Counting out rhymes


Some games begin with the players choosing who will be ‘it’ or ‘on’. There are lots of different rhymes to help children decide this (such as ‘one potato, two potato’ or ‘ip dip’), and they are known as counting out rhymes. The words to these rhymes are often based on fantasy or pure nonsense: there are counting out rhymes on this website about dirty shoes, bubbles, fairy queens, racing cars, white horses, bananas, coconuts, dogs with the flu and cats with the chickenpox! These rhymes are very important in playground culture and have been around for many years.

Explore more films along with articles and teaching resources on the British Library’s Playtimes website:

© British Library


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