20 Engaging And Fun Hand Clapping Games For Kids

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Children grow up playing clapping games and singing those sweet, silly, and funny songs in unison. Hand-clapping games are not only enjoyable to play, but also beneficial for them. They have a positive impact on children’s social, motor, and cognitive skills (1). The games are ideally played in pairs. However, once the children are familiar with the lyrics, beat, coordination, and rhythm, you can add more players to a game.

If you want to introduce your children to hand-clapping games and improve their developmental skills, reading this post would be helpful.

20 Hand-Clapping Games

1. Pat-a-cake

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
Prick it and pat it and mark it with a “b”
And put it in the oven for Billy and me 

Make it with chocolate, make it with cream
Make it the prettiest you’ve ever seen
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
Please 

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
Mix it and stir it and bake it just right
Good from the first ’til the very last bite 

Write his name with lots of care
And make pretty flowers here and there
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can 

Prick it and price it and mark it with a “b”
And put it in the oven for Billy and me.

How to play: You can sit on the ground or a chair. Try to make different actions or hand motions as per the words. Gently tap each other’s hands when you sing ‘pat-a-cake’ and clap and sing a little faster when you go ‘as fast as you can.’

2. Double, Double

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Double, double, this, this,
Double, double, that, that,
Double this, double that,
Double, double, this, that.

How to play: The game involves clapping and fists bumps. Sit or stand facing each other. Use both the hands in synchronization. When you say ‘double,’ do a fist bump. And when you say ‘this,’ do a clap with your palms. Similarly, when you say, ‘that,’ clap with the back of the hand. Once you get the flow, get going faster.

3. Miss Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack,
All dressed in black, black, black,
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons,
All down her back, back, back
She asked her mother, mother, mother,
For fifty cents, cents, cents,
To see the elephant, elephant, elephant.
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.
He jumped so high, high, high,
He reached the sky, sky, sky,
And he never came back, back, back,
‘Till the end of July, July, July. 

How to play: This hand-clapping game can be played by two children. Start by clapping your hands, then cross your arms and put them on your shoulders, clap your hands again, and finally clap your friend’s hands three times. Repeat the pattern as per the lyrics.

4. Miss Susie

Miss Susie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell,
Miss Susie went to heaven,
The steamboat went to… (add a word of your choice) 

Hello Operator
Please give me number 9
If you disconnect me,
I’ll kick you from… (add a word of your choice) 

Behind the refrigerator,
There lay a piece of glass,
Miss Susie sat upon it,
And cut her little… (add a word of your choice) 

Ask me no more questions,
Tell me no more lies,
The boys are in the bathroom,
Zipping up their…(add a word of your choice) 

Flies are in the meadow,
The bees are in the park,
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing
In the dark, dark dark

How to play: You can perform several hand motions as per the lyrics. If you are a beginner, just sing the song and clap your hands. Clap your hands, clap one hand of your partner, and then clap both hands of your partner.

Once you are familiar with the song, make hand movements as per the last word of each line. Repeat and clap faster in the next round.

5. Say, Say, Oh Playmate

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Say, say, oh playmate,
Come out and play with me.
Bring out your dollies three.
Climb up my apple tree. 

Slide down my rainbow
Into my cellar door.
And we’ll be jolly friends
Forever more, one two three four! 

How to play: The simple hand-clapping game can be played with two or three friends. Start by clapping your hands, and then use both hands to tap your friend’s hands. Repeat and go faster once you get the song.

6. Pepper

‘I drink Dr. Pepper don’t you see
It’s the perfect taste for me
The original taste you know.
It’s raining Peppers everywhere I go…..
I’m a Pepper, he’s a Pepper, she’s a Pepper, we’re a Pepper!
Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?
Dr. Pepper…’

How to play: This hand-clapping game is perfect for two friends. Keep your palms together, then swish each other’s hands, and use your right hand to clap your friend’s right hand. Switch your hands and clap, then tap both hands with those of your friend’s. Repeat.

7. Long Legged Sailor

Have you ever, ever, ever,
In your long-legged life,
Seen a long-legged sailor,
And his long-legged wife?
No, I’ve never, never, never,
In my long-legged life,
Seen a long-legged sailor,
And his long-legged wife.

How to play: Two friends can play this game. Begin by clapping your hands, and then cross over both hands three times when you say ever, ever, ever. Next, clap each other’s hands and then your own hands. Whenever a word is repeated thrice, cross over your hands three times. Repeat the sequence.

8. A Sailor Went To Sea

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. 

A sailor went to chop, chop, chop,
To see what he could chop, chop, chop.
But all that he could chop, chop, chop
Was the bottom of the deep blue chop, chop, chop.
 
Sea, sea, sea. 

A sailor went to knee, knee, knee,
To see what he could knee, knee, knee,
But all that he could knee, knee, knee,
Was the bottom of the deep blue knee, knee, knee. 

