
why, Sir
cause I'm gonna die, sir
when you gonna die, sir
middle of July, sir
why, sir
goodbye goodbye goodbye, sir!

20 Jul 10 - 02:44 AM (#2948083)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Melody

I was in primary school in Australia in the 80's and we used to sing England, ireland, scotland , wales, inside, outside, donkeys, tails...i am now in the middle of teaching my 2 young children who to play and they think its great. However im stuck i used to play it with elestic round ankles and then slowly working the way up the body till the neck. Then you go back to your ankles but only have it around 1 ankle per person making it "SKINNIES", then go all the way up to neck, then back to ankles for "WIDES". I know there was more after this but i cant remember...anyone have any ideas?

20 Jul 10 - 07:28 AM (#2948179)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Guest

Recently stayed in a Tibetan Colony in India - kids there were playing elastics just like I use to (NZ). No idea what the chant was though!

01 Oct 10 - 02:49 PM (#2997714)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Rachel

Hi all,

This is weird, I was talking to my husband about this game this week, and he had never heard of it (NC where I now live), but I grew up in Nottingham, England, and I remember playing it in the early/mid 80's.

I remember calling it simply 'Chinese', and we used knicker elastic, and our chant was extremely boring, but it completely explained what we did;

'In, Out, In, Out, In, On, In and away!

Thanks for letting me reminisce!

11 Dec 10 - 02:01 AM (#3050767)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Elizabeth

I want to get the words of the elastic jumping rhyme: Ingle, angle, silver bangle.

09 Feb 11 - 04:07 PM (#3092004)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,BRidgett

Played this in the mid-80s in St. Louis Missouri USA. We played to the song: In Out Side Side On In Out ("out" meaning straddling the elastic). We called it Chinese Jumprope and did not have special songs, just the directions. But we had different "levels" like skinnies and eyes-shut and typewriter and diamonds. It seemed like it had been handed down as Gospel Truth when I was in 3rd grade...but many of the levels were probably made up to keep the game going!

10 Feb 11 - 09:59 AM (#3092453)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Patsy

In Bristol we played 'Elastics' with the rules that Guest described 11 Sep 09 we called it French Skipping. Skipping or jumprope was as popular as anywhere else for girls but if you were invited to play French Skipping you knew that you were 'in' with the popular girls. I vaguely remember there was something else too. It was a solitary game a length of elastic or string was tied around an ankle with a weight and the girl would jump over it with the opposite leg as she spun it around. But I am not sure if there was a rhyme or rules to this.

10 Feb 11 - 10:45 AM (#3092476)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Steve Shaw

My daughter played this game at her primary school in Loughton, Essex, in the mid to late 80s.

23 Feb 11 - 11:15 PM (#3101660)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,hottie gurl

yes i luv this game tho i was looking for a game called high jump which is played by the kids in my old neighbor hood can anyone help me out?

25 Mar 11 - 05:36 AM (#3121051)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

how long is the elastic?

26 Mar 11 - 03:46 AM (#3121764)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,aura

does anyone remember the elastics game that says   "england ireland scotland wales" etc. that is all I can remember. can anyone help on this rhyme???

20 Aug 11 - 03:31 PM (#3210030)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Emma (now in NC, USA)

I played this as French skipping in Cheshire UK and then in Singapore in the 70's! Have wanted to introduce my daughters to it but could never remember the order of the moves, thanks so much for the info and memories!

25 Oct 11 - 07:34 PM (#3244810)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Debbie

W played "jumpsies" a lot in the seventies. A favourite memory for myself and my sister. Great exercise. I wish the schools would introduce more Playground games. We use to play "two balls" also with rhymes like

Snoopy under
snoopy over
snoopy skyball
snoopy drop

Snoopy under, over, skyball touch

Snoopy front
snoopy back
snoopy side
snoopy touch

Snoopy front, back side touch

Another Fav was

Shirley Temple is a Star, don't forget to drop the R... S.T.A.R

I kinda remember a ball game to where you threw the ball against a wall and had to jump it. There was a rhyme about donkey that went with it.

There was also a rhyme about The Old Lady who lived in a shoe but I can't remember it.

We had lots of skipping rhymes too\\

Ahhh memories those were the best days!!

30 May 12 - 06:51 AM (#3357173)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics


11 Jan 13 - 06:12 AM (#3464441)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

I played it in NZ in the 80's. We simply called it "Elastics" I remember I also used to get mum's old stockings, tie them together, and put them around two barstools to play on my own.

I remember the "england wales" one, but we ended it with inside outside.

Some others I recall only certain words, or actions, but not the rhymes. Maybe they will prompt others to remember (or perhaps my friends and I just made them up lol).

One was "Mello Yello" something about centre spangle
I also remember one where you had to run around one of the elastic holders and jump back in.


08 Apr 13 - 02:34 PM (#3500564)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Toronto in the 60's

We played it in Toronto as well and our version was to string up elastic (the kind you used in sewing, so very sturdy) between two posts and then we would hop on leg over, over and over thru the rhyme, then at the end jump over it, increasing the height each time. Here is the rhyme as I remember it and as I research this I see "German" jumping as a description, which may explain some of the lyrics, as well as yogi.

