Opie collection of children's games & songs

Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie (part 2 of 2)

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  • Subjects

    Children's games; Children's songs

  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    Opie collection of children's games and songs

  • Recording locations

    Ordsall, Salford, Greater Manchester, England

  • Interviewers

    Opie, Iona (speaker, female)

  • Speakers

    unidentified (children)

  • Abstract

    Part 2 of 2. 00:00:00 - 00:36:53]. This recording continues on immediately from the previous C898/38/01 track. Midway through the recording the group of schoolboys being interviewed is replaced by a small group of girls who perform singing, clapping and skipping games. The recording starts mid-discussion as the boys describe various games that they play outside of the playground. One of the children begins by describing a guessing game that he plays with his brother. Each player has 'six pence in pennies' and must guess whether the coin will land on 'heads' or 'tails'. If they guess correctly they then win a penny from the other player [00:00:14 - 00:00:50]. The children also briefly mention a game that they play at Cubs with Skittles. They are divided into two teams and the game appears to be similar to a racing game [00:08:45 - 00:10:01]. The children describe several games that they play without 'playthings'. The boys explain that they often play the game 'Kick the Can'. The children suggest that this game is similar to 'Hide and Seek' but 'you kick the ball'. To play the game, there must be a 'kicker' and other players. The players then decide upon a colour each and the 'kicker' must then kick the ball and shout a colour. The child who has chosen that colour must then race the 'kicker' to get the ball [00:03:59 - 00:05:30]. The children also play a version of 'Hide and Seek' and explain to Iona a particular term that they use. When playing this game, the children have a base, which is often a ball. The child who is 'on' must guard this base to prevent the children who are hiding from reaching it without being caught. However, the children explain that they can use the term 'stone in your pudding' against the child who is 'on'. This means that the child cannot simply guard the base but must leave the base to look for the other children. Iona notes that she has not heard this term before [00:05:30 - 00:06:10]. Other games that the children enjoy include one that they call 'True, Kiss, Command or Promise'. One of the boys gives a short example of how to play this game. He explains that one player may say to another 'promise me that you'll jump off the wall, ten feet long'. If the player does not do this then they must take off an item of clothing [00:06:36 - 00:07:05]. The boys also explain that they sometimes play a game called 'Cats Got the Measles'. The children form a circle and sing a rhyme while crossing and uncrossing their legs. When the song ends, if the child's legs are crossed they must take off an item of clothing. The boys note, however, that it is normally the girls who play this game [00:07:05 - 00:08:15]. The recording then breaks and Iona is now with a small group of girls. They begin by performing several singing games. These include: 'There Were Three Jolly Fishermen' [00:11:28 - 00:13:52]; 'Bobby Bingo' [00:13:52 - 00:14:46];' A-Hunting We Will Go' [00:16:25 - 00:16:48]; 'I Went to Toky-okee Fair' [00:17:00 - 00:18:40] 'She Wears Red Feathers' [0:29:15 - 00:29:35]; 'I'm Ginger Rogers' [00:28:10 - 00:28:38] and 'Keep the Sunny Side Up' [00:30:22 - 00:32:16]. The girls also perform a singing game they call 'Flee Fly Flo'. The children explain that they learnt this when their school held a Musical Festival. Children from 'St Barts' school came to visit and girls from this school taught them this song while on playtime [00:21:23 - 00:24:36]. Iona asks the girls where they learn these songs. One girl explains: 'you just pick it up off children, you know, you just watch then try and join in as best you can' [00:14:46]. The girls also perform a number of clapping songs. These include 'I Had the Scarlet Fever' [00:23:40 - 00:25:49]; 'Under the Bram Bush' [00:25:52 - 00:28:05]; 'A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea' [00:34:40 - 00:35:49] and 'When Susie Was a Baby' [00:35:55 - 00:36:53]. The children perform one skipping game 'Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear' [00:34:07 - 00:34:32]. The children also sing a short rhyme that they sing on Bonfire Night [00:32:18 - 00:32:47]. The girls describe one game that they play without playthings. They call the game 'Skin the Snake'. All the girls must form a line, one behind the other. They then join hands between each other's legs and drag the girl at the end of the line through everyone's legs to the front [00:18:58 - 00:20:27].

  • Description

    Item notes: Recording of children demonstrating songs and discussing playground games with Iona Opie. Speakers' notes: Group of Salford schoolchildren

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