Chop, chop, chop.
Sea, sea, sea. 

A sailor went to snap, snap, snap,
To see what he could snap, snap, snap.
But all that he could snap, snap, snap
Was the bottom of the deep blue snap, snap, snap. 

Knee, knee, knee.
chop, chop, chop.
Sea, sea, sea. 

A sailor went to jump, jump, jump,
To see what he could jump, jump, jump.
But all that he could jump, jump, jump
Was the bottom of the deep blue jump, jump, jump. 

Snap, snap, snap.
Knee, knee, knee.
chop, chop, chop.
Sea, sea, sea.

How to play: Two friends can enjoy singing and clapping. Start by clapping your own hands, then clap each other’s right hand, clap your own hands, and finally, clap each other’s left hand. Whenever a word is repeated thrice, clap each other’s hands three times.

9. Lemonade Crunchy Ice

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 Lemonade
Crunchy ice 

Sip it once
Sip it twice 

Lemonade
Crunchy ice 

Beat it once
Beat it twice 

Turn around (Turn around here)
Touch the ground (Touch the ground here) 

FREEZE

How to play: It is a short and sweet hand-clapping song and game. Use your right hand to clap down and left hand to clap up. After one up and down clap, clap both hands of your friend, and then clap your hands thrice.

Once you are done with the clapping, turn around and touch the ground. And end it by saying ‘freeze’ to each other. The person who moves first loses the game. 

10. Apples On A Stick 

Apples on a stick,
Makes me sick,
Makes my heart beat,
2-4-6.
Not because you’re dirty,
Not because you’re clean,
Just ’cause you kissed,
A boy behind the magazine.
Girls, girls,
Wanna have some fun?
Here comes Suzy with
Her hoop skirt on.
She can wibble. She can wobble.
She can do the splits.
But I betcha ten dollars,
She can’t do this.
Close your eyes,
And count to ten.
If you miss you start again.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

How to play: Clench your fists and tap them with those of your friend’s three times. Clap each other’s right hand, up and down. Then, give a handshake with one hand and snap your fingers with the other. Repeat the pattern and enjoy the song.

11. ABC

ABC,
As easy as 1, 2, 3.
My momma watches MTV.
My dada takes care of me.
Oh ah I wanna piece of pie.
Pie too sweet, I wanna piece of meat.
Meat too tough, I wanna ride a bus.
Bus too full, I wanna ride a bull.
Bull too black, I want my money back.
Money too green, I want a jelly bean.
Jelly bean not cooked, I wanna read a book.
Book not read, I wanna go to bed.
Bed not made, I want some lemonade.
Lemonade too sour, I wanna take a shower.
Shower too cool, I wanna go to school.
School too dumb, I wanna suck my thumb.
Thumb too dirty, I wanna ride a birdie.
Birdie to slow, and that’s all I know.
So close your eyes and count to ten.
Whoever messes up is a big fat hen!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

How to play: Put your hands together and swish them with those of your friend’s. Now clap  your partner’s right hand, up and down. Hold their right hand and snap with your left hand. Repeat the steps until the song ends.

12. Nobody Likes Me

Nobody likes me,
Everybody hates me,
Guess I’ll eat some,
Worrrrrrmmsss.
Fat ones, skinny ones,
Oochy, goochy gooey ones,
Ones that squiggle
And squirrrrmmmm.
First you cut the head off.
Then you suck the juice out.
Then you throw the
Skin awaaaayyyy.
Nobody knows how girls
Can live on worms
Three times a daaaayyy.
Boom ba de ah da…..
Boom, boom

How to play: The simple hand-clapping game can be played with two or three friends. Begin by clapping your hands and then of your friends. You can add variations by snapping your fingers in between or clapping twice or thrice.

13. Tic Tac Toe

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Tic tac toe
Give me an X
Give me an O
Give me three in a row
Don’t get hit by a UFO

How to play: This clapping game can be played by two people. Keep your hands together and tap your partner’s hands to the right and to the left. Then clap your hands and clap your partner’s hands. Hold each other’s right hands and use your left hand to tap your hip and snap your fingers.

14. Rockin’ Robin

He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet
 

Rockin’ robin, rock rock
Rockin’ robin’
Blow rockin’ robin
‘Cause we’re really gonna rock tonight 

Every little swallow, every chick-a-dee
Every little bird in the tall oak tree
The wise old owl, the big black crow
Flappin’ their wings singing go bird go 

Rockin’ robin, rock rock
Rockin’ robin’
Blow rockin’ robin
‘Cause we’re really gonna rock tonight 

Pretty little raven at the bird-band stand
Told them how to do the bob and it was grand
They started going steady and bless my soul
He out-bopped the buzzard and the oriole 

He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin’ and a-boppin’ and singing his…

How to play: The game can be played with two or four players. If there are four players, you need to stand forming a circle. Begin clapping your hands and then clap each other’s hands sideways. Next, high-five your friend standing opposite to you, while the other two friends will have to bend slightly and clap each other’s hands. Repeat the pattern and enjoy the song.