Yogi on the kaiser
Yogi audi eh
Cats in the syllable
Sidoo Sideah (this is where you jumped over both ways).

Totally nonsensical but I remember it clearly to this day (a few decades later)

17 Jul 13 - 03:54 PM (#3538617)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,SUE HOLT yorkshire

I remember the skipping song.....

Down in the kitchen
doing a bit of stitchin
in came a bogie man
and pushed her out

Clapping song...

A sailor went to sea sea sea
to see what he could see see see
but all that he could see see see
was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea

02 Sep 13 - 10:22 PM (#3555529)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Cathy Hope

I've spent a most wonderful morning reading all the great memories of'the game 'Elastics''.Thankyou everyone.
I am the author of a book for children Élastics' (Author Cathy Hope) published by Pearson Education Australia 2004. It is available from Celebration Press in USA.

17 Feb 14 - 07:50 AM (#3602188)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Greer Watson, Toronto

Another memory from someone who played this game in Toronto. I learned it in the fall of 1961, when we moved to a new subdivision. It was one of the most popular games at recess. You played it with a long length of elastic--the sort my mother used for our clothes. I remember once begging a length of it from her, and having great difficulty explaining what it was for. She'd never heard of the game, and kept thinking I just wanted an inch or two. However, when it was all explained, rules and all, she gave us about a whole package of it, about ten feet.

In the school yard, you needed two girls to take the ends; but, at home, we had a carport and fastened the elastic across the driveway, which meant no one had to wait out a turn. For convenience, the elastic always had a loop knotted at either end so you could put your finger through.

One girl had both ends, one in each hand. The other had the middle of the elastic. It was held so there were two sections running parallel between the them.

Initially, the elastic was held at "foot height", i.e. near the ground. Then ankle, knee, hip, waist, armpit, shoulder, neck (under the chin), ear height, top of the head, and as high up as your arm would stretch.

For each height, all the free players took their turn, then we'd swap round so the girls holding the ends could have a go. Only when everyone had a turn was the elastic moved up to the next height. When you couldn't manage to lift your leg up high enough, you had to drop out. Only one or two would still be going by the end.

At the lower heights, you picked the near elastic up on your toe, and took it over the far side, back and forth, as you sang the song. By about hip height, you wrapped the elastic once round your foot so it wouldn't slip off as you did the routine. Above shoulder height, you were allowed to use one hand to lower the centre of the elastic so you could hook your foot over. People were always keeping an eye out to make sure you didn't pull it down too far--about shoulder height was okay.

The song was similar to the versions reported by other people from Toronto and thereabouts. I see there are differences between all the versions: whatever the original was, it clearly underwent a game of "telephone" as it passed from child to child.

Our version went:

Yogi on the Kaiser
Yogi on the A
Candy in the soda
Calloo! Callay!

In 1963, I went for one year to a different school for a gifted program; and no one there had heard of the game. However, when I went home each day after school, people there still played it. Nor had it been played at my previous school. All these schools were fairly close together geographically, which makes me wonder if the game was fairly new in Toronto at that time.

17 Feb 14 - 08:02 PM (#3602409)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

A bit off-thread, sorry: I looked at the links on clapping songs and there doesn't seem to be a thread for French clapping songs. Is one needed? There are two from Belgium in our family.

07 Jun 15 - 01:50 AM (#3714925)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

Hey I know this is an old thread but thought I would share the following .pdf document as it has taken information form the web to make it easier for the next person trying to find information on Elastics :)

I played this game in NZ in the 90's at intermediate and loved the game.
Web link: Elastics

02 Nov 17 - 04:15 AM (#3886325)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

This PDF has been deleted!!!!!!


Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
Date: 07 Jun 15 - 01:50 AM

Hey I know this is an old thread but thought I would share the following .pdf document as it has taken information form the web to make it easier for the next person trying to find information on Elastics :)

I played this game in NZ in the 90's at intermediate and loved the game.
Web link: Elastics


02 Nov 17 - 09:34 AM (#3886382)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: Mrrzy

No link, but it sounds interesting!

03 Nov 17 - 03:09 AM (#3886502)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

Sorry the link was broken anyway - it went to Mr. Dot Com's cloud site!!!

Thanks to John Archer at Kiwi Folk, he says:

That'll be Bauer's findings about elastics collected during their NZ children?s playground research. The pdf is still on the internet on the NZ Folksong website ...



At Mangamahu School in the 1940s, we played only queenie seeny, brandy, and hide and seek in the pine plantation around the pony paddock - for 6 years.

John A


03 Nov 17 - 03:42 AM (#3886504)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics

The question now is did the kids also do step dancing either separately or as an integral part of their 'elastics' jumping.

03 Nov 17 - 11:50 AM (#3886587)
Subject: RE: Child's Game: Elastics
From: GUEST,Judith

I'm 59, grew up near Manchester airport.

Chant was 'in out in on, in out together in'

in - feet inside the elastic bands
out - feet outside
on - jump to place feet on top of elastic bands
Together - bring feet together (with a small jump) with the elastic between them.

We started with the elastics around two people's ankles, and increased the height after each sequence. I'm guessing I was about 8 years old. I only remember the girls playing, but we had segregated playgrounds, so I might not have noticed if the boys did it.

teh 'elastics' were always joined up elastic bands.