15. Bobo Ski Watten

Bobo ski waten taten
Eh, eh, eh eh boom boom boom
Bobo ski waten taten
Eh, eh, eh eh boom boom boom
Itty bitty waten taten
Bobo ski waten taten
Bobo ski waten taten
Freeze, freeze, American cheese
Please don’t show your______ to me

How to play: Keep your hands together and swish your partner’s hands. Clap your partner’s right hand, up and then down. Next, clap your partner’s left hand and snap your fingers. Repeat the sequence.

16. Four White Horses

Four white horses on a river.
Hey, hey, hey, up tomorrow.
Up tomorrow is a rainy day.
Come on, join in our shadow play.
Shadow play is a ripe banana.
Hey, hey, hey, up tomorrow.
Up tomorrow is a rainy day.

How to play: This hand-clapping game can be played by four friends. Clap the hands of your friends standing beside you, and then clap the hands of the friend standing opposite to you. Clap once on the side and twice in front. You can even tap your feet in rhythm and make the game exciting.

17. Bim Bum

Bim bum bim bum, biddy biddy bum,
Biddy bum, biddy biddy bum, bim bum.
Bim bum, biddy biddy bum,
Biddy bum, biddy biddy bum, bim bum.

How to play: Sit or stand, and begin by tapping your thighs when you say ‘biddy.’ Then, snap your fingers at ‘bum’ and clap your hands at ‘bim.’

18. Quack Diddlee Oh So

Quack diddlee oh so, quack quack, quack
Senorita, rita, rita, rita
Delore, delore, delora-lora lore
One, two, three, four
Quack diddlee oh so, quack quack, quack
Senorita, rita, rita, rita
Delore, delore, delora-lora lore
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine…!

How to play: It is a group hand-clapping game. Four or five of you can sit or stand in a circle, with the palms of your hands facing up. Place your right hand on the left hand of the person sitting left to you. Start singing and hitting the other person’s right hand and continue the cycle. Finally, when the song is about to end at ‘nine,’ if the person whose hand is about to be hit takes their hand out of the way, the other person goes out.

19. John Kanaka

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I heard, I heard the old man say,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay!
Today, today is a holiday,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay
Too-rye-ay, oooh, too-rye-ay
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay! 

We’ll work tomorrow but no work today.
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay!
We’ll work tomorrow and we’ll earn our pay,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay
Too-rye-ay, oooh, too-rye-ay
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay! 

We’re bound away for ‘Frisco Bay,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay!
We’re bound away at the break of day,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay
Too-rye-ay, oooh, too-rye-ay
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay! 

We’re bound away around Cape Horn,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay!
We’ll wish to Christ we’d never been born,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay
Too-rye-ay, oooh, too-rye-ay
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay! 

Oh haul, oh haul, oh haul away,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay!
Oh haul away and make your pay,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay
Too-rye-ay, oooh, too-rye-ay
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay! 

And we are Liverpool born and bred,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay!
We’re strong in the arm but we’re thick in the head,
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay
Too-rye-ay, oooh, too-rye-ay
John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay!

How to play: It is a group hand-clapping game that can be played with any number of children. Form two circles, with the ones in the inner circle facing outwards, and those in the outer circle facing inwards.

Tap the thighs, clap your hands, and then clap each other’s hands. After two rounds, the ones in the outer circle should move two steps to their right, and those in the inner circle should move two steps to their left. Continue until the song ends.

20. Down Down Baby

Down, down, baby
Down, down the roller coaster
Sweet, sweet, baby
I’ll never let you go
Shimmy, Shimmy cocoa pop
Shimmy, Shimmy pow
Shimmy, Shimmy cocoa pop
Shimmy, Shimmy pow! 

I like coffee
I like tea
I like another boy
And he likes me
Up and down and side to side
All around and shake it little ride
P-O-P spells POP!

How to play: It’s a simple hand-clapping game for two. Start by tapping your thighs and clapping your hands. Then clap each other’s hands. Snap your fingers and shake hands. Continue the same sequence until you say ‘pop.’

These are some of the popular and entertaining hand-clapping games that children aged between five and ten can enjoy. You can choose any game and teach your child the rhythm when singing. Clapping and other hand motions can be changed as per your child’s convenience. Once your little one is enjoying the game, record videos and share them with your loved ones.

References:

1. Brodsky and I. Sulkin; Handclapping songs: a spontaneous platform for child development among 5-10-year-old-children; Early Child Development and Care; University of Negev (2010).

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